Health Condition

Recurrent Ear Infections

About This Condition

Many children suffer recurrent infections of the middle ear, a condition also known as otitis media (OM).


Ear infections can cause irritability, difficulty sleeping, runny nose, fever, fluid draining from the ear, loss of balance, mild to severe ear pain, and hearing difficulty. Untreated infections can cause permanent hearing impairment and can also spread to other parts of the head, including the brain. Frequent or persistent ear infections in children can reduce their hearing when normal hearing is critical for speech and language development.

Other Therapies

Chronic infections or persistent fluid in the ear many require myringotomy, an operation in which small “tympanostomy tubes” are inserted in the affected eardrums. The procedure equalizes ear pressure and allows drainage of fluid from the middle ear. Enlarged or infected adenoids may be removed (adenoidectomy) during the myringotomy procedure. Though frequently performed, myringotomy has not consistently demonstrated long-term efficacy for preventing recurrent ear infections. 1


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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.