How common are middle-ear infections?

Ear infection is one of the most common childhood illnesses. Up to 95% of all children have a middle-ear infection (otitis media) at least once by the time they are 7 years old. Most ear infections occur in children up to 3 years of age.1 Otitis media is not very common in adults.

Ear infections are more common in males, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Aboriginal Australians.


  1. Rovers MM, et al. (2004). Otitis media. Lancet, 363(9407): 465–473.

Last Updated: February 2, 2009

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