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Conditions InDepth: Middle Ear Infection
|The Middle Ear|
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Children have eustachian tubes which are smaller, more level, and straighter than those in adults.
- The eustachian tubes connect the middle ear with the back of the nose and help to stabilize air pressure within the ear. The difference in anatomy which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the middle ear from the nose and throat.
Children have larger adenoids than do adults.
- The adenoids are tonsil-like structures located just out of sight at the junction of the back of the nose and the upper throat. Like tonsils, adenoids tend to be much bigger in childhood than later in life. Ear infections may be more likely to develop when swollen adenoids block the nearby openings of the eustachian tubes.
American Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov.
Gates GA. Cost-effectiveness considerations in otitis media treatment. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;114(4):525-530.
Ferri’s Clinical Adviser. Mosby; 2001.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov.
National Library of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013