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An ear infection is an infection of the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Because ear infections often clear up on their own, treatment may begin with managing pain and monitoring the problem. Sometimes, antibiotics are used to clear the infection. Some people are prone to having multiple ear infections. This can cause hearing problems and other serious complications.
If your child has repeated, long-term ear infections or continuous fluid buildup in the ear after an infection has cleared up, your child's doctor may suggest ear tubes.
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, a special edition of "Ask the Mayo Mom," pediatrician and host Dr. Angela Mattke is joined by Dr. Shelagh Cofer, a Mayo Clinic otolaryngologist, to discuss when ear tubes may be necessary, their traditional surgical placement, and outline a newer procedure that might be an option for some patients.
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