Ear infections are the most common illnesses in babies and young children. Most often, the infection affects the middle ear and is called otitis media. The tubes inside the ears become clogged with fluid and mucus. This can affect hearing, because sound cannot pass through the fluid.
Severe infections and infections in young babies may require antibiotics. Children who get frequent infections, or who otherwise get clogged ears, may get surgery to place small tubes inside their ears. The tubes relieve pressure in the ears so that the child can hear again.