Otitis media is an inflammation of the middle ear. What we used to call the ear is only the outer ear, which consists of the auricle, the external auditory meatus and the tympanic membrane, which separates it from the middle ear. The middle ear is a tiny cavity that houses a bony mechanism designed to transmit sound waves to the inner ear, which converts the sound waves into nerve impulses to the brain. Otitis is one of the causes of partial hearing loss, in the worst case, complete hearing loss.

Symptoms of otitis media

Ear pain, purulent discharge from the ear canal, and high fever are symptoms of acute suppurative otitis media, inflammation of the middle ear. Usually the disease begins with pain that can be described as shooting (children who have not yet learned to speak cry at the moment when the pain increases sharply, and calm down when it subsides). The temperature rises, and after 1-3 days pus is released from the ear. Usually, with all this, the patient’s condition improves, the temperature decreases, the pain subsides somewhat or disappears completely. The outflow of pus is associated with its breakthrough through the eardrum. This is a favorable development of the process, against the background of the treatment, the hole in the membrane overgrows, hearing does not suffer. However, this does not always happen as described. Pus sometimes does not find a way out, which is fraught with the spread of infection inside, into the cranial cavity. Can develop meningitis, brain abscess. That is why, when the first symptoms of otitis appear, you will need to quickly contact an ENT doctor (otolaryngologist) in order to start treatment on time.

It should be remembered that self-medication leads to deafness.

Treatment of otitis media

The treatment of otitis is complex, therefore, it should be carried out strictly under the supervision of a doctor, since self-medication is usually ineffective and leads to complications. If you do not contact a specialist in time, the infection from the ear spreads into the cranial cavity, which is fraught with terrible consequences, up to death. Treatment of otitis media can only be prescribed by a doctor, after confirming the diagnosis and excluding other ENT diseases. The diagnosis of “otitis” is made by the doctor on the basis of the patient’s complaints, otoscopy (examination of the ear with the help of special instruments). Only a specialist can distinguish inflammation of the middle ear from other diseases that have a similar clinical picture and prescribe adequate treatment.

The essence of the treatment of otitis media is to comply with bed rest, and if there is a suspicion of the onset of complications, the patient is urgently hospitalized. It is necessary to follow a certain diet: food must be easily digestible, rich in minerals and vitamins. But most importantly, the doctor prescribes medications, depending on the clinical situation. If otitis media is a complication of rhinitis, sinusitis, then vasoconstrictor products are used in the form of nasal drops. At the same time, it is forbidden to blow your nose strongly and swallow the contents (because the infection penetrates from the nasopharynx into the auditory tube, and then into the middle ear cavity, which increases the recovery period).

The consequences of otitis media 

The consequences of neglected or untreated otitis media are hearing loss. And also, many people do not know that strong noise kills sensory hair cells, which, after death, do not recover in the same way as any other nerve cells. A powerful sound impulse near the ear, for example, a toy gun or the explosion of a New Year’s firecracker, can permanently lead to deafness. Even more insidious is the prolonged noise that people are exposed to, for example, in the workplace. If you do not use hearing protection preparations, then after a while, slowly and completely imperceptibly, a person will develop occupational hearing loss or deafness.

Hearing loss traditionally develops slowly and gradually, and most importantly – painlessly, so that at first it is barely noticeable. High-frequency sounds, such as birdsong, disappear first. It begins to seem to a person that other people are speaking unintelligibly, especially if there is a lot of noise within. He often asks to repeat what was said, and tries to turn on the radio and TV louder. At the same time, he explains his condition by fatigue or other reasons. Therefore, the first hearing loss in a person is traditionally noticed by others. With progressive hearing loss, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a conversation. A person begins to be ashamed of not understanding what has been said. He avoids meeting people, loses interest in active activities, he may develop depression.

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