Otitis Media- Middle Ear Infection : Causes

Diagnosis

The doctor will examine the ear using an instrument called an otoscope. A healthy eardrum is pinkish-gray in color and translucent. If infection is present, the eardrum may be inflamed, swollen or red. The eardrum may bulge out or retract inward, or it may show openings (perforation).

Another useful diagnostic tool is tympanometry, a test that uses sound and air pressure to check for fluid in the middle ear. An audiogram tests if hearing loss has occurred by presenting tones at various pitches.

Treatment

Most of the time, otitis media clears up with proper medication and home treatment. Antibiotics are given to combat infection. Antihistamines are prescribed for allergies.

Analgesic ear drops can ease the pain of an earache. Warmth to the ears (using warm cloths or warm water bottles, for example) may relieve pain.

Oral osteroid tablets may occasionally be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Decongestants are given to relieve cold. Paracetamol is given for fever.

An operation, called a myringotomy may be recommended for some patients. This involves a small surgical incision (opening) into the eardrum to promote drainage of fluid and to relieve pain.

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