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What are the symptoms of an Ear Infection?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 13, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

There are three main types of ear infections. Each has a different combination of symptoms.

  1. Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most common ear infection. Parts of the middle ear are infected and swollen and fluid is trapped behind the eardrum. This causes pain in the ear—commonly called an earache. Your child might also have a fever.
  2. Otitis media with effusion (OME) sometimes happens after an ear infection has run its course and fluid stays trapped behind the eardrum. A child with OME may have no symptoms, but a doctor will be able to see the fluid behind the eardrum with a special instrument.
  3. Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME) happens when fluid remains in the middle ear for a long time or returns over and over again, even though there is no infection. COME makes it harder for children to fight new infections and also can affect their hearing.

 

How can I tell if my child has an ear infection?

Most ear infections happen to children before they’ve learned how to talk. If your child isn’t old enough to say “My ear hurts,” here are a few things to look for:

  1. Tugging or pulling at the ear(s)
  2. Fussiness and crying
  3. Trouble sleeping
  4. Fever (especially in infants and younger children)
  5. Fluid draining from the ear
  6. Clumsiness or problems with balance
  7. Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds

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