13.1  Ear problems

Ear infections rarely cause death but are major causes of morbidity. In developing countries, they are the leading cause of deafness and learning problems. Therefore it is important for you as a Health Extension Practitioner to know how to identify when a child has an ear problem, and that you are able to assess, classify and provide the appropriate treatment. You also need to know what follow-up care to give a child with an ear problem and how to advise the mother to give home treatment and care.

A child with an ear problem may have an ear infection which can cause ear pain and fever. If an ear infection is not treated on time, the ear drum may perforate and the child feels less pain. Examples of complications of ear infections are meningitis, brain abscess, mastoiditis and deafness.

Mastoiditis is pronounced ‘mass-toy-dye-tiss’.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 13

13.1.1  Assessing ear problems