Ear infection (acute otitis media)

Otitis media

Sinus infection Infection of the pharynx Infection of the large airways Middle ear infection Infection of the tonsils Infection of the voice box Infection of the small airways Lung infection

Click on the name of the infection in the image above to find out more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of these respiratory tract infections.

What is acute otitis media?

Otitis media is a middle ear infection. It occurs in the small space just behind the eardrum in the middle of the inner ear. It usually causes an earache.

Most middle ear infections are caused by a virus (e.g. the cold virus), with the ear infection often following after a cold or a throat infection (pharyngitis).

It is a very common infection. Every year in Australia about 1 in 10 children (particularly children younger than 4 years old) will have a middle ear infection, compared with about 1 in 100 adults.

Acute otitis media is a short-term infection. If a child or adult repeatedly gets otitis media, or if an infection does not completely heal and the swelling and redness in the ear persist, then it is called chronic otitis media.

Chronic (long-term) middle ear infections are very common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and even though the infection can be treated, it is the most common cause of hearing loss in these children.

Find out more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of middle ear infections.

Latest information - ear infection, middle


27 Nov 2012 Amoxycillin is an antibiotic used to treat chronic bronchitis, bacterial sinusitis, pneumonia, and middle ear infections (otitis media). Find out more.
20 Apr 2012 Comprehensive information about respiratory tract infections, such as tonsillitis, pneumonia & the common cold. Learn about symptoms, diagnosis, management & treatment of respiratory tract infections. Useful links & resources are included