Ear Home > Types of Ear Infections
The three most common types of ear infections are otitis media, otitis interna (also known as an inner ear infection or labyrinthitis), and otitis externa (also known as an outer ear infection or swimmer's ear). Otitis media is an ear infection or inflammation of the middle ear. Otitis externa is a type of ear infection of the outer ear or outer ear canal. The most common of these types of ear infections is otitis media.
There are three common types of ear infections:
- Otitis media
- Otitis externa (also known as an outer ear infection or swimmer's ear)
- Otitis interna (also known as an inner ear infection or labyrinthitis).
This eMedTV article will focus on otitis media and otitis externa.
Otitis media is a type of ear infection or inflammation of the middle ear. This inflammation often begins when infections that cause sore throats, colds, or other respiratory or breathing problems spread to the middle ear. These can be viral or bacterial infections.
Otitis media is also commonly referred to as:
- Middle ear infection
- Inner ear infection
- Ear infection.
There are two main types of otitis media. The first type is called acute otitis media (AOM). This means that parts of the ear are infected and swollen. It also means that fluid and mucus are trapped inside the ear. AOM can be painful.
The second type is called otitis media with effusion (fluid), or OME. This means fluid and mucus stay trapped in the ear after the infection is over. OME makes it harder for the ear to fight new infections. This fluid can also affect your child's hearing.
(Click Ear Infection for more information on this type of ear infection.)