In simple words it can be termed as ‘ the accumulation of fluid in the ear.’ Due to the severed condition of the eustachian tubes, the canals are unable to flow the fluid in its normal, rhythmic manner. Children are prone to this more than adults as they have a shorter length of the tube and also the inclination of the tube is shallow, making it unfit for the proper flow of the fluid.
Congenital causes are most common reasons in children suffering from the symptoms of serous otitis media. They may be inflicted with repeated occurrence of common cold and allergies. Long standing durations of this disease may end up in the loss of hearing ability.
This disease is however, in most cases, asymptomatic. It can clearly go unnoticed, if the caretaker or the parents do not remain vigilant enough to the activities of their child. Another, way of detecting the disease can be made by the doctor during random physical check ups
To allow the free flow of the fluid, the doctor in severe cases may refer to a surgery. The surgery revolves around the criteria of removing the hurdles that are not letting the fluids flow normally. The doctor surgical fits an ear tube in such cases. He may also consider in checking the adenoids, if in any case, there is an enlargement to it. The swollen adenoids, thus, can be one of the reasons for the obstruction of the fluid. Adenoidectomy is then, performed and the child is made free from the disorder.
Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections for these reasons:
The eustachian tubes in young children are shorter and more horizontal. This shape encourages fluid to gather behind the eardrum. The immune system of children, which in the body’s infection-fighting system, is still developing. The adenoids in children are relatively larger than they are in adults. The adenoids are the small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. As they swell to fight infection, they may block the normal ear drainage from the eustachian tube into the throat. This blockage of fluid can lead to a middle ear infection.
Three tiny bones in the middle ear carry sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. When fluid is present, the vibrations are not transmitted efficiently and sound energy is lost. The result may be mild or even moderate hearing loss. Therefore, speech sounds are muffled or inaudible. Generally, this type of hearing loss is conductive and is temporary. However when otitis media occurs over and over again, damage to the eardrum, the bones of the ear, or even the hearing nerve can occur and cause a permanent, sensorineural hearing loss.
Ear infections are common in children. Adults can get them too. Most ear infections are not serious. Your healthcare provider will recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever. Pain relief may begin as soon as a few hours after taking the drug. Your healthcare provider may wait a few days before prescribing an antibiotic. Many infections go away on their own without the need for antibiotics. If you or your child receives an antibiotic, you should start to see improvement within two to three days.
Treatment of ear infections depends on age, severity of the infection, the nature of the infection (is the infection a first-time infection, ongoing infection or repeating infection) and if fluid remains in the middle ear for a long period of time.
Your healthcare provider will let you know when you need to return for a follow-up visit. At that visit, you or your child’s eardrum will be examined to be certain that the infection is going away. Your healthcare provider may also want to test you or your child's hearing. Follow-up exams are very important, especially if the infection has caused a hole in the eardrum.
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