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Otitis

Definition

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

Alternative Names

Ear infection; Infection - ear

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Otitis can affect the inner or outer parts of the ear. The condition is classified according to whether it occurs suddenly and for a short time (acute) or repeatedly over a long period of time (chronic).

When otitis involves the outer ear and ear canal, it is called otitis externa. For specific information, see:

When otitis involves the middle ear, located just behind the eardrum, it is called otitis media: For specific information, see:


Review Date: 7/26/2010
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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