Otitis Media

What is Otitis Media?

Otitis Media, also referred to as fluid in the ear, is an infection/inflammation of the middle ear caused by a buildup of fluid and is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in children. Otitis media usually affects children due to the narrow shape of the eustachian tube in children.

If left undiagnosed and untreated it can lead to infection of the mastoid bone behind the ear, a ruptured eardrum, and hearing loss.  But if treated appropriately, any hearing loss related to otitis media can be alleviated.

How do I know if I have a problem?

The main symptoms of this condition are:

  • Ear pain
  • Increasing ear pain when changing altitude, and being unable to “pop” the ears
  • Tinnitus (a ringing in the ears)
  • Hearing loss or the sensation that sounds are muffled
  • A feeling of fullness in the ears
  • Behaviour problems in children
  • Poor school performance related to hearing loss

What treatment is available? 

You should see your GP if the pain you experience is severe or your symptoms are persistent. You may need a course of antibiotics or, if you’re suffering for many months, surgery may be needed, where small tubes (called grommets) are used to help the fluid drain.