Ear infections may be more common in children than in adults, but grown-ups are still susceptible to these infections. Unlike childhood ear infections, which are often minor and pass quickly, adult ear infections are frequently signs of a more serious health problem. There are three main types of ear infections. They correspond to the three main parts of the ear: inner, middle, and outer.
Ear Infection in Adults: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & More
A middle ear infection, otherwise known as otitis media, is a viral or bacterial infection of the air-filled cavity behind the eardrum. In most cases, a middle ear infection affects just one ear, but can also occur in both ears simultaneously. The infection can cause painful inflammation, as well as a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. Although people of any age can develop the infection, it is most common in younger children, with a high percentage of children experiencing the condition before the age of
Back to Health A to Z. Ear infections are very common, particularly in children. You don't always need to see a GP for an ear infection as they often get better on their own within 3 days.
Ear infections happen when viruses or bacteria get into the middle ear, the space behind the eardrum. When a child has an ear infection also called otitis media , the middle ear fills with pus infected fluid. The pus pushes on the eardrum, which can be very painful. Older kids can complain about ear pain, but a younger child might just tug at the ear or be fussy and cry more than usual. If the pressure from the fluid buildup gets high enough, it can rupture the eardrum , with fluid draining from the ear.