Inflammation of the ears in a child: causes, symptoms, necessary treatment and recovery

How our ear works

To understand why they arise, how to treat them and whether they can be avoided, you need to have at least a brief understanding of how our ear works.

The ear can be roughly divided into 3 sectors: external, middle and internal. Most often, all inflammatory processes in children occur in the middle ear.

The outer ear is the pinna designed to capture sound vibrations and direct them into the ear canal. At the end of the ear canal is the eardrum. Behind it begins the middle ear.

Otitis - inflammation of the middle ear

It is a set of actions caused by stimulation of these sites that helps restore the desired balance.
Acupuncture stimulates many self-healing processes. He does this individually, depending on the field and patient-specific syndromes. The operation must be repeated several times, and the results become increasingly rapid as the latter condition. Treatment may involve stimulating a small number of points as well as a larger number. There is no need to wait until your discomfort becomes an “illness” to consult during periods of stress, major changes, difficult adaptation. The middle ear has a sound-conducting function. It is located in the temporal bone and consists of the tympanic cavity, the Eustachian (auditory) tube and the cave.

In the tympanic cavity there are auditory ossicles: the malleus, the incus, the stirrup, designed to transmit sound waves from the eardrum to the cochlea, located in the inner ear.

Is acupuncture suitable for children?

Acupuncture is an excellent preventive tool. Acupuncture is especially effective in children. They respond to treatment faster than adults. Like any treatment, there is an emotional part. Some children allow you to approach without fear, others are on the defensive regardless of the chosen treatment method! Therefore, it is important to reassure the child. The needle remains the most effective tool!

Can acupuncture treat my problem?

Acupuncture can help relieve a variety of symptoms and promote natural healing for a range of health problems in both adults and children. It can help the digestive system in cases of dyspepsia, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, colitis, vomiting, hypoglycemia, etc.

Eustachian tube, also called the auditory tube, connects the nasopharynx and the tympanic cavity. The mouth of the Eustachian tube is closed at rest and opens into the nasopharynx during swallowing and sucking movements.

The inner ear (also called the labyrinth) is located deep in the temporal region and is the basis of the auditory organ, which, due to its external similarity, is called the cochlea.

It can help the respiratory system with asthma, allergies, flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, etc. It can help the circulatory system in cases of hypertension, hypotension, angina, numbness, edema, diabetes, etc. It can help the genitourinary system in cases of cystitis, urinary retention, urinary incontinence, prostatitis, menstrual problems, menopause related problems, vaginitis, itching, impotence, infertility.

Why does the disease appear?

Obstetrics may benefit from correcting pregnancy-related energy imbalances that cause nausea, vomiting, restlessness, nosebleeds, constipation, circulatory problems, low back, abdominal and pelvic pain, risk of premature delivery, and poor fetal positioning.

The cochlea is filled with fluid, its walls are lined with hairs, which are involved in converting sound waves into a nerve impulse. The impulses are transmitted to the auditory system, which in turn transmits all impulses to the brain.

What is exudative otitis media

It can help with hearing, eye and vestibular problems in cases of otitis media, Meniere's syndrome, conjunctivitis, vision loss, etc. Finally, it is useful for treating certain skin conditions such as eczema, acne, hives and some itching. Acupuncture can also be a useful tool during detoxification and can help regulate metabolism in cases of obesity, immune system deficiency, hyperactivity in children, etc.

How effective is the treatment?

Acupuncture has interesting results for a wide range of conditions. Many patients cope with pain, allergies, respiratory or digestive disorders, menstrual problems, and periods of care. The result of the treatment is the reflection of several forces in the presence. The complexity and severity of the condition, the effectiveness of the therapist, the patient's willingness to take responsibility for his or her life, at home or at work.

Causes of otitis media

The peculiarities of the anatomical structure of the child’s auditory canal are such that any liquids entering the short and somewhat deformed passages of the middle ear, for the most part remain in the cavities behind the eardrum. The created humid environment is favorable for the development of bacterial flora. Any inflammatory process of the respiratory tract, associated with swelling of the ENT system and profuse nasal discharge, by default becomes the main risk factor for the formation of an acute condition called otitis media.

A runny nose in children, if it is not a consequence of allergic rhinitis, most often occurs in the off-season, which is why the increase in statistics of ear diseases is observed mainly in the autumn-spring period. Inflammation of the ears in a child - under the general name "otitis media" - is divided into several forms:

  1. Otitis externa is provoked by a microbial environment, the focus of which is located on the surface of the mucous membrane of the ear canal. Pathological flora penetrates the ear through microdamages, but actively develops only in the case of a reduced immune response of the body, which must be taken into account when drawing up a treatment regimen.
  2. Inflammation of the middle ear in a child is a consequence of respiratory diseases or severe hypothermia. Acute inflammation in half of the cases is characterized by purulent formation with the release of exudate from the ear canal.
  3. Internal inflammation of the ears in a child occurs in case of complications caused by purulent otitis media of the middle ear. The disease develops in the absence of treatment or in the case of using the wrong treatment tactics for acute otitis media.

Other causes of middle ear inflammation in children are the following provoking factors:

  • incorrect position of the baby when feeding or bathing, during which liquid food and water get into the baby’s ears;
  • low immunity;
  • clothes for a newborn out of season;
  • lack of breastfeeding in early infancy;
  • smoking by adults in the presence of a child.

Eliminating these factors reduces the likelihood of ear inflammation in a child several times.

