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Otitis Media(Ear Infection) IN CHILDREN
Otitis Media is often difficult to detect in children as they may be unable to tell what is bothering them.
Common features of Otitis Media include:
- Muffled hearing
- Sensation of ear blockage or pressure
- Ear pain
- Ear discharge
- Unusual irritability
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Tugging, pulling or scratching one or both ears
- Unresponsiveness to quiet sounds
- Misunderstanding directions
- Sitting too close to the television
- Wanting the television or radio louder than usual
- Dizziness or loss of balance
On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. At times, middle ear fluid may be discovered incidentally during a routine check-up.
How does a child's physician diagnose Otitis Media?
Ear Infections require immediate attention by a pediatrician, primary care physician or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist). In addition, evaluation by an audiologist and a speech-language pathologist is important if a child has repeated episodes of infection and/or chronic fluid in the middle ear.
If otitis media is suspected, the child's ears are examined with an instrument called as otoscope to check for redness or fluid behind the eardrum. Another procedure called the Pneumatic otoscopy may be performed to check for middle ear fluid. During this procedure a puff of air is blown into the ear and movement of the eardrum is observed. An eardrum with fluid behind it does not move as well as an eardrum with air behind it. An audiogram or hearing test is performed to measure the degree of hearing loss.
Tympanometry measures eardrum motion and the middle ear pressure to determine how well the Eustachian tube is functioning.
An ear swab from the ear discharge may be taken to determine the infecting germ and to decide appropriate antibiotic.
In certain situations (where infection to the brain is suspected), a CT SCAN of the head may be helpful to determine if the infection has spread beyond the middle ear.
Last updated on 23-02-2001
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