Otitis media means “inflammation of the middle ear,” as a result of a middle ear infection. It can occur in one or both ears. Otitis media is the most frequent diagnosis for children who visit physicians for illness. It is also the most common cause of hearing loss in children. Although otitis media is most common in young children, it occasionally affects adults. If middle ear infections continuously reoccur or there is chronic fluid in the middle ear, surgical treatment, such as tubes with or without adenoidectomy, may be helpful.
Otitis externa means "inflammation of the external or outer ear canal," as a result of infection. It is also commonly referred to as "swimmer's ear." It can occur in one or both ears and is often as a result of moisture becoming trapped in the canal. Patients of all ages can get an external ear infection. External ear infections are often painful and can create a temporary hearing loss due to the swelling. Fortunately, most external ear infections can be successfully treated with prescription medications.