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Otitis is a general term for inflammation or infection of the ear, in both humans and other animals.
It is subdivided into the following:
- Otitis externa, external otitis, or "swimmer's ear" involves the outer ear and ear canal. In external otitis, the ear hurts when touched or pulled.
- Otitis media or middle ear infection involves the middle ear. In otitis media, the ear is infected or clogged with fluid behind the ear drum, in the normally air-filled middle-ear space. This very common childhood infection sometimes requires a surgical procedure called myringotomy and tube insertion.
- Otitis interna or labyrinthitis involves the inner ear. The inner ear includes sensory organs for balance and hearing. When the inner ear is inflamed, vertigo is a common symptom.
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