Pediatric Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
Pediatric ear infection, or middle ear infection, also known as otitis media, frequently occurs in infants, children, and occasionally adolescents. It most commonly occurs between the ages of six months and six years, with most episodes occurring during the first two years of life. Some children are more susceptible to ear infections, particularly if parents or siblings also suffered with the condition. Untreated infections can lead to persistent middle ear fluid, causing hearing loss and contributing to delayed speech development.
Children with recurrent or persistent infections may benefit from surgically placed ear tubes called tympanostomy or pressure equalization (PE) tubes. The tubes ventilate the middle ear, equalize pressure, and restore hearing. They also facilitate treatment of future infections, by providing a route of administration for antibiotic ear drops. Tympanostomy tubes are designed to extrude or fall out after approximately one year.
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