Ear infection (acute otitis media)
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.
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.