Otitis media with effusion (OME) is thick or sticky fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear. It occurs without an ear infection.
Otitis Media With Effusion also known as OME; Secretory otitis media; Serous otitis media; Silent otitis media; Silent ear infection; Glue ear.
Causes of OME
The Eustachian tube connects the within the ear to the back of the throat. This tube assists drain fluid to avoid it from building up in the ear. The fluid drains pipes from tube and is swallowed.
Otitis media with effusion (OME) and ear infections are connected in two methods:
- After the majority of ear infections have actually been dealt with, fluid (an effusion) stays in the center ear for a couple of days or weeks.
- When the Eustachian tube is partially obstructed, fluid develops in the middle ear. Bacteria inside the ear end up being trapped and begin to grow. This may lead to an ear infection.
The following can cause swelling of the Eustachian tube lining that causes increased fluid:
- Irritants (specifically cigarette smoke).
- Respiratory infections.
The following can cause the Eustachian tube to close or end up being obstructed:
- Consuming while pushing your back.
- Unexpected increases in air pressure (such as descending in an aircraft or on a mountain road).
Getting water in a baby’s ears will not lead to a blocked tube.
OME is most typical in winter or early spring, however it can happen at any time of year. It can impact people of any age. It occurs usually in children under age 2, however is uncommon in newborns.
Younger children get OME more frequently than older children or grownups for a number of factors:
- Tube is shorter, more horizontal, and straighter, making it easier for bacteria to go into.
- Tube is floppier, with a tinier opening that’s simple to obstruct.
- Kids get more colds since it requires time for the body immune system to be able to acknowledge and fend off cold infections.
The fluid in OME is typically thin and watery. In the past, it was believed that the fluid got thicker the longer it existed in the ear. (” Glue ear” is a typical name offered to OME with thick fluid.) However, fluid thickness is now believed to be connected to the ear itself, rather than to for how long the fluid is present.
Symptoms of Otitis Media With Effusion
Unlike children with an ear infection, children with OME do not act sick.
OME typically does not have apparent symptoms.
Older children and adults typically experience muffled hearing or a sense of fullness in the ear. More youthful children may show up the tv volume due to the fact that of hearing loss.
The doctor or nurse may discover OME while inspecting your child’s ears after an ear infection has been dealt with.
The doctor or nurse will examine the eardrum and try to find specific modifications, such as:.
- Air bubbles on the surface area of the eardrum.
- Dullness of the eardrum when a light is used.
- Eardrum that does not appear to move when little puffs of air are blown at it.
- Fluid behind the eardrum.
A test called tympanometry is a precise tool for diagnosing OME. The outcomes of this test can assist inform the amount and density of the fluid.
An acoustic otoscope or reflectometer is a portable device that accurately detects fluid in the middle ear.
An audiometer or other type of official hearing test might help the healthcare provider choose treatment.
Best Treatment for Otitis Media With Effusion
A lot of healthcare suppliers will not treat OME at first, unless there are likewise signs of an infection. Instead, they will recheck the problem in 2 to 3 months.
Some children who have had repeat ear infections may get a small, day-to-day dose of antibiotics to prevent new infections.
You can make the following changes to help clean up the fluid behind the eardrum:
- Prevent cigarette smoke.
- Encourage infants to breastfeed.
- Treat allergic reactions by staying away from triggers (such as dust). Grownups and older children might be given allergic reaction medications.
Frequently the fluid will clear by itself. You doctor might suggest enjoying the condition for a while to see if it is worsening before advising treatment.
If the fluid is still present after 6 weeks, the doctor may recommend:
- Continuing to watch the problem.
- A hearing test.
- A single trial of antibiotics (if they were not provided earlier).
If the fluid is still present at 8 to 12 weeks, antibiotics may be attempted. These medications are not always useful.
At some time, the child’s hearing should be evaluated.
If there is considerable hearing loss (more than 20 decibels), antibiotics or ear tubes may be required.
If the fluid is still present after 4 to 6 months, tubes are most likely needed, even if there is no major hearing loss.
In some cases the adenoids need to be taken out for the Eustachian tube to work properly.
Otitis media with effusion frequently goes away by itself over a few weeks or months. Treatment might accelerate this process. Glue ear might unclear up as rapidly as OME with a thinner fluid.
OME is frequently not life threatening. Most children do not have long-lasting damage to their hearing or speaking capability, even when the fluid stays for lots of months.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care company if:
- You believe you or your child may have otitis media with effusion. (You need to continue to enjoy the condition up until the fluid has actually vanished.)
- New symptoms establish during or after treatment for this disorder.
Prevention of Silent Ear Infection (Fluid Behind the Eardrum)
Helping your child reduce the risk of ear infections can assist prevent OME.