Otitis Media (Ear Infection)
Also called: Ear Infection; Earache
Otitis media (say: oh-ty-tus me-dee-uh) is an infection of the middle ear.
More to Know
Bacteria and viruses can cause fluid to build up in the middle ear, leading to infection. This creates pain and pressure.
Without treatment, otitis media can cause hearing loss. An ear infection that causes hearing loss may affect speech and language development in a young child.
Keep in Mind
Most ear infections are painful but clear up without any lasting problems. A doctor can determine whether treatment with antibiotics can help. If a child has a history of many ear infections, a doctor might recommend ear tube surgery.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|Otolaryngology Resources on the Internet Recommended resources from the Bobby R. Alford Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Communicative Sciences.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|Earaches Instruction Sheet Earaches in children are common. They can be caused by fluid behind the eardrum, an infection in the middle part of the ear, or an infection in the ear canal.|
|Can Chronic Ear Infections Cause Long-Term Hearing Loss? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Middle Ear Infections and Ear Tube Surgery Many kids get middle ear infections (otitis media). Doctors may suggest ear tube surgery for those with multiple infections or a hearing loss or speech delay.|
|Middle Ear Infections Ear infections are common among kids and, often, painful. Find out what causes them and how they're treated.|
|Hearing Evaluation in Children Hearing problems can be treated if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and evaluated regularly.|
|Can I Prevent Ear Infections When My Child Swims? Find out what the experts have to say.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2012 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.