Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the health care provider. The most common type of ear infection is called otitis media. It is caused by swelling and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum. An acute ear infection starts over a short period and is painful. Ear infections that last a long time or come and go are called chronic ear infections. The eustachian tube runs from the middle of each ear to the back of the throat.
Ear infection - acute: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Ear infections may be more common in children than in adults, but grown-ups are still susceptible to these infections. Unlike childhood ear infections, which are often minor and pass quickly, adult ear infections are frequently signs of a more serious health problem. There are three main types of ear infections. They correspond to the three main parts of the ear: inner, middle, and outer. A condition diagnosed as an inner ear infection may actually be a case of inflammation, and not an actual infection. In addition to ear pain, symptoms include:.