Middle ear infection - chronic; Otitis media - chronic; Chronic otitis media; Chronic ear infection
A chronic, long-term infection in the ear may have less severe symptoms than an acute infection. It may go unnoticed and untreated for a long time.
- Ear pain or discomfort,
- Usually mild
- May feel like pressure in the ear
drainage from the ear Hearing loss
Note: Symptoms may be continuous or come and go, and may occur in one or both ears.
Signs and tests
An examination of the ear may show:
- Air bubbles
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Draining fluid from the eardrum
- A hole (perforation) in the eardrum
- The eardrum bulges out or pulls back inward
Tests may include:
- Cultures of the fluid may show bacteria, and these bacteria may be resistant or harder to treat than the bacteria commonly involved in an acute ear infection.
Skull x-raysor a CT scan of the heador mastoids may show that the infection has spread beyond the middle ear.
- Hearing tests may be needed.
Review Date: 04/26/2010
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.