Otitis media is inflammation centered in your child's middle ear. It often occurs after a cold, sore throat, or respiratory infection.
- More than 80 percent of children have at least one episode of otitis media by the time they are 3 years old.
- Nearly half of these children have three or more episodes by the time they are 3 years old.
- Otitis media can also affect adults, although it's primarily a condition that occurs in children.
- Otitis media is the most common diagnosis for children in the US.
- About 30 million visits to the pediatrician each year are due to otitis media.
- Otitis media occurs most often in children younger than 7 years old and even more frequently in children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old.
- Otitis media is more common in boys than girls.
- Otitis media occurs more often in the winter and early spring.
How Boston Children's Hospital treats otitis media
Our physicians and researchers have extensive expertise treating otitis media, particularly as a recurrent condition. Your child will be seen through our General Pediatric Otolaryngology Program.
"Although otitis media is the most common condition for young children in the US, its diagnosis and accompanying antibiotic prescribing have dropped considerably. Twenty years ago, a somewhat pink eardrum was often diagnosed as otitis media. Now, pediatricians use a higher threshold--a bulging tympanic membrane or other clear signs of infection--before prescribing a antibiotic."
Jonathan Finkelstein, MD, MPH, pediatrician at Children's