Otitis media

115. Otitis media in children, Otitis media in adults, Self diagnosis

1. Otitis media self diagnosis

  • Do you have any ear pain or pain?
  • Do you sometimes hear strange noises or noises in your ears?
  • Are you experiencing fever or other symptoms?
  • Is there discharge coming from your ears?


2. Self diagnosis of otitis media in children

  • keep touching your ears
  • Pus coming out of the ear
  • I feel heat in my ears
  • If you call me from behind, I mishear you.
  • They say they feel it in their ears when they swallow.
  • It is said that there is a feeling of fullness in the ears.
  • The cold lasts a long time
  • I can’t sleep well because my ears hurt.
  • Frequent fussing while lying down or breastfeeding


0 to 4: Otitis media may begin and the child may develop a fever.
5 to 8: Otitis media is at an advanced stage and the child cannot sleep and complains of pain.
8 or more: Otitis media is a serious condition that can cause hearing loss and affect brain development.


Diagnosis and treatment of otitis media require medical attention. If you have symptoms or are concerned about otitis media, it is important to consult a healthcare professional immediately. Your doctor will perform appropriate tests for diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment options. It is always important to check your health status and receive appropriate treatment.



The human ear is divided into three parts: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The middle ear, specifically, refers to the space between the eardrum and the cochlear canal. Otitis media is a bacterial infection condition where inflammation occurs in the middle ear, leading to discomfort and potential complications. While it’s less common in adults than in children, seeking a doctor’s evaluation is crucial to avoid complications. Sometimes, this infection can recur, leading to what is known as chronic otitis media. We will delve into otitis media, providing you with a thorough understanding of the condition.



Causes and Classification of Otitis Media

Viruses are responsible for most ear infections, although bacterial infections can also occur. There are three primary types of otitis media:


1. Acute Otitis Media (AOM): This is the most common type of ear infection. It involves the accumulation of fluid behind the eardrum, causing ear pain.

2. Otitis Media with Effusion (OME): Typically found in children, OME occurs after an initial ear infection has resolved, but fluid remains trapped in the middle ear. While children may not exhibit symptoms, doctors can detect signs of fluid behind the eardrum.

3. Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (COME): This condition occurs when fluid remains in the ear for an extended period or recurs continually. People with COME may experience hearing problems each time a new infection occurs. Doctors diagnose COME after a patient has had OME for about three months or more.


Another form of chronic otitis media is chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). Individuals with CSOM experience recurring and persistent ear discharge. This condition typically develops as a complication of AOM, often in childhood.


Why Does Otitis Media Occur?

Chronic ear infections stem from prolonged or recurring acute ear infections. Preventing acute ear infections can help avert the development of chronic otitis media.

Acute otitis media occurs when the Eustachian tube, a narrow and shorter passage that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, becomes blocked. This tube is more prone to blockages in children, making them more susceptible to ear infections.


Infections can arise in the fluid buildup within the middle ear, leading to symptoms and complications. Common causes of otitis media include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Colds
  • Influenza

Risk factors for chronic otitis media include recent upper respiratory infections, Down syndrome, cleft palate, and a family history of ear infections. Environments like daycare centers with poor hygiene practices can also increase the risk of ear infections due to increased exposure to viruses and bacteria.


What Symptoms Can You Expect?

Symptoms of otitis media vary depending on the type of ear infection and can affect one or both ears.


Acute Otitis Media (AOM):

  • Ear pain
  • Hearing problems
  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ear discharge

Children might display increased fussiness and may tug at the affected ear.


baby boy listens put hand his ear 2


Chronic Otitis Media (COME):
Chronic otitis media often presents with subtle symptoms, making it less noticeable. However, prolonged OME, especially in children, can lead to hearing difficulties and other health issues, including:


  • Speech or reading difficulties
  • Inattentiveness
  • Reduced ability to work independently
  • Slower response or delayed understanding of speech

Doctors typically consider OME lasting for more than three months as chronic. However, it usually resolves spontaneously within three months. Around 30-40% of children experience OME at least once, with 5-10% having it for over a year.


Individuals with chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) may develop perforations in the eardrum. While not all CSOM patients experience pain when the eardrum ruptures, those with acute or recurrent AOM are more likely to feel discomfort.


