Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rebecca Malouin Ph.D., M.P.H.
Ear infections, specifically infections of the middle ear, are common childhood infections in industrialized countries and the leading cause of outpatient antimicrobial treatment of children in the United States. Infections of the middle and inner ear can cause temporary or permanent loss of hearing and associated speech and language delays. The World Health Organization estimates that in developing countries, 51,000 children under 5 years of age die annually from complications of infections of the middle ear. There are three types of ear infections characterized by location in the ear. Infection of the middle ear is known as otitis media and is characterized by infected fluid behind the eardrum. Otitis is the Latin word for inflammation of the ear. The eardrum separates the inner ear from the ear canal. Infections of the middle ear are defined by acute otitis media, a middle ear infection with both effusion, or fluid, and presence ...