What is otitis media and its causes in children

Based on the anatomical structure of the ear, otitis media can be external, middle and internal. External otitis is not particularly difficult. Internal otitis is rare and is usually a complication of otitis media or other diseases.

Otitis media in children usually occurs against the background of an inflammatory process in the nasopharynx, which disrupts the patency of the auditory tube.

How is otitis media treated?

Acupuncture does not work miracles, although sometimes the results are so impressive that the patient wonders why he waited so long to try. Every year, in different internship circles. Students present assessment questionnaires to their patients. A compilation of these questionnaires shows an interesting and enviable level of satisfaction. These results help maintain and develop the health community's interest in this ancient form of therapy, which was still little known in the West before it was misunderstood and co-opted by simple placebos.

In newborns and young children, the Eustachian tube is short and wide. This dramatically increases the risk of infection entering the middle ear from the nasopharynx. Causes of otitis media:

  • weak ;
  • heredity;
  • structural features of the ear and nasal cavity in children;
  • poor nutrition, lack of vitamin A.

The risk of getting otitis media increases:

Your pet may have a pathology that recurs periodically. Sometimes it is very tempting to resume an old treatment prescribed by a veterinarian for the same pathology, or to try to treat his animal using human medications. However, it should be borne in mind that any medicine can cause various side effects and contraindications.

Mistakes made during self-medication can be made at different levels

Dosages of the drug are specific for each type. Therefore, it is not enough to communicate the dosage of a human drug to the weight of your dog, cat, or ferret to be able to use it safely in your pet. Most human anti-inflammatories pose a danger to our little companions, as the poison center reminds us: anti-inflammatories.

  • in the absence of breastfeeding;
  • when using a pacifier (frequent swallowing opens access for bacteria to the auditory tube);
  • smoking by adults in the presence of a child;
  • close contact with other children when visiting preschool institutions;
  • low standard of living in the family.

Often, otitis media develops after suffering, as a result of which the immune system is weakened and the number of bacteria in the nasopharynx increases.

A drug that is very well tolerated in one species may be lethal in another. A cat is not a small dog! For example, droppers or collars containing permethrin or deltamethrin are very effective in controlling mosquito and tick bites in dogs, but are extremely toxic to cats.

Likewise, some antibiotics that are used very commonly in dogs and cats should not be administered orally to rabbits. Sometimes medications are very well tolerated in species, with the exception of a few specific breeds. For example, loperamide can be used in many dog ​​breeds, but it is responsible for very serious nervous disorders in fellow Australian Shepherds and Border Collies.

The child has frequent otitis media

Frequent otitis in a child under five years of age is considered a common occurrence. We can talk about regular ear inflammations or advanced pathologies if the disease occurs more than 4 times a year. In such a situation, the child is prescribed a diagnosis to determine the pathogen that provokes the disease.

Infants have anatomical features in the structure of the nasal cavity of the hearing organs, which provoke the entry of pathogenic microorganisms, infections and bacteria into the middle ear area.

In young children, inflammation in the ear is often provoked due to reflux associated with imperfections in the digestive system. Sometimes, undigested by the stomach, it enters the oropharynx during belching, flows into the wide Eustachian tube, and provokes irritation of the tissues of the middle auditory organ.

Causes of frequent otitis media in children:

  • imperfect protective functions of the body;
  • the Eustachian tube is too short and wide, which is horizontal in relation to the cavity of the middle auditory organ, which stimulates easy entry of nasal mucus and other exudate into it;
  • the tympanic membrane in children is stronger than in an adult, this prevents its perforation during the inflammatory process, and it lasts longer and is more painful;
  • the tissues in the middle ear area have a loose structure; also, after birth, most babies have amniotic fluid in the nose, which provokes an inflammatory process;
  • the lymphatic tissue of the adenoids increases and is able to block the passage for aeration;
  • regular colds provoke the risk of developing ear disease in a child; constant otitis media in a child is caused by measles, chickenpox, and caries.

Illiterate nose blowing or too concentrated irrigation solution can cause ear inflammation. Your doctor will tell you what to do if your child has frequent otitis media. The specialist will analyze the general condition of the body, examine the nasopharynx and oral area. The doctor may also prescribe additional tests of urine and blood. Persistent otitis in a child, what to do about it is described below.

Imperfect protective functions of the body.

Signs of otitis media in a child

Acute respiratory pathologies in children under 1 year of age are often complicated by otitis media. The baby cannot explain what is bothering him, therefore, parents must carefully monitor his condition and behavior.

Persistent otitis in a child symptoms.

  1. Often the main sign of inflammation in children is their severe anxiety; the child becomes capricious and cries regularly. When palpating the ear area, the child cries more intensely. He also doesn't sleep well and wakes up screaming at night.
  2. The baby refuses to eat and begins to cry. When sucking the breast, the pain in the ear intensifies.
  3. Sometimes infants under 1 year of age with otitis media experience vomiting, upset bowel movements, and convulsions.

What to do if a child constantly has otitis media depends on the degree of neglect of the pathology and the age of the baby. A special feature of therapeutic measures for young children is that ear drops are not prescribed; only 0.01% Nazivin is allowed to be dripped into the nose.

Why frequent otitis in a child, the reasons lie in the child’s lifestyle. If a child is constantly hypothermic, eats artificial mixtures, or is a passive smoker, he is subject to regular diseases of the ENT organs.


Diagnosis and treatment

Only the attending physician can identify the disease and make a clear diagnosis. Parents should only promptly notice changes in the child’s behavior and immediately consult a doctor. To determine the presence of otitis, an otoscopy and visual examination of the auditory organs are performed. Children are also prescribed a general blood and urine test.

