Also called: Ear Infection; Earache
Otitis media (oh-TY-tus ME-dee-uh) is an infection of the middle ear.
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.
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.|
|First Aid: Earaches An earache requires a visit to the doctor's office. Here's what to do if your child complains of ear pain.|
|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.|
|Hearing Impairment Hearing impairment occurs when there's a problem with or damage to one or more parts of the ear. The degree of impairment can vary widely. Find out its causes and what can be done to help correct it.|
|Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis) External otitis (swimmer's ear) is an infection of the ear canal that can be caused by different types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent or treat it.|
|Can Chronic Ear Infections Cause Long-Term Hearing Loss? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|What Is an Ear Infection? A middle ear infection happens when germs like bacteria and viruses get in your middle ear and cause trouble. Read this article to find out more.|
|Swimmer's Ear You swam! You splashed! And now you have it: swimmer's ear.|
|Can I Prevent Ear Infections When My Child Swims? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Middle Ear Infections Ear infections are common among kids and, often, painful. Find out what causes them and how they're treated.|
|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.|
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