Left untreated, an ear infection can lead to more serious problems and possible hearing loss. It is important that proper diagnosis and treatment be given.
If an infection is suspected, consult a physician. The doctor will probably use an otoscope (a lighted instrument designed to examine the ear through the ear canal) to examine the ear canal and eardrum. The doctor will also examine the nose and throat. The bony part of the skull behind the ears (the mastoid) will be examined, too. Pain, redness, or tenderness of the mastoid can be a sign of a serious infection.
If an infection is present, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. Amoxicillin is the antibiotic most commonly used for ear infections.