Otitis Media- Acute and Chronic Form
Otitis media is an inflammation of the middle ear and its structures. Middle ear is a part of the ear located between the eardrum and inner ear. Middle ear is normally filled with air. However, in case of infections this space gets filled with fluids or mucus. Otitis media can be classified into acute and chronic. Acute form of the disease develops rapidly and chronic form occurs due the recurrence of the infection of the middle ear. The problem of chronic otitis media is that the patient may not notice any of the symptoms and the disease is, therefore, not treated properly. Chronic otitis media can cause permanent and serious damage to the inner ear.
Complications of Otitis MediaHearing ProblemsIf otitis media is not diagnosed and in case of improper treatment, it can cause irreversible damage to the hearing. The infection can spread from the middle ear and affect inner ear. In extreme cases a disease may affect brain and cranial nerves. The loss of hearing can be and most commonly is a consequence of fluid accumulation in the middle ear.
If the disease is chronic and the child is suffering from occasional re-infections he/she may also face difficulties with speech and language development.Recurrent Acute Otitis MediaAcute otitis media is classified as recurrent if a person has suffered from this infection more than three times within period of six months. Additionally, all the people who have experienced acute otitis media four times in a year are suffering from recurrent acute otitis media.
After the inflammation has healed the reappearance of the infection most commonly occurs after a few weeks. Some people are more prone to the recurrence of acute otitis media. If the disease has affected a child younger than six months he/ she will most probably suffer from additional attack. Children who are in daycare also suffer from the recurrence of the disease comparing to other children. And, craniofacial abnormalities as well as the presence of adenoids contribute to the recurrence of the disease.
The therapy includes painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Aspirin must not be administered to children under the age of 16 because of the potential Reye's syndrome.Chronic Suppurative Otitis MediaThis complication is not so common. The condition mostly develops due to the persistent discharge from the middle ear. This period includes two weeks or more. Infection of the middle ear can also affect tympanic membrane and lead to its perforation. The hearing will be temporarily lost until the membrane heals. Still, if the membrane does not heal properly the loss of hearing can lead to even more problems such as difficulties with speech or language.
Chronic otitis media can be a cause of mastoiditis, meningitis and cerebral abscess formation.
Chronic otitis media is treated with high doses of antibiotics. During the treatment the ear must be kept dry.