What Are the Causes of an Infant Ear Infection?

By Prev Info - February 16, 2022

What Are the Causes of an Infant Ear Infection? 

Children under the age of three are prone to ear infections.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child will have at least one ear infection by the time he turns three years old. Bacteria and fluids in his ear typically cause an ear infection.


when a baby tugs on his ear, it has little to with an ear infection and more to do with simple itchiness. Crying and screaming, difficulty sleeping, fussiness and fever are telltale signs of an infection.


Fluids that enter a baby's ear exit through the Eustachian tube. This connects his middle ear to the back of his nose and throat. If the tube is blocked, fluid gets trapped in the middle ear and can cause infection.

Eustachian Tube

Babies' Eustachian tubes are typically ½ of an inch in length and are horizontal. In adulthood, these tubes triple in length and become vertical, and fluids can pass through them more easily.


Babies who do not use a pacifier have a lower chance of developing an ear infection, according to a study 


a pediatrician will prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection. Children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also ease the pain associated with an earache.

What Are the Causes of a Ruptured Ear Drum in an Infant?

A baby's eardrum can be damaged very easily.

There are several ways a baby's eardrum can rupture. A ruptured eardrum is a cavity in the thin tissue that protects the inner ear from the environment. The injury usually will heal itself in a few weeks, but consult a doctor anyway for an expert diagnosis.

Head Injury

A ruptured eardrum can be caused by a bump to the head. A head injury as simple as a fall or even a bump on the head can create a rupture. A rupture caused this way might leave the child with ears ringing, loss of some hearing and maybe a little blood loss.

Foreign Object

Even cotton swabs can puncture an eardrum. A foreign object put in the ear can poke a hole in the thin barrier. Be on the lookout for babies trying to put things in their ears.

Loud Noises

Monitor noise levels and keep them at a safe volume to protect your infant's hearing. Excessively loud noises create a pressure blast that, if loud enough, can blow out an eardrum. This is an extreme case, though. Hearing loss begins with exposure to everyday sounds like the radio, TV or lawn mower.

External Pressure Changes

A common concern when traveling with babies is that airplane cabin pressure will make the baby fussy. Unless this pressure is alleviated, it can lead to a ruptured eardrum.

Internal Pressure Changes

Ear infections can cause a rupture if there is too much buildup of pressure from the infection in the middle ear.