Pouring medical drops in ears for healing an otitis. Otitis is a general term for inflammation or infection of the ear, in both humans and other animals. Otitis externa, external otitis, or “swimmer’s ear” involves the outer ear and ear canal. In external otitis, the ear hurts when touched or pulled. Otitis media or middle ear infection involves the middle ear. In otitis media, the ear is infected or clogged with fluid behind the ear drum, in the normally air-filled middle-ear space. Otitis interna or When the inner ear is inflamed, vertigo is a common symptom.