What is the diagnosis of Middle Ear Infection Otitis Media?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Mar 01, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Tympanometry is done to examine the movement of the eardrum.
  • Acoustic reflectometry is done to measure fluids in the middle ear.
  • Tympanocentesis is done to check for the infectious agents in the fluid.
  • The treatment of the middle ear infection depends on the symptoms.

Middle ear infections, also referred to as otitis media, can occur when congestion from an allergy or cold blocks the Eustachian tube. Fluid and pressure build up travel up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear and may cause an ear infection. Middle ear infections can also cause a hole (perforation) in the eardrum or spread to nearby areas, such as the mastoid bone.


middle ear infections


For diagnosis, your doctor will ask you if there is ear pain, any discharge from the ear and fever. They will use otoscope to check for redness and bulging of the eardrum. Furthermore, they will check eardrum is moving normally by blowing a puff of air through the otoscope. The eardrums may not move if they are too stiff or if there is fluid behind them. Doctor will also do a hearing test called an audiogram to check for hearing problems or a test called a tympanogram that measures how the eardrum moves.



The test measures the movement of the eardrum. It is done with the help of a device that seals off the ear canal, adjusts air pressure in the canal, thereby causing the eardrum to move. The test suggests how well the eardrum moves and gives you a measure of pressure within the middle ear.


Acoustic reflectometry

This test reveals the measure of fluids in the middle ear. The professional checks for the pressure there is from fluid in the middle ear.



This is done to look for the infectious agents in the fluid. Tympanocentesis is usually done when an infection hasn't responded well to previous treatments. In this test, doctor use a tiny tube that pierces the eardrum to drain fluid from the middle ear.


The treatment of the middle ear infection depends on the symptoms and what is the underlying cause of infection. In most cases, the infections go away without any medical intervention. Antibiotics can be are prescribed to those with the severe symptoms or if need be. Besides, a decongestant or antihistamine will be prescribed to decrease swelling in the area of the Eustachian tube. Sometimes infections or those that do not respond to treatment, a tube may need to be inserted through the eardrum. If adenoids enlarge or there are tonsils cause recurrent or persistent infections, you need to see a specialist for surgery.



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