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.
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