In order to understand ear conditions, it is important to learn about the ear. The ear is made up of four parts: 1) the outer ear or pinna, 2) the external ear canal, 3) the middle ear, and 4) the inner ear. Each of these areas is susceptible to infections or injury. Infections of the ear canal are commonly known as “swimmer’s ear” infections. Young children have a greater tendency to get middle ear infections (otitis media). Both ear canal and middle ear infections are very painful and often require medical and sometimes surgical treatment. A good ear examination is necessary to determine the source of the problem and how to treat it.