Ear infection

Ear infections, especially middle ear infections (or otitis media) are most common in children. However, adults can also experience them.


Symptoms can include:

  • Inflammation and pain in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Nausea
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
  • A discharge from the ear
  • Fever


There are three main types of ear infection:

A middle ear infection is caused by an excess of mucus that blocks the Eustachian tubes (connecting the middle ear to the nose and throat) and stops secretions from draining out. Bacteria and viruses then cause the fluid to become infected which leads to uncomfortable symptoms like ear pain, ear discharge and fever.


The most common type of ear infection is a middle ear infection which is caused by an infection or inflammation in the part of the ear behind the eardrum. It's often associated with earache and fever.

Treatment and prevention

Treatment options will vary according to where in the ear the infection is, what's causing it, and the extent of the infection. Generally, your GP might prescribe any of the following:

  • Antibiotics
  • Ear drops
  • Pain relief medication
  • Anti-sickness tablets (if you have an inner ear infection)