Department of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery

Otitis Media

Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear, usually due to bacterial or viral infection. Although usually associated with young children, anyone can get otitis media.

The symptoms are muffled hearing, stuffiness and often, pain. Otitis media may occur before, during or after a cold or flu episode, or may occur alone. Although most cases will recover without treatment, proper treatment can shorten the amount of suffering and prevent complications.

Acute Otitis Media is the painful condition that results in red eardrums that may spontaneously rupture and drain pus. Antibiotics are usually prescribed. Ventilation tubes may be placed for frequent episodes.

Serous Otitis Media is fluid that persists after the acute episode is over. While not painful, it results in temporary hearing loss. There is evidence that bacterial biofilms are responsible. Antibiotics and/or tubes are the treatments of choice.

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