by Ronnenberg A

A middle ear infection may not be treated right away. Most pass on their own in 2 to 3 days. Instead, a doctor will watch for any changes.

Infections that are severe or last longer than expected may be treated with antibiotics. They may also be given to babies under 6 months of age and children with other health problems. There is always a risk that a person may develop a resistence to antibiotics when they are taken too often. This can make it harder for antibiotics to fight future infections.

Surgery may be used to treat infections that do not resolve on their own or are not helped by antibiotics.

Treatment may include:

MedicationsLifestyle changesSurgeryAlternative and complementary therapies


Acute otitis media (AOM) in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed May 17, 2022.

Ear infections in children. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: Accessed May 17, 2022.

Middle ear infections. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: Accessed May 17, 2022.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kuenn, MD
  • Review Date: 11/2021
  • Update Date: 05/17/2022