Complications from ear infections are rare. But some problems that can occur include:
- Trouble hearing. Hearing problems are usually temporary and mild to moderate. Long-lasting hearing loss is rare. But some children may have problems learning to talk and understand speech if they have repeat ear infections.
- Rupture of the eardrum. If fluid continues to build up in the middle ear, the eardrum may burst. This leaves a small hole that often heals within 2 weeks.
Another complication is ongoing inflammation of the middle ear. The major symptom is repeat or ongoing drainage of pus from the ear through a small hole in the eardrum. Many children with this problem have some hearing loss.
Other complications may develop if there are repeat ear infections:
- Tissue growth behind the eardrum.
- Damage to the tiny bones in the middle ear.
Rare complications include mastoiditis and meningitis.
Current as of: May 4, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics