Ear infections affect either the external ear (ear canal) or middle ear. Sometimes an ear infection can develop rapidly so ideally treatment should start promptly to minimise subsequent problems. Ear canal infections (otitis externa) may require treatment with microsuction to clean the ear thoroughly before the use of antibiotic ear drops. Middle ear infections (otitis media) are more common in children and may be related to “glue ear”. This is a condition which may require an operation to place grommets (ventilation tubes) into the eardrum. Occasionally ear infections may be related to eardrum perforations or other eardrum abnormalities.