Otitis media history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Luke Rusowicz-Orazem, B.S.


The most common symptoms of all classifications of otitis media are ear pain and feelings of "fullness" in the ear due to fluid buildup in the eustachian tube. These are usually accompanied by ear fluid discharge, as well as partial loss of hearing. Common cold symptoms, including cough, nasal discharge, and fever, usually accompany acute otitis media. Symptoms of chronic otitis media with effusion usually include neurological conditions, such as irritability, poor physical coordination, and delayed speech development and poor attention span in infants and young children. History of smoking, allergies, having an occupation with exposure to air pollution, attending day care, and having a family history of ear infections can be indicative of and should be considered when diagnosing otitis media.


History of the following should be considered for otitis media patients:[1]


Symptoms of otitis media include the following:[1]

  • Ear pain: caused by pressure buildup in the eustachian tube.
  • Feeling of "fullness" in the ear.
  • For acute otitis media, Common cold symptoms accompanying the causative pathogen are common:
  • Fluid discharge in the ear.
  • Partial loss of hearing.
  • Irritability (in infants).
  • Neurological symptoms from chronic otitis media with effusion:[3]
    • Poor attention span.
    • Delayed speech development.
    • Clumsiness.
    • Poor balance.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Ear infection - acute: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia".
  2. Lowy, Franklin D.; Zhang, Yan; Xu, Min; Zhang, Jin; Zeng, Lingxia; Wang, Yanfei; Zheng, Qing Yin (2014). "Risk Factors for Chronic and Recurrent Otitis Media–A Meta-Analysis". PLoS ONE. 9 (1): e86397. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086397. ISSN 1932-6203.
  3. Qureishi A, Lee Y, Belfield K, Birchall JP, Daniel M (2014). "Update on otitis media - prevention and treatment". Infect Drug Resist. 7: 15–24. doi:10.2147/IDR.S39637. PMC 3894142. PMID 24453496.

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