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.


Chole RA. Chronic otitis media, mastoiditis, and petrositis. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 139.

Klein JO. 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. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 62.

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.

Amanda J. Leach
Casuarina, NT, AU
Paola G. Marchisio
Susanna R. Esposito
Susanna R. Esposito
Parma, IT
Tal Marom
Tal Marom
Ashdod, D, IL
Roderick P. Venekamp
Utrecht, UT, NL
Sara Torretta
Milan, IT
  • Journal: Lin chuang er bi yan hou tou jing wai ke za zhi = Journal of clinical otorhinolaryngology, head, and neck surgery
  • Published —
Quality of life assessment after endoscopic and microscopic myringoplasty using Chinese version of the Zurich chronic middle ear inventory
  • Condition: Sensorineural Hearing Loss and Recurrent Otitis Externa
  • Journal: Harefuah
  • Treatment Used: Middle Ear Implant
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This study reported a case of a woman who underwent a Vibrant Soundbridge implantation after unsuccessfully using hearing aids due to recurrent otitis externa.
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 180
  • Start Date: July 2022
Dialogue Around Respiratory Illness Treatment for Family Practice (DART -FP)
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Participants: 50
  • Start Date: October 28, 2021
Evaluation of Vestibular Function in Patients With Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media: Safe Type