Middle ear infections, also called otitis media, are most common in children but people of all ages can contract them. These infections are usually bacterial or viral and are known to cause inflammation and pain. If this is untreated, it can cause headaches, hearing loss, discomfort, and even meningitis. It is possible that it will require surgical repair and drainage depending on the severity of the inflection. If the infections are consistent and recurring, they could be a sign of a more serious illness.
What is Otitis Media?
A middle ear infection found behind the eardrum is Otitis Media.
- Acute Otitis Media
A bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear and can cause fever, pus, and earaches. Bacterial acute otitis media can also lead to mastoiditis and, in very serious cases, can spread to cause meningitis.
- Otitis Media with Fluid in the Ears
An infection that includes a buildup of fluid in the middle ear space. Fluid form this infection can affect the Eustachian tube and if the fluid is too thick, can lead to conductive hearing loss.
- Chronic Supportive Otitis Media
An ear infection with drainage from the ear canal. This is common when there is a hole or tear in the ear drum, along with a bacterial infection that lasts several weeks. This is common with poor Eustachian tube function and includes hearing loss.
How Is Otitis Media Treated?
Ear infections are generally treated by cleaning the ear and oral antibiotics. Pain can be managed with Tylenol and ibuprofen.
Ear tubes are tiny cylinders placed through the eardrum to allow air into the middle ear. These tubes are used for people who have chronic ear infections. They are most common in children but work in people of all ages.