Health A-Z

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Prognosis

The outlook in most people with a middle ear infection is very good. The infection and its symptoms usually go away completely. In severe cases that go untreated, the infection can spread, causing an infection in the mastoid bone (called mastoiditis) or even meningitis, but this is rare. Hearing difficulties can occur. While they are not necessarily permanent, they can affect the speech and language development of younger children.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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