Who is most at risk for acute otitis media?


Acute Otitis Media can occur at any age but it is most common between age 3 months and 3 years because the Eustachian tube is structurally and functionally immature at this age. In older infants and children, the most common causes of otitis media are streptococcus pneumonia, Moraxella catarrhalis, and nontypeable haemophilus influenza. The children who missed their vaccination with Pcv13, Hib, and flu vaccines are at risk for otitis media. Children who sleep with bottles are also at risk for otitis media, as milk pools into the ear canal and bacteria acts on it and cause otitis media. Second hand smoke may increase the chance of otitis media in children and infants.


Acute otitis media is common in children from four months of age up until their fourth birthday, but it is between the ages of six and 18 months that they are most likely to develop a middle ear infection.

Children who are also in child care center with many other children are also more likely to develop otitis media than their stay-at-home peers.

Another factor that places children in the high risk category for ear infections is if they were bottle fed while lying flat as infants.

Young children not only have immune systems that are not mature and able to efficiently fight off infection, but their large adenoids collect infection and can sometimes expand in size, blocking the opening to the Eustachian tube.

Continue Learning about Ear Disorders

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.