The middle ear is the space just behind the eardrum. Germs can get in the middle ear and cause an infection. A middle ear infection is also called otitis media. A chronic infection is one that lasts a long time (even with treatment) or keeps coming back.
A chronic ear infection is more likely if your child has:
Lots of acute ear infections
A hole in the eardrum (for example from an injury or ear surgery), particularly if water gets in the ear
A blocked eustachian tube (the tube connecting the inside of the ear to the back of the throat)
Certain birth defects, such as a cleft palate, that affect the mouth and face
Chronic ear infections may get worse (flare up) after your child has a cold or other nose or throat infection.
If the infection is very bad, doctors will also give your child antibiotics to take by mouth.
If your child's eardrum is damaged or has an abnormal growth on it, doctors will often do surgery.