Middle Ear Infections
Are infections that are behind the ear drum.
The space behind the eardrum is supposed to be dry and all air.
But sometimes infection or phelgm can reach this space via the Auditory tube (Eustachian tube) which connects to the back of the nose.
Acute otitis media (AOM)
Fast and furious and very painful infections. These happen within a short period of time, normally associated with a fever and severe ear pain. They happen quite frequently in children and are easily missed. Other symptoms can include:
- general crankiness like crying, irritability, cannot sleep,
- ear pain with rubbing of the ears and pulling of the ears,
- older children usually can describe a full feeling and blocked feeling in the ears
- hearing loss
- blood or yellowish stuff coming out of the ears
Otitis media with effusion (OME)
The other related terms are middle ear effusion (MEE) or chronic otitis media (COM) or serous otitis media. For simplicity sake, you can take all of them to mean pretty much the same thing which translates to english as “fluid behind the eardrum”.
These conditions are easier to miss but also very common. Some of the symptoms are similar to those above but are generally slower onset and more subtle.
The patient might notice the following symptoms:
- fullness or pressure in the ears
- popping sound like bubble wrap sound especially when going up and down the lifts
- hearing loss and blocked feeling
A lot of patients come to us thinking they have earwax, but might actually have this.
It takes a long time to learn to use the otoscope (the device doctors use to see inside your ears) and even longer to recognise how a normal eardrum looks like let alone one that is sick.
We have collected a lot of eardrums to help our future colleagues better recognise these conditions.
|Zenith Collections of Middle Ear Infections|
|Acute Otitis Media|
Ouch this looks painful!
Ouch this looks very painful too!
The left side for comparison
|Otitis Media with effusion|
The right side
The left side
A child's ear, easy to miss diagnosis unless the doctor looks into the ears.
If the doctor doesn't take a second look, he might miss this.
Notice the scar from a healing ear drum hole (healing perforation)
Left ear also has an effusion
Notice the pus/fluid level at the bottom
Normal left ear for comparison