Middle Ear Infection
(Acute Otitis; Ear Infection, Middle; Otitis Media)
|The Middle Ear|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Recent viral infection, such as a cold or flu
- Recent sinusitis
- Attendance at day care
- Exposure to second hand smoke, usually cigarette smoke, but also from cooking and wood-heating
- Babies who are formula-fed
- Medical conditions that cause abnormalities of the eustachian tubes, such as cleft palate or Down syndrome
- History of allergies, such as environmental or food allergies
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Babies whose mothers drank alcohol while pregnant
- Pacifier use
- Ear pain (babies may tug or rub at the ear or face)
- Hearing loss (may be only temporary, due to fluid accumulation)
- Decreased appetite, difficulty feeding
- Disturbed sleep
- Drainage from ear
- Difficulty with balance
- Tympanometry—measures pressure in the middle ear and responsiveness of the eardrum, also used to check for fluid or pus
- Hearing test—may be done if you have had many ear infections
- Tympanocentesis—used to drain fluid or pus from the middle ear using a needle, also used to check for bacteria
- Pain relievers
- Fever reducers
- Anesthetic ear drops
- Avoid exposure to smoke.
- Breastfeed your baby for at least the first 6 months of life.
- Try to avoid giving your baby a pacifier.
- If you bottle-feed, keep your baby's head propped up as much as possible. Don't leave a bottle in the crib with your baby.
- Get tested for allergies if you or your child have chronic nasal congestion. Keep allergy symptoms well controlled.
- Treat related conditions, such as GERD.
- Practice good hand washing hygiene.
- Make sure your child's vaccinations are up to date.
- Consider getting a flu vaccine. Pneumococcal vaccine may prevent some ear infections, but the overall effect on ear infections is not known. If your child has a history of ear infections, talk to the doctor about long-term antibiotic use.
- Ask your doctor about tympanostomy tubes. These tubes help equalize pressure behind the eardrum and prevent fluid build-up and infection.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery http://www.entnet.org
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) http://www.nidcd.nih.gov
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Acute otitis media (AOM). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 28, 2015. Accessed August 4, 2015.
Hurst DS, Amin K, Seveus L, Venge P. Evidence of mast cell activity in the middle ears of children with otitis media with effusion. Laryngoscope. 1999;109(3):471-477.
Ear infections in children. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/earinfections.aspx. Updated March 2013. Accessed August 4, 2015.
10/12/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Spiro DM, Tay KY, Arnold DH, Dziura JD, Baker MD, Shapiro ED. Wait-and-see prescription for the treatment of acute otitis media: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2006;296(10):1235-1241.
9/23/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Coleman C, Moore M. Decongestants and antihistamines for acute otitis media in children. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2008;(3):CD001727.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Foxlee R, Johansson A, Wejfalk J, Dawkins J, Dooley L, Del Mar C. Topical analgesia for acute otitis media. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(2):CD005657.
7/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Pavia M, Bianco A, Nobile CG, Marinelli P, Angelillo IF. Efficacy of pneumococcal vaccination in children younger than 24 months: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2009;123(6):e1103-e1110.
11/30/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Coker TR, Chan LS, Newberry SJ, et al. Diagnosis, microbial epidemiology, and antibiotic treatment of acute otitis media in children: a systematic review. JAMA. 2010;304(19):2161-2169.
12/16/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Azarpazhooh A, Limeback H, Lawrence HP, Shah PS. Xylitol for preventing acute otitis media in children up to 12 years of age. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;11:CD007095.
3/18/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed : van Dongen TM, van der Heijden GJ, Venekamp RP, Rovers MM, Schilder AG. A trial of treatment for acute otorrhea in children with tympanostomy tubes. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(8):723-733
3/31/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Vernacchio L, Corwin MJ, Vezina RM, et al. Xylitol syrup for the prevention of acute otitis media. Pediatrics. 2014;133(2):289-295.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2014 -