INCLEMENT WEATHER NOTICE - Due to continuing icy road conditions, Lake Grove ENT is delaying opening hours, February 24th, 2023.  Clinic hours are slated to begin after noon.  
We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to reschedule those appointments affected.  

Why Are Children More Susceptible to Ear Infections?

Why Are Children More Susceptible to Ear Infections?

Your ability to hear is a crucial part of communication and getting a sense of the world around you. Our ears collect sound waves and process the sounds into things we can understand by sending those signals to the brain. Any problems that affect your hearing, such as ear infections (also known as acute otitis media) can affect how you deal with the world around you and lead to complications that can further affect your life. This is especially important in children, who are more susceptible to ear infections. 

Residents of the Lake Oswego, Oregon area who have children dealing with hearing problems can find help with the team of doctors and the skilled medical staff at Lake Grove ENT. We are a physician-owned practice that strives to offer the best diagnostic and treatment options for our patients.

Often, problems with hearing are more common in children, with about 50% of all children dealing with at least one ear infection by age two. Children of many ages are prone to ear infections, and this can lead to developmental problems and worse if not addressed. To understand why children are more prone to ear infections, let’s examine the causes of this condition, your child’s risk factors, and how it may be treated.

The common cause of ear infections

Acute otitis media is generally the result of a viral or bacterial infection in the tiny bones in your middle ear called the auditory ossicles, which is composed of the malleus, the incus, and the stapes. The infection may come from common illnesses like colds and flu, which affect other parts of your head, such as the nasal passages and throat, but can also cause swelling and congestion in your eustachian tubes

This is a narrow pair of tubes that runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat which regulates pressure and refreshes air in your ear, and drains normal secretions. Swollen eustachian tubes can get blocked up and cause fluid to form in the middle ear, which can cause the ear infection and its related symptoms, like ear pain, trouble sleeping, drainage of fluid from the ear, trouble hearing, headache, loss of appetite, and fever.

Risk factors for children

Here are some reasons why children are at greater risks for ear infections:


In children up to two years old (starting as early as six months) the combination of the shape of their eustachian tubes and the fact that their immune systems are still in development increase the risks of ear infections.

Infant feeding

A baby lying down drinking from a bottle is at more risk for ear infection than one being breastfed.

Group settings

Children in group settings, like child care or school, are at higher risks of getting colds and other illnesses from other children than they are in home settings.

Cleft palate

Children with cleft palates have differences in bone structure and muscles than other children, making their eustachian tubes more difficult to drain.

Air quality

The presence of pollen in fall and the presence of seasonal allergies and viruses in fall and winter increase the risk of ear infections in children. Tobacco and air pollutants also affect the air quality, increasing the risk of ear infection in children.


Treating this condition depends on the severity of the infection, and some infections may clear up on their own. So a wait and see approach is common, where children between six and 23 months with pain in one ear and older children with mild pain in both ears are observed for signs of improvement, which may happen within two weeks with no treatment. Antibiotics may be used in moderate cases, but there is a risk of overuse that may make the child resistant to antibiotic treatment.

Other treatments include ear drainage, antibiotic drops (for a condition called chronic suppurative otitis media, where there is a tear in the eardrum), and over-the-counter pain medications for pain management.

Several factors can cause your child to suffer from ear infections, but treatments are available, and we’re here to help. If your child is suffering with this condition, make an appointment with the team of doctors at Lake Grove ENT today to get better.

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