Middle ear infection is an infection that occurs behind the eardrum, in the middle part of the ear. While it can happen in people of all ages, it mainly affects children. The medical term for middle ear infection is otitis media.
Middle ear infection is the most common childhood illness treated by pediatricians. It usually develops a few days after a child has a cold or the flu. Half of all children will have at least one middle ear infection while they're growing up, most often before age 3.
Children generally suffer from one of three forms of middle ear infection:
Acute otitis media- a sudden but temporary inflammation in the middle ear. Recurrent acute otitis media- ear infections that keep coming back, with the ear returning to normal between episodes. Chronic otitis media with effusion(OME) - a persistent accumulation of sticky thick fluid in the middle ear, also called effusion, that is not painful; children most often say their ears feel stuffy. OME is also called glue ear.
Nice To Know:
Understanding how the ear works
The ear is divided into 3 parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.
The middle ear is a small space between the outer and inner ear. It is separated from the outer ear by the eardrum. It contains three delicate bones (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that are important in hearing.
Here is how hearing works:
Tubes called the eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the throat. When functioning properly, the eustachian tubes do the following:
Facts About Middle Ear Infection