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.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms that may be indicative of OME include hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, otalgia. Chronic suppurative otitis media is a persistent ear infection that results in tearing or perforation of the eardrum.
Obstruction of the eustachian tube appears to be the most important antecedent event associated with AOM. The vast majority of AOM episodes are triggered by an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) involving the nasopharynx.
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. Peak prevalence of OM in both sexes occurs in children aged 6-18 months. Some studies show bimodal prevalence peaks; a second, lower peak occurs at age 4-5 years and corresponds with school entry