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Symptoms of Middle Ear Infection

Ear infections frequently develop during or shortly after another infection, such as a cold or sore throat. They may also happen during nasal allergy symptoms.

The Ear
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Symptoms include:

  • Ear pain (Note: Children who can talk may tell you that their ear hurts. Babies may tug or rub at the ear or face or become irritable.)
  • Fever
  • Hearing loss, which resolves with appropriate treatment
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite or difficulty feeding
  • Drainage from the ear (This may appear as blood, clearish fluid, pus, or as a dry crust on the outer portion of the ear after sleeping.)
  • Difficulty with balance, frequent falling, sensations of lightheadedness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Chills

Some children with ear infection, particularly chronic otitis, have no symptoms. Their condition may be discovered on examination for some other problem.


Acute otitis media. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 17, 2015. Accessed September 21, 2015.

Ear infections in children. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: Published March 2013. Accessed September 21, 2015.

Middle ear infections. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: Updated August 20, 2015. Accessed September 21, 2015.