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Although rare, mastoiditis is a condition that can develop when ear infections go untreated. Infants and young children are most commonly affected by the disease. Mastoiditis results when the mastoid bone, the prominent bone behind the ear, develops an infection.
This usually happens when a case of acute middle ear infection goes untreated and spreads from the middle ear to into the surrounding bone. In many cases the skin covering the mastoid bone can become swollen and tender, and the ear may be pushed down as the infection grows. Pus that forms within the bone may also leak out through the ear. With proper treatment, mastoiditis is usually curable. If you or a child exhibit ear infection symptoms that do not respond to treatment, see your doctor about tests for mastoiditis.