8 Telltale Ear Infection Symptoms You Need to Look out for in Your Child

Are you concerned about your child developing an ear infection? If so, keep reading to find out about the 8 ear infection symptoms you need to know about.

If you’re the parent of a young child, there’s a good chance you’ll have to help them cope with an ear infection at least once in the early stages of life.


According to the NIDCD, ear infections are the leading cause of doctor visits among parents with young kids. About five out of every six children will experience an ear infection by turning 3.

To prevent ear infections from taking a toll on your child’s health, try to spot ear infection symptoms early. This will allow you to get your child the proper medical care to clear up the infection sooner than later.

Here are eight telltale ear infection symptoms you should look out for when it comes to a young child.

1. Your Child Tells You Their Ear Hurts

Did your child just run up to you and tell you that they’re experiencing pain in one of their ears?

There could be a reasonable explanation for it. For example, they may have gotten in the ear while playing with their friends.

But ear pain is also one of the most common ear infection symptoms. This is because bacteria work their way inside a child’s ear and can cause inflammation as fluid builds up behind their eardrums. This can lead to a throbbing pain that won’t go away.

Taking your child to a doctor for any unexplained pain in their ear is a good idea. They can prescribe a medication to help your child’s body fight off the infection.

2. They’re Always Tugging at Their Ear

If your child is still on the younger side, they might not know how to express the different aches and pains they’re feeling. But you should be able to tell when they’re dealing with the pain associated with an ear infection based on their behavior.

Kids with ear infections will often tug at their ears numerous times throughout the day. If you notice that they seem fixated on and even frustrated with their ears, ask them what’s wrong and then make an appointment with your doctor to address the issue.

3. They’re Crying or Fussy

It can be tough to tell when a baby has an ear infection. They don’t know there’s a problem with their ear, and they also can’t reach up and pull at it to show you an issue.

Babies will often cry and get very fussy when they have an ear infection. So if you have a baby that won’t stop crying no matter what you do, it’s time to have them checked out by a doctor.

There could, of course, be another issue that is causing them to cry. But often, ear infections are to blame when babies are unusually fussy or calling more than usual.

4. They’re Having a Hard Time Sleeping

A child’s ear infection will make it difficult for them to sleep on their infected ear. That will, in turn, make it hard for them to sleep at all since most kids will attempt to sleep on both sides of their bodies throughout the night.

If your child has difficulty getting to and staying asleep through the night, check with them to see if their ear is bothering them. If it is, they’re most likely suffering from an ear infection.

5. They Have a High Fever

As a young child’s parent, a thermometer will be one of your best friends. Any time your child isn’t feeling great, pull your thermometer out to see if they have a fever.

Babies and young kids who have ear infections will often have high temperatures to go along with them. So if you have a sudden spike in your child’s temperature, that should serve as your cue to seek medical attention for them right away.

6. They Have Fluid Coming Out of Their Ear

If you don’t catch ear infection symptoms early enough, you might start to see some of the more severe symptoms present themselves.

Fluid coming out of your child’s ear is one of them. You must take your child to see a doctor as soon as possible if you ever spot fluid emerging from their ear.

7. They’re Struggling to Stay Balanced

As you may or may not know, a person’s inner ears play a significant role in their ability to stay balanced. Therefore, if there are ever any problems within the inner ear, it can cause people to appear as though they’re clumsy and uncoordinated.

If your child is having Trouble staying upright and losing their balance often, they may be experiencing an inner ear infection. Please bring them to a doctor to avoid seeing them injure themselves due to their balance issues.

8. They Have Trouble Hearing

You might think your kids are just ignoring you when you tell them that it’s time to clean up or eat their dinner. But in reality, an ear infection could be why they’re not responding to your commands.

Because of the pressure that builds up inside a child’s ear when their ear is infected, they’ll sometimes struggle to hear well. They may also react strongly to quiet sounds that wouldn’t usually bother them.

Look Out for Ear Infection Symptoms at All Times

Some young children don’t get any ear infections growing up. Others get five of them every year and force their parents to take the proper precautions to limit the chances of ear infections affecting them.

No matter which side of the fence your child falls on, keep a close eye out for signs of ear infection symptoms all the time. By catching an infection early, you can limit the effect that it’ll have on your child.

Try to learn as much as you can about ear infections, too. Check out our blog for information on the contagiousness of ear infections.