Otitis Media

Milind Kirtane*, Nikita Malhotra**
What are the Effects of Otitis Media?
Otitis Media causes severe earache, but may result in serious complications if not treated. An untreated infection can travel from the middle ear to the nearby parts of the head, including the brain. Persistent fluid in the middle ear hampers the movement of the eardrum and the three middle ear bones resulting in mild to moderate hearing loss. Although this hearing loss is usually temporary, untreated otitis media may lead to permanent hearing impairment. Persistent fluid in the middle ear and chronic otitis media can reduce a child's hearing at a time that is critical for speech and language development, leading to speech and language disabilities.

Otitis Media is often difficult to detect because most children affected by this disorder do not yet have sufficient speech and language skills to tell someone what is bothering them.

Common symptoms of Otitis Media include:
- Muffled hearing
- Sensation of ear blockage or pressure
- Ear pain
- Fever
- Ear discharge

Common signs to look for are:
- Unusual irritability
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Tugging, pulling or scratching one or both ears
- Unresponsiveness to quiet sounds
- Inattentiveness
- Misunderstanding directions
- Sitting too close to the television
- Wanting the television or radio louder than usual
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Dizziness or loss of balance

On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. At times, middle ear fluid may be discovered incidentally during a routine check-up.

Otitis Media Otitis Media 02/28/2001
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