Ear infections, are one of the most common reasons young children see their pediatrician. The reason is very simple, the Eustachian tube, a narrow canal which connects the middle ear with the nasopharynx (the upper throat area in back of the nose) is shorter, more horizontal and narrower, than that of older children and adults. Hence, ventilation will be poor because the tube is more likely to be blocked. An ear infection occurs when the fluid which can no longer drain, collects behind the middle ear blocking sound from getting from the outer to the inner ear. Ear infections often accompany a common cold and ensue following other types of respiratory infections. Hearing loss may or may not accompany middle ear infections.
Hearing loss tends to fluctuate and may interfere with speech and language development. The good news is that middle ear infections can be treated medically and/or surgically. Children who are prone to middle ear infections may be susceptible to hearing loss and thus should be followed by a pediatric audiologist.