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The size and shape of the eustachian tube in a child are different than in an adult. The eustachian tube of a child is shorter and lies in a more horizontal position. The child who develops a cold will often sniff, thereby forcing the nasal drainage from the throat region into the eustachian tubes and middle ear. This drainage results in a middle ear infection called otitis media. As the child grows, the eustachian tube grows longer and becomes less horizontal. There is less chance for bacteria to enter the middle ear from the throat. In this sense, children are said to outgrow ear infections.
adopted from The human body in health and illness, Herlihy & Maebius