Frequently Asked Questions > Pediatric Ear-, Nose-, & Throat-Related Questions > What are ear infections?

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Otitis Externa or “swimmers ear” is an infection of the outer ear canal. The ear canal is lined with skin from the ear drum to the outside opening of the canal. Infection usually occurs when the canal gets wet and does not dry out. It can be caused by bacteria or fungus. A fungal infection usually causes severe itching. Part of treatment is to keep the ear completely dry.

Otitis Media is the most common ear infection in children. This is an infection behind the eardrum in the space where the bones of hearing are located (middle ear space). Fluid accumulates behind the eardrum from failure of the eustachian tube to function properly. If fluid is present, there will always be some degree of hearing loss.

Inner ear infection rarely occurs. This involves the cochlea and semicircular canals, the actual hearing and balance part of the ear. “Viral infection” could result in permanent hearing loss and/or dizziness.

Last updated on February 13, 2010 by Web Manager