Is acute otitis media serious?

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Acute otitis media can be serious. While many middle ear infections either run their course or can be treated with antibiotics, complications can occur. For example, left untreated, a painful ear infection can spread to the brain. Frequent infections can also cause long-term hearing loss in children that can result in delays in speech and language learning. Fluid behind the eardrum of a persistent case of otitis media can build up pressure and rupture, or cause the eardrum to burst. In most cases, a ruptured eardrum heals itself, but in the event it doesn't, surgery may be needed to repair it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.