The most common way physicians treat acute otitis media is with antibiotics. However, recently, many doctors are waiting to see if an infection will clear on its own before writing a prescription. This approach is used when a child is more than six months old, healthy, and exhibiting only mild symptoms. In this case, a doctor might recommend a pain reliever so that the child is more comfortable.
If a physician opts to use antibiotics, which are drugs that are used to kill bacteria, it will most likely be because the child is under six months old or the child or adult has had recurrent ear infections. Again, a pain reliever will be recommended for comfort and to lower fever.
The third treatment option is the insertion of drainage tubes into the ear canal and through the eardrum. This surgical procedure drains the fluid from the middle ear and helps the child hear better. It is used most often in children who have had hearing loss or recurrent infections that are not improving with antibiotics.