Treatment for recurring inflammation in the ear involves taking antibiotics. A specialist determines which antibacterial drugs will be effective after identifying the causative agent of the disease itself. In pediatrics, penicillins, cephalosporins or macrolides are in demand.

General rules for the treatment of frequent otitis media in children.

  1. For regular ear infections, drops with antibacterial properties are used.
  2. If there is no purulent discharge, children are given warming applications. They are not placed on the ear itself, but next to it. A hole is made in the folded gauze for the auricle. Afterwards, the napkin is soaked in an alcohol solution (ethanol and water in equal proportions) and placed on the auditory organ. Place a plastic film on top, cover with cotton wool and secure the applique with a scarf. Keep the compress for no longer than 2 hours. If a child's otitis is accompanied by purulent discharge, drops and applications are prohibited.
  3. Drops with a vasoconstrictor effect are instilled into the nose. They normalize communication between the nasal cavity and the middle auditory organ.

Typically, a ruptured eardrum heals on its own within 1-2 months. Sometimes, recovery does not occur and surgical assistance is required. The operation is not traumatic, it is performed using a microscope, without anesthesia and incisions - through the auditory canal. Sometimes the surgical procedure is preceded by conservative treatment or physiotherapeutic procedures.

Are antibiotics necessary for otitis media?

Only 10% of children with otitis media require antibiotics. As a rule, these drugs are needed for otitis media of purulent etiology.

Upon examination, if the doctor does not detect signs of the presence of a viral pathogen in the body (the viral form is characterized by a runny nose, hyperthermia, dry cough), the likelihood of bacterial infection will increase. In this case, the use of antibiotics is indicated.

When are antibiotics not needed for otitis media?

  1. Children who have exceeded the age of 2 years, with mild or moderate severity of the disease. During the first 2 days, the doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory drugs (Panadol, Nurofen) as an alternative. After 3 days, it will be clear which way to fight the disease further. If the child’s protective properties suppress the infection, the body’s condition improves, no additional therapeutic measures should be prescribed. If the situation worsens, antibiotics will be indicated.
  2. For young patients whose ear inflammation was a consequence of a previous viral pathology (influenza, parainfluenza, ARVI). Antibacterial medications are only effective against bacteria. They will not destroy viruses. In such a situation, antiviral agents are indicated.
  3. For children under 2 years of age who do not have hyperthermia, pain in the ear is tolerable, antibacterial medications are not indicated. In addition, antibiotics can have an immunosuppressive effect on a young body. The child’s protective properties are capable of destroying pathogenic microorganisms themselves.

There are cases when antibiotics are indispensable for otitis media. For example, in such situations their use is mandatory:

  • if otitis media is detected in a child under 2 years of age with severe clinical manifestations;
  • with hyperthermia over 39 degrees, lasting more than 2 days;
  • if a visual examination revealed an accumulation of purulent masses in the ear;
  • with visible symptoms of severe intoxication.

The most common causative agents of otitis in childhood are staphylococci and Haemophilus influenzae. Antibacterial agents of the penicillin group are ineffective against such catalysts.

However, they can cure certain types of otitis media. The advantage of these products is their gentle effect on the body; they are an excellent start in treatment.

If after a few days no relief is felt, the doctor changes the antibacterial drug of a number of penicillins to a different type.

When antibiotics are not necessary: ​​children under 2 years of age, without hyperthermia.

Otitis complications in children

If regularly recurring otitis media is not treated, complications may develop. They are divided into early and late. The first appear already 2 weeks after the onset of the disease, the second - within 14-21 days.

Typical complications of frequent otitis in children:

  • facial nerve paresis;
  • deafness;
  • mastoiditis;
  • inflammation of the brain;
  • damage to the vestibular apparatus.

Such consequences can really be avoided if pathologies are dealt with in a timely manner. In childhood they are especially dangerous because they are often irreversible.


Prevention of otitis in children

You can prevent frequent otitis in children, the main thing is to teach them to consistently withstand preventive measures. First of all, you need to strengthen your immune system and prevent the development of colds. It is recommended to use immunomodulators, try not to get too cold, and eat a balanced diet to strengthen yourself.

Classic preventive measures to prevent otitis media.

  1. Teach your child to blow his nose correctly. You should cover one sinus, blow your nose, then carry out the same action with the second nostril. Both nasal sections should not be emptied; there will be too much pressure on them, and the infection can get into the auditory organs. Also, you should not blow your nose excessively, using force, since pathogenic exudate gets into the ear and inflammation will develop. You should not suck snot from your nose into your throat; bacteria will spread throughout the oropharynx. Babies under one year old need to remove mucus using a pear.
  2. The child should be taught to rinse the larynx with saline or herbal solutions during ARVI every 4 hours. You can also use soda as a liquid for irrigation, or Furacilin. Decoctions of plants such as calendula, chamomile and St. John's wort will provide the proper healing effect. In addition to these products, you can buy ready-made solutions at the pharmacy. For example, Aqualor. Such drugs are used not only for therapeutic but also for preventive purposes.
  3. The auditory cavity does not require special care. The main thing is not to let your child clean them with ear sticks, and also don’t do it for him. Moreover, you should not use sharp objects. They can damage the drum membrane, cause infection, and cause the development of cerumen plugs. Earwax serves as a protective medium for the ear; it saves the organ from pathogens.
  4. When bathing a child, it is important to monitor the ears. Before starting water activities, you should place small cotton pads in the auditory areas (lubricated with baby cream), and after swimming, take them out. When a child swims in a pool or open water, make him wear a rubber cap. There should be no water remaining in the ears, therefore, it will not be superfluous to wipe your child’s ears with a towel.


