Why are ear infections more common in children than adults?


It is not uncommon for parents to deal with children who may be easily prone to ear infections. Ear infections almost seem as though they are just a part of childhood. However, children who are dealing with constant ear infections may need to be evaluated to determine if anything else can be done to relieve these issues. But how come children are more susceptible to ear infections than adults? The best answer is due to the developing body.

Ear infections are caused when bacteria or viruses develop behind the eardrum in the middle of the ear. This fluid may become trapped because of the angle of the Eustachian tubes. Children’s Eustachian tubes are often horizontal, keeping them from draining fluid out of the ears even when healthy. As we age, the Eustachian tubes will angle to improve fluid control, making ear infections far less common in adults. Regardless, a common cold or a sinus infection that causes the tubes to fill with mucus and swell can cause repeated problems for both children and adults. Bacteria develops because the conditions are right, and the infection begins.

When should my child have ear tubes placed?

Children who deal with constant ear infections may be told by their doctor at Coastal Ear, Nose, and Throat that they may benefit from placing tubes in the ears. These tubes help in improving the flow of fluid to keep it from becoming trapped and causing an infection. The placement of tubes is typically recommended when children are dealing with chronic problems. Three or more ear infections in six months, or four within a year, is often a sign that tube placement may be beneficial for the child. The surgery is a routine procedure that is highly successful in reducing the number of ear infections a child may experience over the years.

Schedule your visit with our doctors today

At Coastal Ear, Nose, and Throat, we are committed to helping patients in our community with their health and wellness needs. If you are struggling with consistent ear infections, or are dealing with a child with chronic problems, it may be time for an assessment with an ENT professional. An appointment with our doctors can be made by calling (732) 280-7855.