Ear infections affect either the external ear (ear canal) or middle ear. Sometimes an external ear infection develops very quickly and so we will try to see you as quickly as possible to start treatment. This often involves ‘microsuction’ to clean the ear and then treatment of the infection itself. Swimmers are more prone to outer ear infections due to the water entering the ear canal and so ‘swimming moulds’ may be helpful as prevention. Various conditions such as eczema and diabetes may also contribute to ear infections.

Middle ear infections (otitis media) are common in young children but less so in adults. Sometimes they are associated with ‘glue ear’ (fluid in the middle ear) and so treatment of this with grommets may be advised.

In adults a middle ear infection may occur with a cold but sometimes a perforation of the ear drum can cause recurring ear infections; repair of this may be recommended. In rare circumstances the ear drum may collapse into the middle ear and form a ‘retraction pocket’ which can cause infections. It is therefore important that the ear is examined carefully under the microscope to make a correct diagnosis and then appropriate treatment can be given.

Click to download information booklet: Grommet Insertion


The North Hampshire ENT Partnership is a team of consultants specialising in a wide spectrum of diseases and disorders that affect the Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) including snoring and sleep disorders, cosmetic and skin surgery.


Our surgeons provide specialist care by drawing from the 50 plus years of combined NHS experience and the many areas of individual specialist expertise available within the partnership.


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