How does acute otitis media progress in children?

Well-known pediatrician, doctor of the highest category, Evgeniy Komarovsky, explains that during a cold, increased mucus formation occurs in the nasopharynx. Due to increased sniffing or blowing the nose, mucus enters the lumen of the auditory tube, and the viruses that cause a cold can cause inflammation of its mucous membrane.

Some molecules are not suitable for very young animals or pose a risk to young pregnant or lactating women. Additionally, drug administration, although used safely in healthy animals, can have serious health consequences for an animal suffering from a chronic disease. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs.

Contrary to what one might think, this type of disease is not easily detected by owners and only a blood test can ensure their absence in an older animal. When a dog has had ear infections that responded well to topical ear treatment, the owner may be tempted to reuse the same solution if the dog exhibits symptoms of an ear infection again. However, the use of these lotions and suspensions should not be undertaken without prior veterinary advice. These medications should only be used if a thorough examination of the ear canal has verified that there are no foreign substances in the ear and that there is no perforation of the eardrum.

All this can lead to persistent disruption of ventilation in the tympanic cavity. The eardrum retracts. Inflammatory fluid begins to secrete. As a result, signs of otitis media appear: ear pain and hearing loss.

Further, if measures are not taken immediately, bacteria enter the tympanic cavity through the auditory tube and immediately begin to actively multiply. Otitis media passes into the purulent stage. This may happen abruptly, within a few hours from the moment of illness, but it may take two to three days.

Symptoms of otitis media in a child

Likewise, the use of eye drops containing cortisone should only be done after checking that there is no ulcer on your pet's cornea.
Injecting inadequate eye drops can further excavate the ulcer and cause very severe damage to the cornea to see perforation of the eye. Many cases of poisoning or serious side effects reported in pets follow the use of inappropriate medications. First of all, we should not hesitate to seek advice. By knowing your pet, its age and medical history, we will be able to tell you whether the treatment you want to give it is tailored, indicate the doses to be given and precautions to take, and advise you on a consultation if necessary.

The pain in the ear increases, the body rises. The pressure in the tympanic cavity increases sharply, the eardrum bulges greatly, causing it to rupture.

Pus is released through the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum. Most often, the ENT doctor himself makes a small incision in the eardrum to drain the pus. In this case, the wound will be neat with smooth edges and will heal faster.

Treatment of catarrhal otitis

In case of digestive symptoms, you can do the diet for 24 hours, always leaving water available.
If the symptoms are mechanical in origin, diet alone will solve the problem. Otherwise, there is likely a digestive infection. In case of redness or pain in the eyes, you can rinse 3 times a day with a disinfectant solution or, failing that, a saline solution. If it is simple conjunctivitis, symptoms should disappear in two to three days. You can do the cleaning with an ear cleaning solution. If the animal seems very painful during cleaning, it should not be insisted on; there may be a foreign body or an ear infection.

After the pus completely drains, the patient’s well-being immediately improves, the temperature drops, and the pain subsides.

Due to damage to the eardrum, hearing may deteriorate, but as the wound heals, it is restored. If not, then purging is prescribed. Blowing is a simple procedure. A few blows are enough to completely restore hearing.

The shampoo will relieve your pet from itching or redness of the skin. It is necessary to use dog shampoo and especially not human shampoo, because the acidity of the skin is not the same. For ulcers, you can disinfect with betadine or chlorexidine, which do not exhibit toxicity even if your dog or cat licks.

It is accompanied by headaches and eye irritation, but rarely by fever, and can sometimes be complicated by nocturnal attacks of asthma or cough. Avoid outdoor activities in the early evening as pollen densities tend to be high at this time.

  • Keep your house doors and windows and your car locked.
  • Avoid freshly cut lawns.
  • Apply a thin layer of Vaseline to your nostrils to block pollen.
  • Wash your clothes after your hike to remove pollen.

For example: bruises, cuts, scratches.
Dr. Komarovsky notes that children suffer from otitis media much more often than adults. This is because:

  • The auditory tube in children is narrower than in adults, because of this, its patency is impaired more quickly;
  • in childhood they become ill more often;
  • children sniffle a lot, for example, when crying;
  • Children often have adenoids that compress the auditory tube.

Thus, if a child has signs such as ear pain, hearing loss, and possibly discharge from the ear, then otitis media is present. It is more difficult to diagnose an infant, since he cannot speak and cannot complain.


  • dry indoor air. To correct the situation, it is necessary to ventilate, clean with a damp cloth or a washing vacuum cleaner.
  • The diagnosis can only be made by a doctor after examining the ear cavity. The doctor also prescribes treatment. Dr. Komarovsky recommends that parents, if they suspect otitis and to prevent it, drip vasoconstrictor drops into their nose. They will help reduce swelling in the Eustachian tube. If you suspect otitis media, this must be done.

    The doctor may prescribe the injection of antiseptic solutions into the ear cavity. For very severe pain in the ear, anesthetic drops will help, which will also be prescribed by the doctor. The doctor, especially in the case of purulent otitis media, may prescribe antibiotics.

