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Otitis media is an insidious disease. There are few symptoms of wet otitis, and those that appear can be easily overlooked, with potentially serious consequences. This is because wet otitis can lead to permanent hearing loss. What are the causes and symptoms of exudative otitis media? How is the treatment going?

Exudative otitis(OME) is an inflammatory disease of the middle ear in which fluid accumulates in the tympanic cavity - the part of the middle ear that is limited externally by the tympanic membrane and on the inner side with the bony wall of the inner ear.

There are 3 forms of exudative otitis:

  • hot, which lasts less than 10 days
  • subacute (lasts more than 10 days but less than 3 months)
  • chronic, which lasts more than 3 months.

Exudative otitismost often affects children between 6 months and 5 years of age.

Erratic otitis - causes

Wet otitisis closely related to obstruction of the Eustachian tube. A number of diseases can contribute to its dysfunction:

  • hypertrophy of the pharyngeal tonsil (third tonsil) and palatine tonsils;
  • oesopharyngeal reflux;
  • history of acute otitis media;
  • allergy;
  • craniofacial abnormalities (e.g. bent septum of the nose);
  • frequent infections of the upper respiratory tract;
  • diseases that impede the removal of mucus or lead to its excessive production: bronchial asthma, immobile cilia or cystic fibrosis;
  • chronic paranasal sinusitis;
  • cleft palate;
  • nasal polyps;

Additionally, in adults, the causes of Eustachian tube dysfunction, and then exudative otitis, may include: nasopharyngeal tumor, irradiation of head and neck tissues and barotrauma (sudden barotrauma).

Effusive otitis - symptoms

The most insidious course is the chronic form of exudative otitis, as it does not produce the typical symptoms of inflammation, such as e.g. earache or fever. In addition, other symptoms that appear: pressure in the ears, a feeling of fullness, "water" in the ears, and tinnitus are hardly noticeable. FROMin turn, hearing loss (usually bilateral) grows very slowly. In other forms of the disease, these symptoms are more intense. In some cases of acute infection, pain may even appear.

Symptoms of exudative otitis are the most difficult to spot in the youngest. In the course of the disease, there is no fever or earache - a symptom that prompts the child to say that there is something wrong with him. Therefore, parents should carefully observe their children. Their attention should be drawn to loud listening to music by the child, setting up the TV set, asking to repeat the statements addressed to him.

Diagnosis of exudative otitis media

The "gold standard" in the diagnosis of exudative otitis is pneumatic otoscopy (there is a thickening of the tympanic membrane, a changed color of the membrane - yellow, brown or gray-pink, there is fluid in its cavity) and tympanometry, i.e. an examination, which measures the reflection of a sound wave from the eardrum during a change in pressure in the external ear canal. In addition, in order to diagnose the disease, you can perform tonal audiometry (the purpose of the test is to assess the hearing threshold).

Wet otitis - treatment

Wet otitisusually resolves spontaneously within 3 months. Otherwise, the patient may be given mucolytic drugs (which dilute the fluid remaining in the ear), anti-inflammatory drugs, decongestants in the form of nasal drops or inhalation. Antibiotics can be ordered when indicated.

If the above methods are not effective despite several months of use, paracentesis (myringotomy) is performed - a procedure that involves puncturing the tympanic membrane to suck out the secretion from its cavity and inserting a ventilation drain.


Effluent otitis - complications

Accumulated fluid often causes the bobbin to burst. Then the residual fluid escapes, which leads to even more damage to the ear. In addition, perforation of the tympanic membrane can lead to the development of cholesteatoma. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to permanent hearing impairment. It is especially dangerous in children as it can lead to impaired speech development.

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