Middle ear infections can also cause a hole (perforation) in the eardrum or spread to nearby areas, such as the mastoid bone. Adults also can. A middle ear infection often originates from a cold or other respiratory problem. The infection moves to one or both ears through the eustachian tubes. An infection can irritate the eustachian tubes and cause them to swell. Swelling can prevent them from draining properly.Why Does My Ear Feel · Meningitis · Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.