    If you consult a doctor in time and correctly follow all his instructions, you can get rid of acute otitis media quickly and without consequences. Under no circumstances should you try to treat it yourself. You cannot delay starting treatment in the hope that it will go away on its own. You should not warm your ear without your doctor's permission.

    You should not put anything in your ear without a doctor's prescription. If there is a perforation in the eardrum, the product you put in your ear may penetrate further into the inner ear.

    We must remember that any self-medication or untimely consultation with a doctor can be fraught with serious consequences: complete or partial hearing loss, sepsis, purulent meningitis and even death.

    The exception is cases when it is impossible to quickly get to a doctor, and the child needs help to alleviate his condition, at least temporarily. Then, as already mentioned, we drip vasoconstrictor drops into the nose. We put clean cotton wool on the ear, and you can put a cap or scarf on top.

    And at the first opportunity you should consult a doctor or an on-duty children's hospital.

  • the child’s room should be cool, 18-20 degrees C and 50-70% humid (dress the child accordingly so that he does not feel discomfort);
  • For these purposes, you can purchase an air humidifier or hang wet towels on the central heating radiator.
  • in summer you can humidify the air by spraying water from a spray bottle;
  • in winter, you need to open the window less often, because the air dries out;
  • The child must drink enough water. This is especially important for sick children, because if the blood is thick, then the mucus is thick. The drink should be neither cold nor hot.

If you give a sick child raspberry tea, be sure to give him enough water to drink beforehand.

  • This is due to the fact that after drinking tea with raspberries, a sick child begins to sweat intensely. With sweat, a lot of fluid leaves the body. Again the blood thickens and;
  • Do not force your child to eat. This applies to both sick and healthy children. And during illness, lack of appetite is normal, since the body fights the disease and cannot waste extra energy on digesting food;
  • To reduce the risk of ARVI, make a solution: 1 teaspoon of table salt per liter of boiled water. At home, drip from a pipette. To take it with you when you go somewhere, pour it into any spray bottle.
  • This solution sharply reduces the concentration in the nose and also protects the nasal mucosa from drying out.

Evgeny Olegovich Komarovsky is a pediatrician, doctor of the highest category, TV presenter of the program “Doctor Komarovsky’s School.” The doctor has a wealth of knowledge regarding the child’s body, possible diseases and their treatment.

In his programs you can find answers to many questions without going to the hospital for help. For example, without leaving home you can find out what otitis media is, what forms the disease takes and how to treat it.

Inflammation of the ear caused by bacteria, trauma to the ear canal, irritation and stretching of the eardrum is called otitis media. Among young children, up to three years of age, this disease is considered very common.

Doctor Komarovsky

On average, once a year a child may experience an ear infection.


Komarovsky associates more frequent otitis in children with chronic forms of the disease, which require a more in-depth examination and identification of the causes that provoke the disease.

The task of parents is to try to protect their child from this, because the disease progresses quickly and brings terrible pain.

If it is not possible to prevent the disease, since the baby often gets sick due to weak immunity, it is important to know the symptoms in order to promptly seek help from the hospital.


Depending on the nature of the disease, it has several forms and in each case the disease must be treated after an accurate diagnosis and always under the supervision of an experienced specialist.

Nurses -

Advice and recommendations of candidate of medical sciences, pediatrician, doctor of the highest category Evgeniy Komarovsky

It is absolutely impossible to explain the causes of otitis and give any significant, feasible and understandable recommendations without at least brief information about how our ear works. One can, of course, assume that readers do not need such information, since at one time they carefully studied the school textbook on anatomy, physiology and hygiene. But even knowing the operating principles of any device in general, it is not always possible to understand why this device breaks down in particular. We will use this very philosophical conclusion as the basis for our acquaintance with the physiology of the human ear, in order to understand why it hurts and what needs to be done about it.

Otitis is an inflammation of one of the parts of the ear. The above definition allows us to draw a completely logical conclusion that the human ear, both from an anatomical and physiological point of view, consists of several sections, each of which has its own specific functions and its own specific diseases.

The outer ear is the only part of the ear that can be seen. It is the auricle that is associated in our perception with the organ of hearing, although its importance for the very ability to hear is the least (of all parts of the ear). The task of the auricle is to capture sound vibrations and direct them into the ear canal, which ends at the eardrum. The middle ear begins behind the eardrum.

The middle ear performs the function of sound conduction. Immediately behind the eardrum there is the so-called tympanic cavity - a certain very limited space that in a certain way amplifies and processes the sound signal. The tympanic cavity contains very small sound ossicles.

bones have very original names - hammer, anvil and stirrup. The handle of the hammer is very firmly connected to the eardrum. The latter vibrates under the influence of sound waves, these vibrations are transmitted along the chain of ossicles, and the base of the stapes is located in a special hole in the temporal bone, behind which the inner ear begins.

The inner ear is a complex system of canals, it is located in the temporal bone and forms the actual auditory organ, which is called the cochlea. The unusual name is explained by the specific shape of the canals, very reminiscent of a snail. The channels are filled with a special fluid and so-called hair cells. A certain frequency of sound causes vibrations of very specific hair cells, which, in turn, convert mechanical vibrations into a nerve impulse. The impulses are perceived by the auditory nerve and transferred to special nuclei of the brain.

Taking into account the fact that anatomically and physiologically there are three, now familiar to us, sections of the ear (external, middle and internal), doctors, in turn, diagnose three types of otitis - again, external otitis, otitis media and internal otitis.

