Infection of the middle ear (area after the eardrum) is called acute otitis media (AOM), and it can be quite painful and is very common.
Risk factors for a middle ear infection. Babies who are 6-36 months old are at risk, especially if they use a pacifier and attend a daycare program. Infants who are fed by a bottle (not breastfed) and who drink while they lay down are at a higher risk. Those who are exposed to smoke from cigarettes or significant amounts of air pollution are also at a higher risk.