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Symptoms of Middle Ear Infection

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Ear infections frequently develop during or shortly after another infection, such as a cold or sore throat .

The Ear
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Symptoms include:

  • Ear pain (Note: Children who can talk may tell you that their ear hurts. Babies may tug or rub at the ear or face or become irritable.)
  • Fever
  • Hearing loss, which resolves with appropriate treatment
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite or difficulty feeding
  • Drainage from the ear (This may appear as blood, clearish fluid, pus, or as a dry crust on the outer portion of the ear after sleeping.)
  • Difficulty with balance, frequent falling, sensations of dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Malaise (feeling of general illness)
  • Chills

Some children with ear infection, particularly chronic otitis, have no symptoms. Their condition may be discovered on examination for some other problem.

Revision Information

  • American Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov.

  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov.

  • Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 16th edition. WB Saunders; 2000.