External otitis does not have any special “ear” specificity - it is obvious that the same inflammatory processes can occur on the skin of the auricle as on any other part of the skin - various pimples, boils, acne, etc. cause extreme difficulty in terms of treatment ulcers (most often boils) located in the ear canal - the difficulty, which is easily explained, is not associated with any special treatment methods, but with localization.

Internal otitis (they are also called labyrinthitis - the canal system is a complex labyrinth) - fortunately, the phenomenon is not very common, but is always very serious. Internal otitis is almost always not a primary disease, but a complication of otitis media or a severe general infectious disease.

In the vast majority of cases, any discharge from the ear canal, pain in one or both ears and (or) decreased hearing are caused by otitis media . Otitis media is one of the most common diseases, especially in children. In 99% of cases, when doctors say the phrase “Your child has otitis media,” they mean otitis media. We, perhaps, will not swim against the tide and, using the term “otitis media” in the future, we will mean inflammation of the middle ear.

The middle ear, as we already know, is represented by the tympanic cavity, inside which there are sound ossicles. Normal functioning of the middle ear is possible only when the pressure in the tympanic cavity is equal to atmospheric pressure - only under this condition do adequate vibrations of the bones and eardrum take place. Maintaining the proper level of pressure is achieved thanks to the presence of a special channel - the Eustachian tube, connecting the pharynx and the tympanic cavity. During swallowing, the tube opens, the middle ear is ventilated and the pressure in it is equalized.

Inflammation in the middle ear does not appear out of the blue. Its root cause is a change in pressure in the tympanic cavity. Why can this happen? Firstly, with sudden changes in pressure on the eardrum - for example, when diving or when ascending (descending) during air travel. Secondly, and this is the most common reason, for various inflammatory diseases in the nose and pharynx, when the patency of the Eustachian tube is disrupted.

In short, if we put aside all sorts of rare causes of otitis, the following will become clear: otitis is almost always not an independent disease at all and, again, is almost always a complication of inflammatory diseases of the nasopharynx, primarily acute respiratory viral infections (ARI).

Every adult is well aware that with any colds in the nasopharynx, there is an increased formation of mucus. Repeated sniffing, especially active sniffing (no matter whether into or out of oneself) contributes to the entry of mucus into the lumen of the eustachian tube; In addition, viruses and bacteria that cause acute respiratory infections can directly cause inflammation of its (Eustachian tube) mucous membrane. Both of these factors, together or separately, cause a sufficiently long-term disruption of the ventilation of the tympanic cavity and the pressure in it becomes negative. Under these conditions, the cells lining the tympanic cavity begin to secrete inflammatory fluid. Already at this stage, very specific symptoms of otitis media arise - pain in the ear(s), hearing impairment. Later (sometimes after a few hours, but more often after 2-3 days), bacteria enter the tympanic cavity (all through the same eustachian tube) and begin to multiply - otitis media becomes purulent. The pain increases, the body temperature rises, the pressure in the tympanic cavity often increases so much that the eardrum ruptures and purulent fluid begins to be released through the resulting hole through the ear canal.

The above theoretical information makes it easy to answer the question of why children suffer from otitis media much more often than adults. The main contributing factors are the following: 1. The Eustachian tube of a child is much narrower than that of an adult, therefore, violations of its patency occur more easily. 2. Children are more likely to get colds. 3. Children cry more and actively sniffle at the same time. 4. Children often have adenoids that can compress the Eustachian tube. the main symptoms of otitis media - hearing impairment, ear pain and (less often) ear discharge . And if there was also a cold before, then the diagnosis is generally obvious. At the same time, otitis media in infants is much more difficult to diagnose, since the child cannot complain of either pain or decreased hearing. But in no case should we forget about the possibility of otitis, therefore, seemingly unmotivated anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbances, and crying should simply push parents to think about otitis.

On the auricle, anterior to the opening of the external auditory canal, there is a protrusion called the tragus. Pressure on the tragus causes, in the presence of otitis, a significant increase in pain, provoking a high-pitched cry in the child. Every parent can check for the presence of this symptom, and a positive response is a reason to immediately consult a doctor.

Prevention of otitis comes down to preventing thick mucus from clogging the eustachian tube - this is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. It is important to remember that runny nose is not dangerous; but how to prevent the mucus from thickening? It’s not difficult to answer this question; you just need to know the factors that contribute to the drying out of mucus:

1) Lack of fluid in the body (therefore you need to drink more);

2) High body temperature (timely use of antipyretics, of course in accordance with the doctor’s recommendations);

3) Dry and warm air in the room (warm clothes, but the air temperature is not higher than 18-20°C, ventilation, frequent wet cleaning, removal of dust accumulations from the room). Another important way of prevention is moderation when blowing your nose (who is not familiar with the picture - a mother, a handkerchief in her hand, a child’s nose under the handkerchief, and all this is accompanied by urgings like: “Come on, harder”).

An accurate diagnosis of otitis can only be established by a doctor when examining the eardrum (such an examination in medical language is called otoscopy). Otoscopy makes it possible to determine the type of otitis, to answer the question of whether it is catarrhal (there is inflammatory fluid, but there is no pus yet) or purulent, to clarify whether a lot of fluid has accumulated in the tympanic cavity. All this information significantly influences both the choice of medications and the duration of treatment.

