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Middle ear fluid (also known as otitis media with effusion) is the presence of fluid in the middle ear without& signs or symptoms of an ear infection. Ear fluid occurs in the middle ear and is not caused by swimming and bathing. Ear fluid can be caused by a cold, ear infection, everyday nasal congestion, Eustachian tube dysfunction or may even be unknown in origin.
An ear infection (also known as acute otitis media) is an active infection that often presents with symptoms (such as ear pain, fever, inflammation) and requires medical treatment.
Approximately 90% of children have ear fluid before they reach school age; however, it often goes undetected.
After an ear infection has cleared, many kids will have fluid that can remain for weeks at a time and can sometimes become re-infected.
Many times your child may show no signs or symptoms.
The first step is to see a pediatrician.
If your child fails a hearing screening at the pediatrician’s office and/or school, they may be referred to an audiologist.
If fluid is present for more than three months and does not go away on its own, this is usually considered a chronic problem and you should ask for a referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.
Abo el-Magd, E. , Elsayed Yousef, Y. , El-Asheerr, O. and M. Sobhy, K. (2015) Risk Factors of Otitis Media with Effusion in Children.International Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery 4, 303-308. doi:10.4236/ijohns.2015.44052.
Rosenfeld, R. M., Shin, J. J., Schwartz, S. R., Coggins, R., Gagnon, L., Hackell, J. M., … Corrigan, M. D. (2016). Clinical Practice Guideline: Otitis Media with Effusion (Update).Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery,154(1_suppl), S1–S41. https://doi.org/10.1177/0194599815623467