Painful ear infections are a rite of passage for most kids. (Remember yours? Ouch.) Most ear infections either resolve on their own or are effectively treated by antibiotics. But sometimes, ear infections or fluid in the middle ear may become a chronic problem leading to other issues, such as hearing loss, poor school performance or behavior and speech problems.
Why Ear Infections Are So Common in Kids?
Children are at a greater risk of chronic ear infections than adults due to several reasons.
- Children’s Eustachian tubes, which connect the upper throat to the middle ear, are shorter, narrower, floppier and more horizontal than adults’ tubes. These characteristics make it harder for fluid to drain out of the ear and can create a blockage.
- Children’s immune systems are still developing, making it more difficult for them to fight infections.
In addition, some children are more susceptible to ear infections than others. Boys, kids with enlarged adenoids due to allergies and children with a family history of ear infections are at a greater risk. Environmental factors, such as exposure to secondhand smoke or using a pacifier, can also play a role.
The good news? Most children grow out of ear infections as they grow up—many kids stop getting ear infections by age eight.
However, that doesn’t mean your child has to suffer from chronic ear pain throughout early childhood. Our expert team provides comprehensive care for chronic ear infections—and can help get your kid back to being a kid again.