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My daugher is 6 years old, and frequently get ear infections. At least two a year. This past month she has had two back to back. My question is are there any long term effects from ear infections? can this eventually effect her hearing?

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replied March 13th, 2010
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A10648
Hi, welcome to the ehealth forum and I am glad to help you.
You seem to be concerned by the frequent ear infections in your 6 year old daughter and the long term effects of the same including the effects on hearing.
If a child experiences ear infections frequently, they may be at risk for developing some kind of complication. Frequent ear infections can cause perforations of the ear drum and scar tissue that may block drainage even further. Infections that are left untreated can spread into the bone and other areas, causing a life-threatening situation. Children who experience recurring ear infections may benefit from surgery. The most common practice is to insert small tubes into the ears which help them to drain properly. Eventually the tubes fall out on their own, or they can be removed by a doctor.
A chronic ear infection occurs when fluid or an infection behind the eardrum does not go away. A chronic ear infection may be caused by an acute ear infection that does not clear completely, or repeated ear infections. Fluid in the middle ear may become very thick. Sometimes, the eardrum (tympanic membrane) may stick to the bones in the middle ear.

A chronic ear infection may cause permanent changes to the ear and nearby bones, including:
Infection in the mastoid bone behind the ear (mastoiditis)
Ongoing drainage from a hole in the eardrum that does not heal, or after the ear tubes (tympanostomy tubes) are inserted
Cyst of the middle ear (cholesteatoma)
Hardening of the tissue in the middle ear (tympanosclerosis)
Damage to, or wearing away of the bones of the middle ear, which help with hearing.

Possible Complications in children include partial or complete hearing loss due to damage of the middle ear, slow development of language or speech, paralysis of the face, inflammation around the brain (epidural abscess) or in the brain, damage to the part of the ear that helps with balance.
Hope this helps and addresses your query. Take care.
Note: This post is not to emphasise final diagnosis as the same cannot be made online and is aimed just to provide medical information and no treatment suggested above be taken without face to face consultation with health care professional.

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