What is the definition of Otitis?

Otitis is a term for infection or inflammation of the ear.

What are the alternative names for Otitis?

Ear infection; Infection - ear

What are the causes for Otitis?

Otitis can affect the inner or outer parts of the ear. The condition can be:

  • Acute ear infection. Starts suddenly and lasts for a short period of time. It is often painful.
  • Chronic ear infection. Occurs when the ear infection does not go away or keeps coming back. It may cause long-term damage to the ear.

Based on location otitis can be:

  • Otitis externa (swimmer's ear). Involves the outer ear and ear canal. A more severe form can spread into the bones and cartilage around the ear.
  • Otitis media (ear infection). Involves the middle ear, which is located just behind the eardrum.
  • Otitis media with effusion. Occurs when there is thick or sticky fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear, but there is no ear infection.
Ear anatomy
Medical findings based on ear anatomy
Middle ear infection (otitis media)


Chole RA, Sharon JD. Chronic otitis media, mastoiditis, and petrositis. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 140.

Pelton SI. Otitis externa, otitis media, and mastoiditis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 61.

Pham LL, Bourayou R, Maghraoui-Slim V, Kone-Paut I. Otitis, sinusitis and related conditions. In: Cohen J, Powderly WG, Opal SM, eds. Infectious Diseases. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 26.

  • Condition: Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI (MPS VI)
  • Journal: The Cochrane database of systematic reviews
  • Treatment Used: Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) with Galsulfase
  • Number of Patients: 39
  • Published —
This review of the literature evaluated the safety and effectiveness of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with galsulfase for the treatment of patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type VI (genetic enzyme disorder; MPS VI).
  • Condition: Middle Ear Disease in Children with Cleft Palate (CP)
  • Journal: Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica : organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale
  • Treatment Used: Nasal Auto-Inflation Devices
  • Number of Patients: 51
  • Published —
This study evaluated the effectiveness of nasal auto-inflation devices for the treatment of middle ear disease in children with cleft palate.