What should be done after treatment for otitis media (middle ear infection)?

Children should be scheduled for a return appointment three to four weeks after an ear infection. At that visit, the doctor will examine the eardrum to be certain that the infection is going away. Your doctor may also want to test the child's hearing. Follow-up exams are very important, especially if the infection has caused a hole in the eardrum.

Middle ear infections have few complications or long-term effects. It is especially important that children with middle ear infection have appropriate follow-up with their doctors.

Possible long-term effects of middle ear infection include:

  • Inner ear infection
  • Scarring of the eardrum
  • Hearing loss
  • Mastoiditis (infection of the skull behind the ear)
  • Meningitis (infection in the tissues around the brain and spinal cord)
  • Speech development problems in children
  • Facial paralysis

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/08/2019.


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