Otitis Media in Tarzana

Otitis Media - Marc Cohen M.D, Tarzana Surgeon

Otitis Media

Otitis media (OM) is one type of ear infection that affects the middle ear, or the region behind the eardrum. It is common among children. There are several kinds of OM, including:

  • Acute otitis media (AOM) - associated with rapid onset of disease. Symptoms include headache, fever, loss of appetite, irritability, otorrhea, otalgia, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Adhesive OM - caused by the retraction of the eardrum into the middle ear space
  • Chronic suppurative OM - a persistent ear infection that causes the eardrum to tear
  • OM with effusion (OME) - usually follows AOM, and is associated with vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and otalgia

Diagnosis and Treatment

OM mostly affects children, causing them to react differently depending on their age:

  • Complains of pain in the ear - for bigger kids
  • Restlessness and intense crying - for infants

If Dr. Cohen suspects that your child has OM, he will:

  • Perform a pneumatic otoscopy to look inside the ear - use an otoscope to check for swelling, redness, blood, pus, fluid, air bubbles, or perforated eardrum
  • Examine the external ear and tympanic membrane (tympanometry test) - use a special instrument to measure air pressure in the ear and check for a ruptured eardrum
  • Perform a reflectometry test - use a small device to make sounds near the ear to check for any fluids in the ear (based on the echo)
  • Assess the entire head and neck region.

The condition should improve on its own by simply applying a warm, damp washcloth over the infected ear. Otherwise, Dr. Cohen may prescribe antibiotics and OTC pain relievers or ear drops for pain relief. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove infected or enlarged adenoids that cause recurrent ear infections, or to insert tiny tubes to drain fluids from the middle ear.