Double Ear Infection: What You Need To Know

Can Adults Get a Double Ear Infection?
Last update on Jun, 24, 2024

While double ear infections are more common in children, adults can still develop them due to issues with the Eustachian tube. If you're experiencing an infection in both ears, you'll need to contact a hearing care provider to diagnose the condition and receive appropriate treatment, which may include antibiotics. 

Ignoring or improperly treating a double ear infection can lead to complications such as hearing loss, ruptured eardrum, or the spread of infection.

In this article, we'll discuss the causes and symptoms of double ear infections, treatment options available for those experiencing them, and a few home remedies that can help you find temporary relief. 

What Causes an Infection in Both Ears?

The root causes of double ear infections are often linked to bacterial or viral infections. When the middle ear becomes inflamed, and fluid builds up behind the eardrum, it creates an environment conducive to the growth of bacteria.

This can occur as a complication of a common cold, flu, or other respiratory infection, leading to the spread of infection to both ears.

In young children, the structure of the Eustachian tube, which is shorter and less angled than in adults, can also contribute to the occurrence of a bilateral ear infection.

Double Ear Infection Symptoms

Common symptoms that may accompany an infection in both ears may include:

These symptoms can create significant discomfort and may cause difficulty hearing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seeking medical advice for proper evaluation and management is important.

Finding Temporary Relief at Home

While consulting a hearing care provider is essential to treating this condition, several home remedies may provide temporary relief, including:

  • Applying a warm compress to the affected ears
  • Asking your provider for recommendations on OTC pain relievers
  • Using a humidifier to keep the air moist

Moist air can help soothe your eustachian tubes and promote proper drainage, which can alleviate symptoms and facilitate recovery.

Can You Prevent a Double Ear Infection?

You can take steps to reduce your risk of developing an ear infection, such as

  • Washing your hands
  • Avoiding others with the cold or flu
  • Practicing good hygiene
  • Avoid cigarette smoke
  • Addressing any allergies or sinus issues promptly

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we address a few commonly asked questions about double ear infections in adults to help you feel informed and prepared to take the next step in finding relief.  

How serious is it?

How to treat it

What antibiotic(s)?

Can I go to work?

How serious is it?

How serious is a double ear infection?

A double ear infection can be quite serious. It can cause severe pain, fever, and even temporary hearing loss. It's important to seek medical attention to prevent any complications.
Man with ear pain

How to treat it

Treatments for a double ear infection

Treatment for a double ear infection usually involves antibiotics to clear the infection. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or Tylenol may also help manage discomfort. Be sure to consult your provider first.

Sometimes, your provider may recommend ear drops to help reduce pain and swelling.

Ear drops in ear

What antibiotic(s)?

Antibiotics for a double ear infection

The choice of antibiotic will depend on the specific bacteria causing the infection, which can vary from person to person. Commonly prescribed antibiotics for double ear infections include amoxicillin.

It's important to follow your doctor's instructions and complete the entire course of antibiotics.

Can I go to work?

Can you work with double ear infection?

If you have a double ear infection, it's best to rest and allow your body to recover. The pain and discomfort can make it difficult to focus at work, and you don’t want to risk spreading the cold or flu virus that caused the ear infection to others.

Consult with your doctor about how much time you should stay at home to help facilitate a speedier recovery.

Doctor holding pill

Worried About an Ear Infection?

Contact your primary care physician

If you're experiencing double-ear infection symptoms, it’s important to get checked out by your primary care physician. If you think you may have hearing loss, you can find out if your insurance covers hearing care and find a clinic near you.

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