Otitis is an inflammation of the ear. Since the anatomical ear is divided into an outer ear, middle ear and inner ear, the inflammation can affect each part of it. It is subdivided into Otitis externa (external otitis), which involves the outer ear and ear canal; Otitis media, which involves the middle ear; Otitis interna (labyrinthitis), which involves the inner ear.
When infection occurs, the condition is called acute otitis media. Acute otitis media occurs when a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection, and the presence of bacteria or viruses lead to the accumulation of pus and mucus behind the eardrum, blocking the Eustachian tube. This causes earache and swelling.
Signs and symptoms of Otitis in children include:
– Ear pain, especially when lying down.
– Tugging or pulling at an ear.
– Difficulty sleeping.
– Crying more than usual.
– Acting more irritable than usual.
– Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds.
– Loss of balance.
– Fever of 38 degrees Celsius or higher.
In older children and adults, symptoms include earache, hearing problems, fullness or pressure in the ear, fever, drainage from the ear, dizziness and loss of balance, and nausea or vomiting.
Symptoms without pain or fever can also mean that there’s fluid in the ear and should be looked into.