Ear Infection

An ear infection is caused by bacteria or virus which affects the middle ear, the air-filled space in the eardrum. Children are more prone to getting this infection as compared to adults. Kids between the ages of two to four are more likely to get this than older children. These infections are mainly because of build-up of fluids, inflammation or infected wax.​​

Signs and symptoms of an ear infection are difficult to be realized in your child. But it is important that you carefully observe your child’s behaviour. The following can be visible during an ear infection:

  • Your child may have ear pain, especially when lying down

  • Your child will find it difficult to sleep

  • Your child will be agitated more than usual

  • You child will keep tugging or pulling at his or her ear

  • Your child may also have fever (more than 100 degrees)

  • Your child will cry more than usual

  • A fluid like drainage may seep from your child’s ears

  • Your child will cause a lot of trouble eating

  • Your child may not respond to soft sounds

  • Your child is talking louder than normal

  • Your child will have difficulty in hearing and responding to sounds​​

Ear infections are difficult to diagnose at home, hence it is important that you observe your child closely and consult a doctor at the Family Health service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital.
If ear pain prevails for more than a day, then you can consult the highly trained doctors working with the Children's Hospital or the Eye and ENT Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital for an accurate diagnosis.

Look out for any fluids that are discharging from the ear or if your child is irritable while they are sleeping and keeps on tugging their ear. If ear pain is severe, your child will possibly cry while holding the ear. Be sure to visit the hospital immediately for at least a temporary relief before proper treatment.​

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Our doctors will run a physical examination to check the condition of your child. They may also use an instrument known as otoscope to check the ear passageway. Usually a stethoscope is used to check the nasal passageway of the child and hear if the breathing is clear and not hoarse.

Further tests may include:

  • ​Culture test: If there is a discharge from ear, this may be collected for culture.​
  • Pneumatic Otoscope
    This will be used to check if there is any fluid behind the air drum of your child’s ear. Your doctor will puff a little air and notice if the eardrum is moving. Ideally, it should move with the light injection of air. If it doesn’t, it means that the ear drum is full of fluid which indicates an infection.

  • ​Tympanometry
    This device usually checks your child’s eardrums for movement. When the eardrum moves, by means of this device, it gives in idea of the pressure build up in the middle ear.

  • Acoustic reflectometry
    This device checks how much sound is reflected back from an eardrum, when sound is emitted from the device.

    Please note that if your child has continuous hearing problems even after treatment, our doctors will refer you to a speech therapist to check for hearing and developmental capabilities.​

Disclaimer: Kindly consult your physician before getting the above-mentioned tests.

The first goal of all treatments will be to relieve the pain. Because toddlers are unable to control irritability, they may react by crying out loud in pain. Our doctors will prescribe a light pain killer to alleviate the pain.

If our doctors witness a fluid, antibiotics will be prescribed. The course will have to be followed religiously and follow-up visit will be important. Even if the pain subsides after two weeks, it is important to get a soft check-up in four weeks to see that the infection has left the body all together. This will also prevent repeat infections, which are very common.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.