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Ear Infections

Also called: Otitis media

Summary

Ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their child to a doctor. Three out of four children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Adults can also get ear infections, but they are less common.

The infection usually affects the middle ear and is called otitis media. The tubes inside the ears become clogged with fluid and mucus. This can affect hearing, because sound cannot get through all that fluid.

If your child isn't old enough to say "My ear hurts," here are a few things to look for

  • Tugging at ears
  • Crying more than usual
  • Fluid draining from the ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Balance difficulties
  • Hearing problems

Your health care provider will diagnose an ear infection by looking inside the ear with an instrument called an otoscope.

Often, ear infections go away on their own. Your health care provider may recommend pain relievers. Severe infections and infections in young babies may require antibiotics.

Children who get infections often may need surgery to place small tubes inside their ears. The tubes relieve pressure in the ears so that the child can hear again.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Start Here

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Diagnosis and Tests

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Prevention and Risk Factors

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Treatments and Therapies

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  • Ear tube insertion - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
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  • Eardrum repair - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
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  • (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Related Issues

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Specifics

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Statistics and Research

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Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)

Find an Expert

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Children

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Teenagers

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Patient Handouts

ремонт посудомоечных машин киев

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