Meningitis and other serious infections
Inner ear infections do not often appear by itself. It is commonly associated with different types of nearby infections, and some of them could be really serious. Given the vicinity of the inner ear and the brain, meningitis can cause ear infection and all the way around. In this case, other symptoms would be added such as headache, severe nausea and vomiting, a stiff neck, among others. Several other structures are close to the inner ear and may be behind an ear infection, as in the case of mastoiditis, which gives a characteristic pain in the back of the ear which is aggravated by applying pressure to the area.
Altogether, ear infections can be mild or severe enough to cause serious health problems. Regardless of suspecting a middle ear infection or an outer ear infection, it is advised to visit your doctor. Sometimes, you may have a mixed infection and be led to think that it is only located on the outside because you see a furuncle and local swelling in the area. But a closer look would reveal a deeper infection that would require a different approach. Thus, after applying a cold compress and trying to alleviate your symptoms, go to your healthcare provider and trust his judgment to perform a clinical evaluation and guide your treatment.