Do you find our website user friendly?
Yes   No
Skip to main content

Why Do Children Get so Many Ear Infections?

About five of every six children suffer at least one ear infection by the time they’re 3 years old, so if it seems that ear drops are a regular item on your pharmacy shopping list, you’re not alone. While many childhood earaches might be common, and since many clear up on their own, it’s important to know the cycle that ear infections usually follow, so you can respond to the issue appropriately.

Recognizing the symptoms

Since ear infections occur before many children have the vocabulary to communicate what they feel with accuracy, your observations may serve as the best guide. When a child tells you that their ear hurts, it’s simple enough to suspect an infection, but be aware of these nonverbal clues:

A pressure situation

The most common type of ear infection traps accumulated fluid behind the eardrum. Normally, excess fluid in the middle ear drains by way of the eustachian tubes, passageways between the ear and the back of the throat that allows stable air pressure inside the ear.

When the eustachian tubes are blocked, pressure can’t equalize between the middle ear and the outside environment. This pressure difference, along with the pressure of accumulated fluid causes the aching and pain your child feels.

Your child’s ears

Some of the reasons behind frequent ear infections in children is simply their changing anatomy. When they’re young, their eustachian tubes are smaller, yet they may be subject to the same fluid drainage as an adult. It can come down to the “pipe size” of their eustachian tubes, and in time, their growing bodies naturally resolve this issue.

The eustachian tubes are also closer to level in children, meaning that there’s less help from gravity to drain their ears. This, too, is something that changes as their bodies mature. Some children may have genetic variations that aggravate one or both conditions, leading to more infections.

A perfect environment

This inefficient ear drainage creates ideal conditions for bacterial growth, something your child’s developing immune system may have trouble suppressing. A simple cold can create mucus blockages which then produce bacterial growth by blocking the ears. An earache that accompanies a cold may, in fact, be two different illnesses.

When to visit the doctor

It’s time to visit us at Wasatch Peak Family Practice if:

You can call our practice by phone or request an appointment through the online booking tool located on this page. Though childhood ear infections are common and typically harmless, there are times when complications can arise, leading to hearing loss or other issues. Don’t wait. Contact us at Wasatch Peak Family Practice today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Does Stress Affect Asthma?

If you have asthma and are feeling stressed, you may have noticed your breathing symptoms getting worse. Keep reading to understand the link between stress and asthma and the treatments that can help.

Signs Your Child Has Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Is your little one struggling with a runny nose or persistent cough that just won’t quit? They might not have a common cold. Keep reading to learn about the warning signs of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and what to do if your child has them.

How to Stay on Top of Your Child’s Immunizations

Feeling overwhelmed with the task of staying on top of your child’s immunizations? Keep reading as we guide you on how to navigate vaccine schedules and share tips for staying organized with these key protective health measures.

5 Ways to Prevent Common Diabetes Complications

If you have diabetes, your risk of health complications increases. Fortunately, there are ways you can take control of your condition and lead a healthier life. Learn our top five tips for stopping diabetes-related complications before they start.

5 Common Signs of a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency

Even if you pay careful attention to your health, living in the modern world means chances are good you’re deficient in one or more essential vitamins or minerals. Keep reading to learn why and the signs that indicate you could be deficient.