About Ear Infections
The most common type of ear infection is called otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear). This condition often begins when infections that cause sore throats, colds, or other respiratory or breathing problems spread to the middle ear. These infections can be caused by viruses or bacteria.
Common symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Hearing loss
- Fluid draining from the ear.
Seventy-five percent of children experience at least one episode of otitis media by their third birthday. In many cases, antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria and treat the infection. However, research is showing that many ear infections improve on their own, so your healthcare provider may recommend waiting a few days before starting antibiotics.
(Click Ear Infection to learn more about this topic, including other symptoms and how a diagnosis is made.)