What Are the Common Symptoms of Mastoiditis?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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Symptoms of mastoiditis may vary according to the severity of the infection as well as any other underlying health issues. The most frequently reported symptoms include ear pain, drainage from the ear, and headache. Some patients may develop a fever or experience some degree of hearing loss. The area just behind the ear, or sometimes the ear itself, may become red and swollen. A middle ear infection may be among the symptoms of mastoiditis, or it may be the reason for the problem. Any specific or individualized questions or concerns about the possible symptoms of mastoiditis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Mastoiditis is a medical term used to describe an infection of the mastoid bone, which is located just behind the ear. This type of infection usually affects children and is typically related to a current or recent infection of the middle ear. Symptoms may be difficult for young children to communicate, so any excessive fussiness or screaming as if in pain should be investigated by a doctor. Infants and young children who experience frequent ear infections are at an increased risk of developing mastoiditis.


Ear pain, discomfort, and drainage are among the most common symptoms of mastoiditis. The discomfort experienced by this condition can range from mild to excruciating. The area immediately behind the ear may be tender or painful to the touch. Drainage, if present, may be a variety of colors, including pink, red, or green. While any ear drainage should be reported to a doctor, excessive bleeding from the ear should be reported immediately to make sure there are no serious complications.

Fever and hearing loss are also among the possible symptoms. The fever may develop slowly, although it often appears suddenly. Hearing loss is often minor and temporary, although severe and permanent damage to the ear drum and surrounding structures is possible. Redness and swelling on or around the affected ear may occur along with this type of infection as well.

If the condition remains untreated, more severe symptoms may occur. A sore throat and swollen lymph nodes may indicate that the infection has begun to spread throughout the body. Occasionally, a brain abscess or other serious complications may develop. It is important that any potential symptoms of mastoiditis are reported to a doctor right away so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and an individualized treatment plan can be created.


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