How to Tell if Your Child Has an Ear Infection

Child with Ear Infection

Ear infections are more common in children than adults, with five out of six children contracting an infection at least once before turning three. Colds and other issues can up the risk factors, causing a build-up of bacteria and a subsequent infection.


Since ear infections often occur in children who are not yet speaking, it's helpful to recognize the most common symptoms. Here's what parents can't look for before scheduling an appointment with their children's ear nose and throat doctor.

  1. Pulling or rubbing the ear
  2. Fever
  3. Crying, fussiness, and trouble sleeping
  4. Sudden hearing problems
  5. Trouble balancing
  6. Fluid coming from the ear


A children's ear nose and throat doctor will use an otoscope to diagnose an ear infection during your child's examination. It can help to keep a record of symptoms and any pain medication you've given to your child to help your doctor understand the situation more thoroughly.

Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. Some chronic ear infections may require surgery for the placement of small ventilation tubes. These tubes prevent fluid buildup and allow air to flow more freely to the middle ear.


Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce your child's risk of ear infections.

  1. Avoid the flu by making sure your child is vaccinated every year.
  2. Avoid exposing your child to second-hand cigarette smoke.
  3. Wash your hands frequently.
  4. Avoid contact with other children and adults who are sick.
  5. Don't put your child down for a nap or bedtime with a bottle.

If you suspect that your child has an ear infection, contact us for an appointment with a children's ear nose and throat doctor today. At Southwest Idaho ENT, we have decades of experience treating children for ear nose and throat diseases.