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What causes an ear infection?

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The middle ear is a small space behind the ear drum that is supposed to be well ventilated by air that normally passes up from behind the nose, through the Eustachian tube, keeping the middle ear clean and dry. When there is not enough fresh air ventilating the middle ear, such as when the Eustachian tube is clogged or blocked, the area becomes damp, stagnant, and warm, a perfect breeding ground for germs.

SOURCES: American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. 

Academy of American Family Physicians. 

Merck. 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on March 23, 2019

SOURCES: American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. 

Academy of American Family Physicians. 

Merck. 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on March 23, 2019

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How can children get ear infections?

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