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How to Tell If Your Child Has an Ear Infection: 5 Common Signs

It can be difficult enough to determine when you have an ear infection as an adult, but what if you think that your child, who may lack the ability to express themselves fully, may have one instead?

If you’re wondering how to tell if your child has an ear infection, keep reading below. We’ve outlined five common signs of ear infections — could they apply to your child?

Tugging Their Ear

Although children might be seen tugging their ears for a number of reasons, it can indicate that your child has ear pain. As ear infections often cause earache and similar discomfort, children can pull on their ears in an attempt to ease the pain. 

Depending on the age of the child, they might not be able to find and tug on their ear accurately — infants might hit their ear as they’re less aware of where their ear is and how to grip onto it.

Difficulty Sleeping

Trying to get your child to sleep can be a challenge at the best of times, but when there’s an ear infection in kids, the difficulty sleeping will be amplified. 

This is in part because, when a child with an ear infection lies down ready to sleep, there’s a shift in pressure in their middle ear. Children find the change in pressure to be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, so they can either be reluctant to go to bed or simply unable to get to sleep.

Difficulty Hearing

It’s that middle ear again — there’s likely to be a buildup of fluid in the middle ear when your child has an ear infection, and this can result in hearing loss for a temporary period. 

If the child is younger, they may not respond to sounds as normal, while older children are likely to be asking “what?” more often.

Ear Drainage

One of the symptoms of an ear infection is fluid draining out of the ear. It’s not a particularly serious problem in itself — fluid or pus draining out of the ear is usually the result of a ruptured eardrum, and this is an issue that can heal on its own. 

It won’t be something you’ll see in every child with an ear infection, but it’s something to keep an eye out for. The fluid is likely to be thick and either yellow or bloody, so it’s difficult to miss.

Crying or Fussing More Frequently

It sounds a little obvious, but ear infections cause pain and discomfort. Therefore, your child is likely to cry more often than they would usually, or otherwise be more irritable or grumpy. 

Of course, there can be myriad reasons for crying in a child, but particularly when combined with other symptoms, it can be a sign of an ear infection.

How to Tell if Your Child Has an Ear Infection — What Should I Do Next?

None of these signs on their own guarantee that your child has an ear infection, but they’re all indicators that something might be wrong. Don’t risk it — get them checked over. Now you have a better idea of how to tell if your child has an ear infection, you’ll be able to act fast should your child display symptoms. 

Feel free to contact us today if you have any questions, and be sure to check out the rest of our posts for health advice too.