Skip navigation

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

URL of this page: //

Ear Infection Myths & Facts Quiz

Which of these may be a symptom of an ear infection in infants?

The correct answer is all of the above. Ear infections can be painful. The most common type of ear infection is called otitis media. It occurs when the tubes that drain fluid from the middle ear into the throat become blocked, causing fluid to build up. This can lead to infection.

Chances are your child will have an ear infection.

The correct answer is fact. Ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their child to a doctor. Three out of four children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday.

Doctors use a special instrument to check for an ear infection.

The correct answer is fact. Health care providers use an instrument with a light called an otoscope to look inside the ear canal. They gently place the tip of the otoscope into the ear and move the instrument around. Then they check for red areas, fluid behind the eardrum, and other signs of infection.

This can help ease the pain from an ear infection:

The correct answer is all of the above. Often, treating the pain and allowing the body time to heal itself is all that is needed for an ear infection. However, all children younger than 6 months with a fever or other symptoms should see the doctor. Never give aspirin to children.

Ear infections are more common in children because kids don’t clean their ears.

The correct answer is myth. Fluid does not drain out of the ear as easily as in adults. When the ears and throat become swollen from colds or allergies, germs can be trapped inside and cause an ear infection.

When an ear infection doesn’t go away on its own, your child may need:

The correct answer is antibiotics. Some ear infections clear up on their own. If your child’s doctor prescribes antibiotics, make sure your child takes them as directed and finishes all the medicine. If the antibiotics don’t seem to be working within 48 to 72 hours, contact your doctor. You may need a different antibiotic.

Doctors may recommend that a child have ear tube surgery if:

The correct answer is both A and B. Ear tube surgery involves inserting a tiny tube into the child’s eardrum while the child is asleep and pain-free. This tube keeps open a small hole that allows air to get in so fluids can drain more easily. The ear tubes fall out by themselves, often within 6 - 9 months.

Ear infections can cause short-term hearing loss.

The correct answer is fact. Most children have minor, short-term hearing loss during and right after an ear infection. This is due to fluid remaining in the ear. Any fluid left in the ear should go away within 3 - 6 weeks. Always check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

Call your child's doctor if you notice the following:

The correct answer is all of the above. Often, an ear infection is a minor medical problem. But they can cause more serious problems, such as a more serious infection. Contact your doctor if you have concerns. Let the doctor know right away if your child younger than 6 months has a fever, even if there are no other symptoms.

Breastfeeding reduces a child’s risk for ear infections.

The correct answer is fact. While breast-feeding, babies are less likely to get ear infections. Other ways to lower your children’s risk: Make sure both you and they wash their hands often, that they are up-to-date on their immunizations, and that they are never around secondhand smoke.

Related MedlinePlus Health Topics