Infections of the ear usually triggered by bacteria or viruses, often occurring with infections of the throat or respiratory system. There are three types of ear infection: otitis externa (ear canal inflammation), otitis media (middle ear inflammation—the most common type), and otitis interna (inner ear inflammation—rare). Serious complications that can arise from ear infections include loss of hearing, a burst eardrum, and mastoiditis, a rare infection of the mastoid process.