How is otitis media treated? Very often, vasoconstrictor drops in the nose (yes, yes, in the nose) are used to reduce swelling of the mucous membrane of the Eustachian tube - these drugs (naphthyzin, galazolin, nazol, etc.), contraindicated for a common viral runny nose, become simply mandatory if suspected for the occurrence of otitis media. Antiseptic solutions are injected locally (into the ear canal). Previously, a solution of boric acid was often used for this purpose, and it is still used in our country, although in the rest of the world more modern and more active preparations are used. Sometimes, for severe pain in the ear, drops that cause anesthesia are used, and anti-inflammatory hormones are often used. There are now a great many medications for instillation into the ear - Otinum, Sofradex, Otipax, Garazon and dozens of other drugs.

Antibacterial drugs (antibiotics, sulfonamides, etc.) play a special role in the treatment of otitis media. Their use has a number of features - the medicine should not only act on the bacteria that cause otitis media, but also penetrate well into the tympanic cavity. Most often amoxicillin is suitable for this, biseptol is very active, but 3-4 dozen more drugs can be named.

The listed methods of therapy should in no case be considered as a guide to action . It should be remembered that with proper and timely treatment, acute otitis media goes away quite quickly and almost never ends in hearing loss. Delay in starting treatment, “folk amateur activities” (from applying heating pads to dropping urine into the ear) are fraught with dire consequences - at best, otitis media becomes chronic, at worst, severe complications from complete hearing loss to purulent meningitis are possible.

You should not be too upset when there is suppuration from the ear - at the site of a rupture of the eardrum, with proper treatment, a small scar will quickly form, which in the future almost never leads to hearing impairment.

The sequence of actions at the first signs of otitis or if otitis is suspected is immediate consultation with an otolaryngologist. If this is not possible (the doctor is far away), you can independently use vasoconstrictor drops in the nose, for example, naphthyzin; it is optimal to instill otinum into the ear, which, in addition to its anti-inflammatory effect, can also dissolve earwax. It is highly desirable that the ear be kept warm (dry heat - cotton wool, plastic wrap, scarf or cap), but just do not use hot heating pads. These activities will prevent you from wasting the time needed to get to the doctor.

Source of information:

What symptoms are accompanied by childhood otitis media?

Komarovsky presents a lot of useful information about the symptoms and treatment of otitis in children in his publications and broadcasts.

The doctor considers the following symptoms of the disease to be the most pronounced:


Depending on the nature of the disease, additional symptoms may appear, which do not necessarily indicate otitis media. The reason may be the development of other diseases.


How to recognize otitis in children: if a child complains of pain in the ear area, especially when lightly pressing or rubbing the earlobe, when moving the jaw, or rather, even cries from pain, we are undoubtedly talking about severe inflammation.

About the disease

In children, this disease can be of three types. Depending on where the inflammation is concentrated, otitis media occurs:

  • external;
  • average;
  • internal.

The inflammatory process can be diffuse, in which the eardrum and other structures of the ear are affected, as well as concentrated. The duration of this disease is acute and chronic. Otitis is divided into two types: catarrhal, in which there is no pus, and exudative.

Some children get this disease often, while others rarely. This depends on the immune system and the anatomical features of the ear structure. Children who have a short eustachian tube are more likely to suffer from otitis media. It must be borne in mind that with age its size returns to normal, otitis occurs less and less often, and sometimes disappears altogether.

Treatment of catarrhal otitis

This form of the disease is considered acute and can only be recognized by a doctor.

by examining the contents of the ear canal, visual examinations and other diagnostic methods.

In children, Komarovsky reduces it to a number of procedures that can only be performed in a hospital setting. Moreover, you cannot delay your visit to the hospital, because soon the disease will develop into a new form and the accumulation of pus will begin.

Alcohol compress relieves pain

Treatment is limited to physiotherapeutic procedures and medications


UHF therapy is performed, the ear is warmed up with compresses. At the same time, they try to reduce the temperature, relieve inflammation and pain.

The main goal of treatment is to reduce swelling of the nasopharyngeal mucosa and restore natural ventilation of the middle ear. Painkillers, antibiotics, antipyretics, and antiseptics are used in treatment.

Additionally, catheterization of the Eustachian tube can be performed.

Features of childhood otitis

Children suffer from otitis media much more often than adults. This is due to the fact that young children have a more vulnerable Eustachian tube. It is she who performs the functions of binding and connecting the inner ear with the pharynx. This tube has a more complex structure in infancy, in contrast to older age categories of people. It is thinner and much shorter in length. This circumstance allows foreign bacteria to freely penetrate into a fragile body.

This feature may be the reason that a simple runny nose leads to inflammation and the diagnosis of otitis media. Over time, the Eustachian tubes narrow in diameter and lengthen, which significantly reduces the likelihood of inflammatory reactions in the ears.

In children, there are several types of ear reactions to bacteria:

  • Otitis externa. Inflammation of the auricle with the formation of abscesses and pustules on it. In this case, the child suffers from throbbing pain in the ear. When fluid leaks from the formed ulcers, the child may begin to hear poorly.
  • Inflammation of the middle ear. There is pain and noise in the ears, the temperature rises and hearing deteriorates. In some cases, lethargy, poor health and loss of appetite are possible.

Most often, the middle ear becomes inflamed in infants. You can understand this condition by the child’s reaction: he constantly pulls his hands to his ears, rubs them and cries.

  • Secretory otitis. Fluid appears in the ear, but the eardrum remains intact. Thanks to this, hearing does not disappear or deteriorate.
  • Labyrinthitis. The inner ear becomes inflamed following an advanced disease or an incorrect approach to its treatment.
  • Purulent form of the disease. The most severe inflammation that occurs after untreated otitis media of other forms. This disease leads to rupture of the membrane and significant hearing loss.

