Otitis Media

Milind Kirtane*, Nikita Malhotra**
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How does a Child's Physician Diagnose Otitis Media?
Ear infections require immediate attention by a pediatrician, primary care physician or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist). In addition, evaluation by an audiologist and a speech-language pathologist is important if a child has repeated episodes of infection and/or chronic fluid in the middle earIf otitis media is suspected, the child's ears are examined with an otoscope to check for redness or fluid behind the eardrum.

Pneumatic otoscopy
may be performed to check for middle ear fluid. During this procedure a puff of air is blown into the ear and movement of the eardrum is observed. An eardrum with fluid behind it does not move as well as an eardrum with air behind it. An audiogram or hearing test is performed to measure the degree of hearing loss.

Tympanometry
measures eardrum motion and the middle ear pressure to determine how well the Eustachian tube is functioning. If speech delay is suspected, a speech and language evaluation should be considered.An ear swab from the ear discharge may be taken to determine the culture and sensitivity of the infecting microorganism, depending on which the appropriate antibiotic is prescribed.

In certain situations, a CT Scan of the head may be helpful to determine if the infection has spread beyond the middle ear.


Otitis Media Otitis Media 2/28/2001
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