What Causes Otitis Media

Both glue ear and acute otitis media occur most commonly in young children, usually as a result of temporary malfunction of the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose. The Eustachian tube normally allows air to circulate through the middle ear, and allows mucus to drain from the middle ear into the throat. In young children, the tube is smaller, flatter and shorter. It is easier for bugs, (bacteria and viruses) to travel into the tube, which may result in swelling of the lining of the tube, and an increase in mucus production in the tube. This may cause it to block. It follows that as children grow, they are less likely to have trouble with otitis media.