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Ear infections are very common and can be either located behind in the ear drum (Otitis Media) or in front of the ear drum (Otitis Externa). Otitis Media is an inflammation of the middle ear and results in the accumulation of fluid and infection behind the ear drum.

This is the most common ear infection in children.

The infection results in a painful red bulging ear drum, clogged ear, and ear pain.

Treatment with antibiotics will usually get rid of the ear infection. Some children will have recurrent otitis media infections or a chronic otitis media, where fluid is trapped behind the ear drum. In these situations, placement of ear tubes will help prevent future infections, drain the fluid, and help with speech and hearing.

Otitis Externa, also known as “Swimmer’s Ear”, is an inflammation and infection of the skin of the ear canal. This is the most common ear infection in adults. The infection results in a painful ear when moved, clogged hearing, and a swollen ear canal with infected debris. Treatment includes cleaning in the office by the doctor and antibiotic ear drops directly into the ear canal. Otitis externa infections are often linked to the use of Q-tips to clean the ear or excess water and humidity to the ear.

ear image showing different parts of the ear