Otitis media is a middle ear infection. It occurs in the small space just behind the eardrum in the middle of the inner ear. It usually causes an earache, which are caused by a virus (e.g. the cold virus), with the ear infection often following after a cold or a throat infection (pharyngitis). It is a very common infection.
Every year in Australia about 1 in 10 children (particularly children younger than 4 years old) will have a middle ear infection, compared with about 1 in 100 adults.
Most children older than 2 years won?t need antibiotics to treat a middle ear infection ? the infection will clear up by itself in a few days. However, many children younger than 2 years may need antibiotics to treat the infection. Infection of the middle ear (or otitis media) is extremely common in childhood.
The immune system (the body's defense mechanism) plays an important role but scientific research has shown that genetic or hereditary factors (when something "runs in the family") also play an important role.