(Latinfor "Middleotitis") isinflammationof themiddle ear,or middle ear
infection.Otitis media occurs in the area between the ear drum (the end of theouter ear ) and theinner
ear , including a duct known as theeustachian tube.It is one of the two categories of ear
inflammation that can underlie what is commonly called an earache, the other beingotitisexterna.Diseases other than ear infections can also cause ear pain, including cancers of anystructure that shares nerve supply with the ear andshingleswhich can lead toherpes zoster
Otitis media has many degrees of severity, and various names are used to describe each. Theterminology is sometimes confusing because of multiple terms being used to describe thesame condition. A common misconception with ear infection is that sufferers think that asymptom is itchy ear. Although sufferers may feel discomfort, an itchy ear is not a symptomof ear infection.
Acute otitis media
Acute otitis media (AOM) is most often purely viral and self-limited, as is its usualaccompanying viral URI (upper respiratory infection). There is congestion of the ears and perhaps mild discomfort and popping, but the symptoms resolve with the underlying URI. If the middle ear, which is normally sterile, becomes contaminated with bacteria, pus and pressure in the middle ear can result, and this is called acute bacterial otitis media. Viral acuteotitis media can lead to bacterial otitis media in a very short time, especially in children, but itusually does not. The individual with bacterial acute otitis media has the classic "earache", pain that is more severe and continuous and is often accompanied by fever of 102 °F (39 °C)or more.. Bacterial cases may result in perforation of the ear drum, infectionof the mastoid space (mastoiditis) and in very rare cases further spread to cause meningitis.
- exudative inflammation lasting 1-2 days, fever, rigors, meningism(occasionally in children), severe pain (worse at night), muffled noise in ear, deafness,sensitivemastoidprocess.
- resistance and demarcation lasting 3-8 days. Pus and middle ear exudatedischarge spontaneously and afterwards pain and fever begin to decrease. This phase can beshortened with topical therapy.
- healing phase lasting 2-4 weeks. Aural discharge dries up and hearing becomesnormal.
Otitis media with effusion
Otitis media with effusion (OME), also called
secretory otitis media
(SOM), issimply a collection of fluid that occurs within the middle ear space as a result of the negative pressure produced by altered Eustachian tube function. This can occur purely from a viralURI, with no pain or bacterial infection, or it can precede and/or follow acute bacterial otitismedia. Fluid in the middle ear sometimes causes conductive hearing impairment, but only