Symptoms of CSOM include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Perforation of the eardrum
  • Treatment Options

doctor examining ear senior woman 2


Some ear infections resolve on their own, but others may require additional treatment. If symptoms persist for several days, it’s essential to seek medical attention to determine the type of ear infection.


Ear Cleaning:
Maintaining cleanliness by removing earwax and debris from the ear canal can help accelerate recovery, especially in certain types of chronic conditions.



  • Pain and fever reducers like acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide relief from symptoms and reduce fever.
  • Antibiotics are effective when bacteria are the cause of the infection. In chronic cases, antibiotics may not be helpful.

Antibiotics are effective when bacteria are the cause of the infection. In chronic cases, antibiotics may not be helpful. In some instances, such as when there is ear drainage or infections in both ears of children under 2 years old, antibiotics might be prescribed.


Antifungal Medication:
If a fungal infection is contributing to the symptoms, doctors may recommend antifungal ear drops.


In rare cases or specific circumstances, such as severe complications, surgery may be recommended.


Foods That May Be Helpful

  • Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Incorporate foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, citrus fruits, and dark leafy greens. Antioxidants can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Vitamin C: Foods high in vitamin C, like oranges, strawberries, and broccoli, can aid in immune system function and recovery.
  • Probiotic-Rich Foods: Yogurt, kefir, and other probiotic-rich foods can promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is essential for overall immune health.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts in your diet. These fats have anti-inflammatory properties that may help with ear discomfort.

oranges 1995056 640


Foods to Avoid or Limit

  • Sugary Foods and Beverages: Excess sugar can weaken the immune system, so it’s advisable to limit sugary snacks, soda, and processed foods.
  • Dairy Products: Some people find that dairy products can increase mucus production, potentially exacerbating ear congestion. Consider reducing dairy consumption if you notice this effect.
  • Fried and Processed Foods: High-fat and processed foods can promote inflammation. It’s best to limit fried foods, processed meats, and trans fats.
  • Allergenic Foods: If you suspect food allergies are contributing to ear issues, consult with a healthcare provider to identify and manage allergenic foods.

Remember that individual responses to food can vary, so it’s essential to pay attention to how your body reacts to different dietary choices. Additionally, always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized dietary recommendations and treatment options when dealing with ear infections or related health concerns.



In conclusion, otitis media is a condition that requires attention, proper diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. While some ear infections may resolve on their own, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider to determine the type of infection and ensure the most effective treatment. Cleanliness and medication can aid in recovery, and in rare cases, surgery might be necessary to address severe complications. It’s important to recognize the symptoms, seek medical advice promptly, and follow the recommended treatment plan.



Q: Can otitis media be prevented?
Otitis media can be prevented by practicing good hygiene, avoiding exposure to sick individuals, and addressing upper respiratory infections promptly. Keeping your child’s immunizations up to date can also help reduce the risk.


Q: Is otitis media contagious?
While the condition itself is not contagious, the viruses or bacteria that cause ear infections can be spread from person to person. Close contact with someone who has a respiratory infection can increase the risk of otitis media.


Q: Are there any long-term complications of otitis media?
If left untreated or if it becomes chronic, otitis media can lead to hearing loss, speech and language development delays, and other complications. It’s essential to manage and treat the condition to prevent long-term issues.


Q: Can adults get otitis media?
While less common in adults, otitis media can still occur. It’s more prevalent in children due to their Eustachian tubes being more susceptible to blockages. Adults with certain risk factors, such as recent upper respiratory infections or compromised immune systems, may be more prone to ear infections.


Q: What should I do if I suspect my child has otitis media?
If you notice symptoms such as ear pain, fever, or hearing difficulties in your child, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider. They can examine your child’s ears, make a diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment.


Today’s Quiz

Question: What is the primary cause of otitis media?

Answer: The primary cause of otitis media is usually viral infections, although bacterial infections can also contribute to the condition.

Please feel free to reach out to a healthcare provider for specific guidance and treatment options if you suspect you or your child has otitis media.


Accuracy : 95%.


mayoclinic.org, who.int, cdc.gov, aap.org


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