Do Ear Infections Go Away?

The ear contains wax and a few other mechanisms to prevent microbes and impurities from entering the ear and causing infection. However, the defense is weakened at times resulting in ear infections.

These ear infections are more common than they appear because most of them go unnoticed. While most infections require proper treatment with antibiotics, the good thing is that many ear infections can resolve on their own.

So, if you are unsure about “do ear infections go away”? Also, are you wondering which ear infections need no treatment and which infections do? If yes, let us learn about ear infections and their management in this article.

Part 1: What Does an Ear Infection Feel Like?

Let us first learn about what an ear infection feels like to know if you are suffering from one.

Common Symptoms

The common clinical features of ear infections are given as,

  • Pain in the ear lasting for hours
  • Discomfort, itching, and irritation in the ear
  • Fever and chills
  • Presence of cloudy fluid in the ear canal
  • Discharge from the ear resembling pus
  • Abnormally colored ear wax
  • Impaired hearing
  • Bulging of the tympanic membrane
  • Dilation of blood vessels
  • Perforation of the eardrum

Physical Sensations

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, ear infections also produce some physical sensations including,

  • A feeling of fullness in the ear because of the presence of excess fluid in the middle ear
  • The pressure inside the ear because of the thick and inflamed eardrum
  • A push felt on the outer ear caused by swelling of the mastoid in middle ear infections
  • Vertigo and dizziness because of impairment of the functions of the inner ear


It is important to note that signs and symptoms of ear infections are determined by severity and type of ear infection. For example,

  • There is inflammation or perforation along with impaired hearing of the eardrum in severe infections
  • Mild to moderate infections only produce symptoms like ear discomfort, discharge, or feeling of fullness
  • Inner ear infections are associated with loss of balance, tinnitus, and vertigo
  • Symptoms like reduced hearing, fever, headache, and discharge are prominent in middle ear infections
  • Swelling of the ear canal is more common in outer ear infection

Part 2: Do Ear Infections Go Away on Their Own?

Well, yes and no. Some ear infections go away on their own while others do not. The reason lies in the activity of your immune systems and the strength of your defense mechanisms.

A person in optimal health won’t need any treatment for the ear infection while the one with a weak immune system might not heal without treatment.

Ear infections can start with any of the symptoms that we discussed above. Most of these symptoms resolve within 2 to 4 days without doing anything as explained by the New York ENT Center.

An informative article by the Mayo Clinic explains how ear infections are resolved without treatment within a few days. It signifies that ear infections can go away on their own.

On the other hand, fluid can build up in some cases, and symptoms can worsen over time. This indicates that your ear infection needs proper treatment and cannot resolve on its own.

Factors Influencing Spontaneous Resolution

Here are the factors that influence the spontaneous resolution of ear infections.

  • Immunity and defense system of the person
  • Severity and type of ear infection
  • Symptomatic treatment
  • Underlying health conditions like diabetes
  • Lifestyle
  • Intake of alcohol or smoking

Seeking Expert Opinion

It is good to wait for a few days and treat your middle ear infection with home remedies including warm or cold compresses, anti-inflammatory and painkiller drugs.

However, if the symptoms do not improve within 3 to 7 days or you feel any of the following symptoms, it is best to seek an expert opinion and visit an ENT specialist.

  • Worsening of hearing loss
  • High fever with rigors and chills
  • Visible inflammation around or behind the ear
  • Severe sharp pain in the ear

Monitoring Ear Infections

As many ear infections can be missed and lead to long-term side effects, it is better to monitor the condition of the ear regularly to prevent and manage ear infections. For this, try to use Bebird Note 5 Pro ear camera.

Not only will it help you check the inside of the ear canal to see the bulging of the tympanic membrane, dilation of blood vessels, dark or green-colored wax, and cloudy fluid, but it will also help you remove excessive wax which can a source of infection.

Part 3: How Often Do Ear Infections Go Away on Their Own?

Research by Harvard Health says that about 80% of ear infections in children can resolve without antibiotics [3]. While this data is specific for children as they get ear infections often, the statistics of the natural resolution of ear infections in adults are also similar.

Thus, 8 out of 10 ear infections go away on their own. In the remaining 2 infections, you will need professional evaluation and treatment.

However, this is an average percentage of resolution of ear infections and actual values can differ from person to person depending upon the factor mentioned above.


Ear infections might or might not go away on their own depending upon the severity of the condition and the overall health of the patient.

So, you should keep an eye on the symptoms of ear infections and their intensity with the help of the Bebird ear camera as it will help you determine whether or not you need treatment by an ENT doctor.

Lastly, it is great to let the infection heal on its own during the first few days. But do not delay treatment beyond a weak.


  1. Can An Ear Infection Go Away On Its Own? September 20, 2018. New York Advanced Center for Specialist Care; ENT.
  2. Do Ear Infections Always Need to be Treated with Antibiotics? Micah Dorfner, January 26, 2016. Mayo Clinic.
  3. Treating ear infections in children. January 23, 2017. Harvard Health Publishing.