Friday, November 21, 2014

Otitis media - chronic

Table of Contents

Alternative Names

Middle ear infection - chronic; Otitis media - chronic; Chronic otitis media; Chronic ear infection


Symptoms

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.

Symptoms include:

  • Ear pain or discomfort, earache
    • Usually mild
    • May feel like pressure in the ear
  • Fever
  • Fussiness
  • Pus-like 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:

  • Dullness
  • Redness
  • 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-rays or a CT scan of the head or 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.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)