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.
- 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?
April 19, 2016
- Ear infections in children. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/earinfections.aspx. Accessed Jan. 11, 2016.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Sore throat, earache, and upper respiratory symptoms. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 11, 2016.
- Lalwani AK. Otitis media. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology--Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 11, 2016.
- Ear tubes. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/ear-tubes. Accessed Jan. 11, 2016.
Ear infection (middle ear)