What You Wonder About Middle Ear Inflammation

Middle Ear Inflammation (Otitis Media): Acute otitis media is an inflammation of the middle ear cavity behind the eardrum. In children, the Eustachian tube is shorter than in adults and therefore it is easier for germs to reach the middle ear from the nose. As a result, fluid accumulates in the middle ear; The pressure of the fluid causes pain and the eardrum cannot vibrate. Therefore, some hearing loss occurs during otitis media. When bacteria are killed with appropriate drug treatment, the fluid in the middle ear disappears and hearing improves.
Acute otitis media is a common disease of childhood. 2/3 of children up to the age of three have at least one otitis media. Acute otitis media is treated with antibiotics. Even with effective antibiotic treatment, 40% of children remain in the middle ear for 3-6 weeks without inflammatory fluid and may cause mild hearing loss that recovers later on. Middle ear inflammation is also common in children with frequent upper respiratory tract infections. For this reason, colds and ear problems are more common in children, especially in the first two years, who enter crowded environments such as kindergartens for the first time.

Symptoms and Signs: Older children may express complaints of fullness in the ear, pain and hearing loss. In young children, the first symptoms may be restlessness, sleep disturbance or loss of appetite. Children of any age can have a fever. These symptoms are usually accompanied by complaints of upper respiratory tract infection, such as runny nose and cough, accompanying otitis media. In severe middle ear infections, perforation of the eardrum may occur. As a result, the inflammation in the middle ear flows from the ear canal, the pain decreases and the fever decreases. The hole in the eardrum usually closes spontaneously as a result of treatment.

Disease Prevention: Immunity provided by substances passing through breast milk in newborn babies prevents the development of acute otitis media. The position of breastfed children during feeding is more suitable for normal functioning of the Eustachian tube than that of bottle-fed children; Therefore, otitis media is less common in breastfed children than in bottle-fed children. If the child needs to be bottle fed, it is better to feed in a sitting position rather than lying down.

Duration of the Disease: The recovery time of otitis media can be variable. Even if it is not treated at all, it resolves spontaneously within 48 hours. Sometimes, fluid remains in the middle ear for 2 weeks to 2 months, despite being treated with antibiotics. This fluid usually goes away on its own, but hearing may have decreased during this time. Otitis media is not contagious, but its root cause, upper respiratory tract infection, can be contagious.

Medical treatment: Acute otitis media is usually treated with antibiotics and medications to restore the function of the Eustachian tube. Sometimes, if the child’s eardrum becomes very swollen due to inflammation and causes severe pain, it may be necessary to drain the inflammation by making a small incision (paracentesis) in the eardrum. After this procedure, the eardrum usually heals within a week. Parents often worry about permanent hearing loss. If it is treated appropriately and the drugs are used in the recommended dose and time, the probability of permanent hearing loss is very low.

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