In this section
Ear infections are very common in small children. The two types
of ear infections commonly seen in children are middle ear
infection (otitis media) and outer ear infections (otitis
Most ear infections involve the middle ear.
Babies and young children get more middle-ear infections than older
children because the tubes (called the Eustachian
tubes ) that connect the middle ear to the throat are smaller.
This makes it easier for germs to reach the middle ear from
the nose and throat during head colds, which are very common in
Infection of the outer ear (or auditory
canal,) or Otitis Externa are bacterial infections usually due
to excess moisture in the canal, eg.after swimming, or damage to
the canal after use of cotton buds or scratching.
Babies and toddlers may have intense ear pain with both
types of ear infections.
Middle ear infections
Outer ear infections
If your child is in pain
give them a pain-reliever such as Paracetamol or
After an ear
infection, children may have some fluid in the middle ear for a few
weeks. You may notice your child has some trouble hearing during
this time. The fluid will usually clear up over a couple of months.
If your child continues to be irritable or does not seem to
be hearing well, see your doctor.
Produced by RCH Department of General Paediatrics, ENT (Ear, Nose and
Throat) and Emergency Department. Many thanks to the
parents involved in the review of this factsheet. First
published March 2003, reviewed May 2010.