Otitis Media (with Effusion) | Overview

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What is otitis media?

Otitis media is a generic term that refers to an inflammation of the middle ear without indicating a specific cause or origin of the condition. Specific otitis media conditions affecting the middle ear include acute otitis media and otitis media with effusion.

What is otitis media with effusion?

Otitis media with effusion means that there is fluid (effusion) in the middle ear. This can happen due to middle ear infection or just from eustachian tube dysfunction without infection. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum. Fluid in the middle ear can have few symptoms, especially if it develops slowly. It almost always goes away on its own in a few weeks to a few months. So, this kind of ear problem doesn't usually need to be treated with antibiotics, unless it is caused by a painful infection or the fluid doesn't go away.

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Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/16
Created: 01/99

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Otitis Media (with Effusion)

Overview

Symptoms

Causes & Risk Factors

Treatment