Medically the review by Karen Gill, M.D. — composed by Shannon Johnson — to update on September 17, 2018

What is a center ear infection?

A middle ear infection, additionally called otitis media, occurs as soon as a virus or bacteria reason the area behind the eardrum to become inflamed. The problem is most typical in children. Follow to the Lucile Packard children’s Hospital at Stanford, center ear infections happen in 80 percent of kids by the moment they reach age 3.

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Most center ear epidemic occur during the winter and early spring. Often, center ear infections go away without any medication. However, you need to seek clinical treatment if pain persists or you have actually a fever.


There are two species of middle ear infections: acute otitis media (AOM) and also otitis media through effusion (OME).

Acute otitis media

This form of ear epidemic comes top top quickly and is add by swelling and redness in the ear behind and around the ear drum. Fever, ear pain, and also hearing handicap often happen as a result of trapped liquid and/or mucous in the center ear.

Otitis media v effusion

After an infection goes away, periodically mucous and also fluid will continue to develop up in the center ear. This can cause the emotion of the ear gift “full” and affect your ability to hear clearly.


There are a variety of reasons why youngsters get middle ear infections. They often stem from a prior epidemic of the respiratory tract tract that spreads come the ears. Once the tube that connects the middle ear come the pharynx (eustachian tube) is blocked, fluid will collection behind the eardrum. Bacteria will often prosper in the fluid, bring about pain and infection.


There space a range of symptoms linked with center ear infections. Few of the most usual are:

ear paintugging or pulling in ~ the earsfeverproblems hearingdecreased appetitecongestion

Your medical professional will make certain they have actually your child’s medical history and will perform a physics examination. During the exam, your medical professional will look in ~ the external ear and eardrum utilizing a lighted instrument dubbed an otoscope to check for redness, swelling, pus, and fluid.

Your physician might additionally conduct a test referred to as tympanometry to determine whether the center ear is working properly. Because that this test, a maker is put inside your ear canal, transforming the pressure and making the eardrum vibrate. The check measures alters in vibration and also records castle on a graph. Your physician will analyze the results.


There space a variety of ways to treat middle ear infections. Your doctor will base therapy on her child’s age, health, and also medical history. Physicians will also consider the following:

the severity that the infectionthe ability of your son to forgive antibioticsopinion or choice of the parents

Depending top top the severity that the infection, your doctor might tell you the the finest option is come treat the pain and also wait to check out if symptoms go away. Ib frames or another fever and pain reducer is a typical treatment.

Symptoms lasting more than three days usually median your doctor will recommend antibiotics. However, antibiotics won’t cure an infection if its led to by a virus.

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Complications resulting from ear infections room rare, but they deserve to occur. Part complications connected with middle ear epidemic are:

infection that spreads come the bones of the earinfection the spreads to the fluid about the brain and spinal cord

There are methods to reduced your child’s danger of gaining ear infections:

Wash her hands and also your child’s hands frequently.If you party feed, always hold your baby’s party yourself and also feed castle while they’re sit up or semi-upright. Wean them turn off the bottle when they rotate 1 year old.Avoid smoky environments.Wean your boy from the pacifier by the time they are 1 year old.

The American osteoporosis Association also recommends breastfeeding your baby if possible, together it can assist to reduce the incidence of middle ear infections.


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Medically the evaluation by Karen Gill, M.D. — created by Shannon Johnson — to update on September 17, 2018