You'll likely begin by seeing your family doctor or your child's pediatrician. You may be referred to a specialist in ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders (otolaryngologist) if the problem has persisted for some time, is not responding to treatment or has occurred frequently.
If your child is old enough to respond, before your appointment talk to the child about questions the doctor may ask and be prepared to answer questions on behalf of your child. Questions for adults will address most of the same issues.
Nov. 20, 2015
- What signs or symptoms have you observed?
- When did the symptoms begin?
- Is there ear pain? How would you describe the pain — mild, moderate or severe?
- Have you observed possible signs of pain in your infant or toddler, such as ear pulling, difficulty sleeping or unusual irritability?
- Has your child had a fever?
- Has there been any discharge from the ear? Is the discharge clear, cloudy or bloody?
- Have you observed any hearing impairment? Does your child respond to quiet sounds? Does your older child ask "What?" frequently?
- Has your child recently had a cold, flu or other respiratory symptoms?
- Does your child have seasonal allergies?
- Has your child had an ear infection in the past? When?
- Is your child allergic to any medication, such as penicillin?
- Otitis media (ear infection). National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/earinfections.aspx. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Lalwani AK. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology -— Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=39. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Gould JM, et al. Otitis media. Pediatrics in Review. 2010;31:102.
- Ear tubes. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Ear-Tubes.cfm. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Benzocaine topical products: Sprays, gels and liquids — risk of methemoglobinemia. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm250264.htm. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Hoberman A, et al. Treatment of acute otitis media in children under 2 years of age. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011;364:102.
- Tahtinen PA, et al. A placebo-controlled trial of antimicrobial treatment for acute otitis media. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011;364:116.
- Ear infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/uri/ear-infection.html. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Coker TR, et al. Diagnosis, microbial epidemiology and antibiotic of acute otitis media in children. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010;304:2161.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. The diagnosis and management of acute otitis media. Pediatrics. 2013;131:e964. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/02/20/peds.2012-3488