Mastoiditis refers to an infection in the mastoid bone which is located behind the ear. The mastoid bone is a honey comb of air pockets which are connected , through a passage, with the middle ear. Mastoiditis is frequently caused by a middle ear infection which spreads to the mastoid bone, fills the air pockets with infected material and then broke down. Symptoms include fever, hearing loss, pain, redness and swelling behind the ear. Untreated mastoiditis can lead to meningitis, brain abscess and permanent hearing loss. The condition is not common in children. Before antibiotics, mastoiditis was one of the most common causes of death in children. Today the condition is less common and much less dangerous. Treatment today usually involves antibiotics, occasionally draining the middle ear (myringotomy), and rarely cleaning out the mastoid bone (mastoidectomy).