Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Symptoms of Middle Ear Infection

Ear infections frequently develop during or shortly after another infection, such as a cold or sore throat. They may also happen because of nasal allergy symptoms.

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 lightheadedness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Chills

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

REFERENCES:

Acute otitis media (AOM). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116345/Acute-otitis-media-AOM. Updated May 17, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2017.

Ear infections in children. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/earinfections.aspx. Updated May 12, 2017. Accessed September 27, 2017.

Middle ear infections. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/Middle-Ear-Infections.aspx. Updated February 22, 2013. Accessed September 27, 2017.

Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD  Last Updated: 9/17/2014