U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A member asked:

What are the causes of ear infections?

4 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Ears are connected..: ...To the nose on the inside, with a tunnel called the eustacian tube. Anything that happens in the nose, can affect the ear.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Brian Affleck
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 31 years experience
The most common cause of ear infection is that the Eustachian tube isn't working. This results in a negative pressure, like a small vacuum. The negative pressure can be strong enough to pull fluid from the delicate tissues lining the middle ear. Once there is fluid, bacteria from the nose can then infect it. There are several reasons for the Eustachian tube to not work, including colds/allergy
Aug 16, 2013
Dr. Arthur Torre
Pediatric Allergy and Asthma 52 years experience
Virus or bacteria: Since ear infections are "infections" there must be an infecting agent. Typically the child begins with a viral URI (cold) which may or may not involve the middle ear. After a few days, bacteria that normally inhabit the nose or throat may begin to multiply in the middle ear, causing the infection that is often treated with antibiotics.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Laura Webb
Pediatrics 14 years experience
Bacteria or viruses: Ear infections are like other illnesses we get; they are caused by bacteria or viruses that get into our system and cause use to get sick. If your doctor believes it is a bacteria causing the ear infection antibiotics may be prescribed to help, although if it is caused by a virus antibiotics will not help, only time.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. David Martin
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery 29 years experience
Ear infections: Most ear infections, or otitis media, occur in children. Their eustachian tubes have not fully matured yet, and as a result, they are predisposed to ear infections. They are also exposed to more infections than older individuals.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

Similar questions

A 33-year-old member asked:

Do ear infections cause a smell in ears?

3 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bac Nguyen
Family Medicine 24 years experience
Yes, swimmer's ear: External ear infection, commonly called swimmer's ear, can produce an odor. Also, if the inner ear infection causes a rupture of the drum and drainage comes to the external canal etc...This can cause odor as well. At times, foreign body such as qtip left in there for awhile can do that as well. If you have concerns, please consult doc... Good luck.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 43-year-old member asked:

What are the causes of an ear infection?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 47 years experience
Depends on location: Viruses can invade the ear nerve, impaining hearing; viruses or bacteria can inhabit the normally sterile middle ear space& mucous= otitis media;germs can invade the ear drum= myringitis/ lots of pain; skin bacteria & fungus can invade an over-hydrated outer canal & cause swimmers ear. Each affliction may be considered an ear infection & each is handled differently.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 21-year-old member asked:

Do colds cause ear infections?

2 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Patrick Melder
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 28 years experience
They can: Colds or (upper respiratory infections - uris) are the leading predisposing cause of ear infections.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 30-year-old member asked:

What could cause frequent ear infections?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Mcgranahan
Pediatrics 25 years experience
Many causes!: Ear infections can be caused by viral colds or spread from infections in the eyes or sinuses. Also associated with second-hand smoke exposure. Some children are much more prone to frequent infections than others. This can be a result of inherited ear anatomy or differences in immune function. Most often, children grow out of the frequent ear infections with time. Talk with your doctor.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 36-year-old member asked:

What causes ear infections? Can you prevent them?

1 doctor answer4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Tanya Russo
Pediatrics 26 years experience
Middle ear infection: generally occur when the eustachian tube (structure that prevents fluid accumulation in the middle ear space) becomes dysfunctional from things like inflammation. Preventing nasal congestion with various nasal sprays or decongestants can help, as well as allergy control.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

Related questions

A 32-year-old member asked:
What are the causes of frequent ear infections in a child?
3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
A 24-year-old female asked:
Can a swimmers ear infection cause you to feel tired?
1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
A 32-year-old member asked:
Ear infection cause hives?
1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
A 47-year-old member asked:
Can an ear infection cause a rash?
1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
A 37-year-old member asked:
What bacteria causes an ear infection?
1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Last updated Nov 19, 2019

People also asked

Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.