Treatment of purulent otitis media

With the occurrence of complications, catarrhal otitis easily turns into. The child, as Komarovsky notes, may experience relief for some time, after which the smell of rot can be felt from the ear, and partial accumulations of pus may appear in the ear canal.

This can only be treated in a hospital

. The doctor monitors the outflow of pus or provokes it himself by puncturing a certain place on the eardrum. At the same time, antibiotics and painkillers are prescribed. Medicines for internal use are prescribed only after complete drainage of pus.


Purulent discharge, polyps and boils must be removed as early as possible so that complications do not spread to the brain.

Symptoms of otitis media in a child

The following signs give parents reasons to suspect a child has this disease:

  1. Severe, unbearable pain in the ear. Dr. Komarovsky advises to lightly run your finger over the tragus and evaluate the child’s reaction. In some cases, to provoke increased pain, it may be enough to lightly touch your earlobe with a finger.
  2. It becomes painful for the child to swallow and even chew, which is why he refuses to eat. If a baby is sick, he can take the mother's breast only on the side opposite the sore ear.
  3. Sleep problems caused by severe ear pain. The child becomes lethargic and depressed. Feels a little better if he lies down with the sore ear down.
  4. Increase in body temperature to 38–40 degrees.
  5. Purulent discharge from the ear, often combined with diarrhea and vomiting.
  6. If the lion's share of these symptoms is present, this is a reason for parents to immediately consult a doctor or call an ambulance.

Of course, the ear can hurt for other reasons; it would not be a bad idea to see a doctor, especially if we are not talking about one symptom, but a combination of several. Therefore, a visit to the doctor will be the first and most correct answer to the question of what to do if a child shows signs of otitis media.

Treatment of exudative otitis media

In children, Komarovsky considers it a serious problem, since in this case the functions of the Eustachian tube are disrupted and exudate begins to accumulate in the auditory canal, forming an excellent place for bacteria to multiply.

Treatment is limited to hospitalization.

First, diseases of the upper respiratory tract are eliminated, then the auditory tube is blown out, if necessary, a catheter is inserted, and a number of medications and physiotherapeutic procedures are prescribed. At the same time, they try to reduce swelling, relieve inflammation and pain.

Using special powders, they help to dilute the fluid accumulated in the ear for faster removal. Enzyme therapy is often additionally prescribed. Sometimes surgery is required.

What is otitis media?

This is how the famous pediatrician Evgeniy Komarovsky describes one of the options for the occurrence of otitis. Otitis, according to him, occurs due to the fact that mucus and nasopharynx enter the auditory tube (the so-called special tube located between the ear and nasal cavities ). Such a hit becomes possible when the child sucks the snot back or the mother covers his nose so that he can blow his nose. Once in the pipe, the mucus blocks it, and the change in pressure in the ear causes it to hurt.

Doctor Komarovsky considers changes in pressure in the ear to be one of the main causes of ear pain, through which this disease most clearly manifests itself. The ear begins to hurt due to pressure changes. In principle, both adults and children experience similar symptoms when there is a difference in altitude - for example, when increasing or decreasing on an airplane, or when using a high-speed elevator, or when diving to great depths. But in such cases, painful sensations (stuffy ears, or even they begin to hurt) occur temporarily and under the influence of external factors. In the case of otitis media, the cause lies in inflammatory processes inside the body.

Dr. Komarovsky considers drops that constrict blood vessels to be a means of primary treatment, and recommends having them in a house where there is a small child, in a special children’s version. Timely intake of such medications can prevent further development of the disease.

However, even if events develop this way, it is better not to delude yourself, but to immediately visit a doctor. Only a specialist can fully understand the symptoms (and it is better if the child is examined not only by a pediatrician , but also by a pediatric otolaryngologist, who, in particular, can check the condition of the eardrum using a special pneumatic tube). If symptoms of the disease begin to appear late in the evening or at night, you should immediately call an ambulance. Doctors categorically do not recommend getting carried away with traditional methods of treatment and relying only on them if you suspect otitis media.

Bilateral otitis media

Most often, children under one year of age are affected by the disease.

Komarovsky considers bilateral otitis in a child as a consequence of anatomical features, when the short and wide auditory tube becomes an ideal passage for the penetration of microbes and bacteria from the oral cavity. In addition, Komarovsky recommends preventing otitis in infants, because preventive measures are much simpler than treatment.


In order to prevent bilateral otitis, it is necessary to properly feed and ensure that the child does not become hypothermic or overheated.

Features of the development of the disease

Dr. Komarovsky says that otitis in a child is characterized by an inflammatory process in the auditory canal. Its development can be triggered by infectious agents, pathogens, various injuries to the ear apparatus, irritation or stretching of the eardrum. This disease often occurs in children under three years of age.

Almost every year a child may experience such a pathological process. With a more frequent occurrence of the disease, Komarovsky says that a chronic form of the pathology is developing. It needs a deep diagnosis, identifying the causes that could cause an exacerbation of the disease.

The main task of parents is to prevent such processes, since in children they tend to progress rapidly and cause a lot of discomfort and pain for the child.

If it is not possible to prevent the onset of the disease, the child has a weakened immune system, you should be aware of the clinical manifestations of this disease so as not to hesitate in contacting a specialist.

Taking into account the nature of the development of the disease, certain forms are identified, and specific treatment is carried out for each of them. Any treatment must be prescribed only after a preliminary consultation with a doctor, an examination, and an accurate diagnosis.

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