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Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear. "Otitis" means inflammation of the ear, and "media" means middle. This inflammation often begins with infections that cause sore throats, colds or other respiratory problems, and spreads to the middle ear. These can be caused by viruses or bacteria, and can be acute or chronic.
Alternative Names of Otitis Media are: Middle ear infection - chronic; Ear infection - chronic; chronic otitis media; chronic ear infection.
Complications of Otitis Media
Most children will have temporary and minor hearing loss during and right after an ear infection, because fluid can linger in the ear. Although this fluid can go unnoticed, it can cause significant hearing problems in children. Any fluid in the ear that lasts longer than 8-12 weeks is cause for concern. In children, hearing problems may cause speech to develop slowly.
Permanent hearing loss is rare, but the risk increases with the number and length of infections.
Causes of Otitis Media
Children are more commonly affected than adults because of the small size and horizontal position of their eustachian tube (the passage that connects the back of the nose to the middle ear). Otitis media affects about 2/3 of youngsters at least once before they reach their second birthday. The four main causes of otitis media are allergy, infection, blockage of the eustachian tube and nutritional deficiency.
Signs & Symptoms of Otitis Media
Note: Symptoms may be continuous or intermittent, and may occur in one or both ears.
Diagnosis of Otitis Media
Treatments of Otitis Media
Prevention of Otitis Media
Prompt treatment of acute ear infections may reduce the risk of development of chronic otitis media. Follow-up examination after treatment of an ear infection will ensure that it is completely cured.
When to seek Medical Advice
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