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Introduction to Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders in Children

By Udayan K. Shah, MD, Professor;Chief, Division of Otolaryngology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University;Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children

Ear, nose, and throat disorders, particularly infections, are extremely common among children.

  • Ear infections occur almost as often as the common cold. They can develop behind the eardrum (in the middle ear), called otitis media, or in front of the eardrum (in the outer ear canal), called otitis externa or external otitis.

  • Throat infections are usually not serious, but they make children uncomfortable and can lead to missed school days and multiple visits to a doctor.

A Look Inside the Ear

A Look Inside the Nose and Throat

Other disorders, such as hearing impairment and neck masses, affect fewer children but are potentially serious. In general, any abnormality of a child’s ear, nose, or throat (see Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis and see Juvenile Angiofibromas) that does not resolve within several days should be evaluated by a doctor. Sometimes these disorders and abnormalities, if untreated, lead to problems with communication.

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