Mastoiditis is an inflammation or infection of the mastoid bone. This bone is part of the skull and located behind the ear. 

Symptoms of Mastoiditis

Mastoiditis may be mild or severe, and it could cause a range of symptoms, including the following:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling behind the ear
  • Ear pain
  • Protruding ear lobe due to swelling of the mastoid bone
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss

The symptoms of mastoiditis may look like other medical conditions. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.

If left untreated, mastoiditis could cause a range of complications, including:

  • Hearing loss
  • Serious infection in nearby tissue
  • Facial nerve damage
  • Inner ear problems
  • Meningitis or inflammation or infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord

Causes of Mastoiditis

Mastoiditis usually occurs in a child with a recent middle ear infection (otitis media). The infection in the middle ear spreads into the mastoid bone.

Diagnosing Mastoiditis

Your doctor will ask questions about your child's medical history and current symptoms. They will also examine your child, paying close attention to the upper respiratory system, including the ears, nose, and throat. An otoscope is used to examine the middle ear. X-ray and CAT scans of the mastoid area may be done. Fluid from the middle ear may be sent to a lab to be checked.

Treatment for Mastoiditis

Treatment for mastoiditis usually includes antibiotic medication and draining of the middle ear. In addition, tympanostomy tubes, also called ear tubes, may be placed. In some cases, hospitalization may be required, or other surgery may become necessary.

It is very important for your child to go to all follow-up appointments to check for hearing problems and other complications.

Why Choose Columbia

Our otolaryngologists and audiologists are leaders in treating diseases of the ear, making our team uniquely qualified to diagnose and manage mastoiditis in children and adults. We have extensive experience personalizing the right care plan for each patient, which translates into the best possible outcomes for you or your child.