An ear infection (acute otitis media) is most often a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.Ear infections frequently are painful because of inflammation and buildup of fluids in the middle ear. Because ear infections often clear up on their own, treatment may begin with managing pain and monitoring the problem. A middle ear infection, also called otitis, occurs when the area behind the eardrum becomes inflamed as a result of a bacteria or virus.
The condition is most common in children. here are several subtypes of OM, as follows:
• Acute otitis media (AOM)
• Otitis media with effusion (OME)
• Chronic suppurative otitis media
• Adhesive otitis media
Symptoms that may be indicative of OME include the following:
• Hearing loss
Chronic suppurative otitis media is a persistent ear infection that results in tearing or perforation of the eardrum. OME does not benefit from antibiotic treatment. Therefore, it is critical for clinicians to be able to distinguish normal middle ear status from OME or AOM. Pneumatic otoscopy remains the standard examination technique for patients with suspected OM. In addition to a carefully documented examination of the external ear and tympanic membrane (TM), examining the entire head and neck region of patients with suspected OM is important. Antibiotics should be prescribed for bilateral or unilateral AOM in children aged at least 6 months with severe signs or symptoms. Amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice unless the child received it within 30 days, has concurrent purulent conjunctivitis, or is allergic to penicillin; in these cases, clinicians should prescribe an antibiotic with additional beta-lactamase coverage.
OM, the most common specifically treated childhood disease, accounts for approximately 20 million annual physician visits. Various epidemiologic studies report the prevalence rate of AOM to be 17-20% within the first 2 years of life, and 90% of children have at least one documented MEE by age 2 years. OM is a recurrent disease. One third of children experience six or more episodes of AOM by age 7 years. In less developed nations, OM is extremely common and remains a major contributor to childhood mortality resulting from late-presenting intracranial complications.