Why are ear infections often accompanied with breathing problem symptoms?

Respiratory infections are the most common cause of ear infections. The middle ear (the inside part on the other side of eardrum) is normally well ventilated by air that passes from the nose through the Eustachian tube (a tube that connects the upper respiratory tract to the middle ear). However, having a cold or a sinus infection may cause the Eustachian tube to swell up and become blocked. This creates a closed environment in the middle ear where bacteria can grow and cause an ear infection. Infants and young children are at higher risk of ear infections than adults because their Eustachian tubes tend to be soft and bend; the tubes have a more difficult time staying open to allow air to pass into the middle ear.

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