How long will my child need to recover from Otitis Media?

Within a few days of his doctor’s visit, your child should feel better. It is highly advised to call your pediatrician if your child still appears sick after several days. Another antibiotic treatment might be required for your child to recover. It is likely that the fluid in the middle ear may still be present after the infection has cleared up, but it normally goes away in three to six weeks.


What takes place if my child continues to get ear infections?

To prevent a relapse of a middle ear infection, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke, not going to bed with a bottle, disinfecting your child’s hands and toys and avoid being around sick people. Despite taking these safety measures, some kids may still develop middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six in a single year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics aren’t helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid build up in the middle ear. The most commonly used ventilation tubes stay in place for six to nine months and will require follow-up visits and hearing tests until they fall out. If placement of ventilation tubes still doesn’t stop ear infections, a doctor may consider other surgical procedures such as removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes and helping the body ventilate the middle ear cavity.


Is it possible to stop ear infections?

At this time, lowering the risk factors for ear infections is the most effective strategy to prevent them. Here are some actions you might wish to take to reduce the likelihood of ear infections in your child.

  • Vaccinate your child against the flu. Ensure that your youngster receives the flu shot every year.
  • It is suggested that you vaccinate your child with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). The PCV13 protects against more types of infection-causing bacteria than the previous vaccine, the PCV7. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children under age 2 be vaccinated, starting at 2 months of age. According to studies, children who have had their vaccinations, experience less ear infection than children who have not.
  • Wash your hands often. Hand washing stops the transmission of germs and can help protect your child from the flu or a cold.
  • Keep your child away from cigarette and/or cigar smoke. According to studies, infants who are exposed to smoke experience greater ear infections.
  • Never give your infant a bottle of liquids prior to putting them to sleep and/or before for a nap.
  • Children that are ill shouldn’t interact together. When your child or their playmates are ill, minimize their contact with other kids as much as you can.


What current studies on middle ear infections are being performed?

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is funding a wide range of studies to better understand how to prevent, identify, and treat middle ear infections. Successful prevention strategies, for instance, could result from developing better methods to identify which kids are more likely to get ear infections.

Investigating why some kids get more ear infections than others is another important topic. For instance, compared to children from other ethnic groups, Native American and Hispanic children are more likely to contract illnesses. What types of precautions might be taken to lessen the risks?

Additionally, doctors are starting to understand more about what occurs in children’s ears when they repeatedly get ear infections. The middle ears of the majority of kids with persistent ear infections contain colonies of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as biofilms. One method to effectively treat chronic ear infections and prevent surgery would be to understand how to attack and kill these biofilms.

Another critical area of research is how ear infections affect a child’s speech and language development. The development of more precise middle ear infection diagnosis techniques would enable medical professionals to recommend more focused treatments. Additionally, researchers are assessing ear infection medications now in use and creating new, more user-friendly, and efficient drug delivery systems.

Researchers who get funding from NIDCD are still looking on vaccines to protect against some of the most prevalent viruses and bacteria that cause middle ear infections, such as Moraxella catarrhalis and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi). One group is researching a non-needle delivery system for a potential vaccine.


About Doctor Godinez

My full name is Andres Godinez, and I have been a practicing Audiologist (Hearing Specialist) for over 20 years. I became an Audiology Aide for the Los Angeles and Ventura Unified School District in the late 90’s. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Audiology from the University of Redlands, Master’s degree in Audiology from California State University Northridge, and a Doctoral degree in Audiology from A.T. Still University. I began my professional career at White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights, CA, and a local hearing aid dispensary. During that time I ventured out on my own evaluating patients in nursing homes. Fast forward to current day, where I can proudly say that my current practice, Sherman Oaks Ear and Hearing Institute, has helped thousands of patients in Southern California.

All the best,

Andres Godinez Au.D.