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Ear Infections, Otitis Media, Glue Ear in Children

Ear is divided in three parts: the external ear (to collect sound), the middle ear (to resonate the sound energy) and the inner ear (to convert the sound energy into electrochemical impulses to be carried to the nerves). The common form of ear infection found in children is called Otitis Media.

Otitis Media Types: Acute Otitis Media and Otitis Media with Effusion.

1. Acute Otitis Media: Acute Otitis media is caused due to the infection to the tympanic membrane. Tympanic membrane connects like a drum and vibrates on receiving sound energy. The infection to tympanic membrane can be caused due to common cold and it can redevelop after the first infection.

2. Otitis Media with Effusion: It occurs when the fluid builds up in the inner ear and the patient feels the presence of water in ear.

Common Causes of Otitis Media Infection in Children

1. Bacterial infection in the Eustachian Tube: If the Eustachian Tube is infected by bacteria, smoke, viral infection or some kind of allergic substance, it can cause infections in the ear. The condition may also include infection to the nasal passage.

Common bacteria causing ear infections are: Streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza, Moraxella catarrhalis, Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. Most of the cases of ear infections are caused by the Streptococcus pneumonia infection.

Viruses can cause infections such as respiratory syncytial virus and Rhinovirus. Respiratory syncytial virus is responsible for causing infection in the respiratory tract and rhinovirus can cause common cold.

There are many types of allergic reaction, which can cause ear infection in children.

2. Eustachian tubes of little ones are shorter than adults and hence, infection can easily spread to the inner ear. Children having horizontal Eustachian tubes are at a high risk.
3. Hereditary condition: Infection in the Eustachian tube can be caused due to genetic factor.

Some medical problems, which can cause ear infections, are GERD, Down's syndrome and immunosuppressive disorder.


1. About sixty percent of the children are at a high risk of suffering from Acute Otitis media in the first twelve months of birth, and the risk increases by eighty percent in between one to three years.

2. As the Eustachian tube enlarges with age, the risk lowers.

3. One ear infection is also common in children below two years.

4. Children having ear infection in family are at a high risk and the infection is also common in children, who belong to the lower socio-economic group.


1. Coughing
2. Nasal congestion
3. Vomiting
4. Earache
5. Loss of appetite
6. Pus

Prevention of Ear Disorder

1. Children should be given hygienic environment to prevent viral and bacterial infection.

2. Bottle fed children are at a high risk because mother's feed strengthens the immune system of the children to prevent immunity related infections.

3. Women taking alcohol during pregnancy, increase risk of ear disease in their new born.

4. Smoking can cause ear infection and if the parent smokes, it increases the risk.

5. Children should be given vitamin C to improve immunity of the body.

 Read Related Articles

Meningitis in Children
Diphtheria in Children
Scarlet Fever in Children
Kwashiorkor in Children

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