Ears Popping in Children

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Ear popping in children is not uncommon. It can be caused by a number of things. One of the most common reasons that a child's ears will pop is a middle ear infection. There are various things that your doctor can do to help to relieve the ear popping and other symptoms associated with these infections.


Middle ear infections are the second most diagnosed condition next to the common cold in children under the age of 3. One symptom of these infections is ear popping. The popping happens in the Eustachian tube, or small passage way between the middle ear and the throat.


When excess fluid builds up inside of the middle ear, your child may experience a popping sound. This fluid builds up and causes infections within the ear. Your child may also complain of a fullness in his ear or problems hearing along with the popping that may be felt.


Typically the popping will subside with the infection in about one to two weeks. If you notice that your child's still hearing the popping sounds after a couple of weeks it is important to see your doctor. He may need to be seen for further evaluation or treatment. Do not put anything into your child's ear to try to relieve the popping sounds unless directed by your doctor. Using anything to try to loosen the fluid may worsen the problem.


Most middle ear infections do not need treatment as they typically clear up on their own. However, in some cases the bacterial infection will need to be treated with antibiotics. Once the antibiotic has been administered, the fluid, pain and popping should subside within seven to 10 days. In some cases, the popping and other problems associated with a middle ear infection require the placement of a small tube that will help fluid to drain from the middle ear and out the Eustachian tube more effectively.

Side Effects

If a middle ear infection is left untreated, some side effects may occur. The popping in your child's ear may worsen due to an uneven amount of air pressure in her ear and excess fluid build up, hearing problems may result and the ear drum may rupture. All of these side effects can be prevented with early diagnosis and proper treatment.


If the popping in your child's ear is accompanied by a fever above 100 degrees, severe pain or discharge from the ear, you should seek medical attention right away. You may notice that your child has difficulty sleeping, eating or has trouble balancing along with the ear popping. These are all signs that indicate he will need to see a doctor for a possible middle ear infection.