Otitis Media with Effusion (OME): Kids vs. Adults
Otitis media with effusion is a medical condition wherein the fluid from the ears are drained at the back area of the throat. This health condition affects both adult and pediatric patients. It is prevalent in children ages 10 and below. The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality supports this claim by stating that the medical condition occurs at least once in 90% of kids before they reach the age of 10.
What Are the Risk Factors of Otitis Media With Effusion?
Many children suffers from this condition primarily because their eustachian tubes are shorter. The shape of their tubes makes kids vulnerable to otitis media with effusion as well as other ear infections.
In addition to being shorter, the eustachian tubes in children are more horizontally positioned when compared with what is present in adults. The positioning makes it hard for the fluid to get out of the middle ear.
What Are the Usual Causes of the Medical Condition?
There are several factors that can result to otitis media with effusion in kids as well as in adults. Air irritants, allergies and respiratory infections are among them. Air pressure changes are also among the common causes of this medical condition.
How Will We Know If Your Kids Or You Are Suffering From Otitis Media With Effusion?
It is possible that some kids with this medical condition don’t feel any symptom. Some symptoms are mild and unnoticeable. However, changes in the behavior are among the things that indicate the medical condition. Hearing problems or hearing muffled sound are something that adults or older kids may complain about.
How Do We Diagnose Otitis Media With Effusion?
Patients who have symptoms of otitis media with effusion should seek help from medical professionals. Doctors will use an otoscope to confirm their condition. An otoscope is a medical tool that comes with a magnifying glass so doctors can have a better look of what are inside the ear.
Among the things that medical professionals will be looking for are an unusually shiny and smooth eardrum and air bubbles that are just at the visible portion of the eardrum. Patients with this condition will also have fluid at the back of their eardrum. Above all, doctors can confirm the condition if the patient’s eardrum has not moved even by just a little.
Using an otoscope is just one of the effective way. Another method to diagnose otitis media with effusion in adults and kids is through the use of tympanometry. This happens when a physician gets a probe inside the ear. The probe is important to assess the volume of fluid at the back of the eardrum.
If the usual otoscope or tympanometry don’t work then an acoustic otoscope may be helpful. This medical tool will be helpful to confirm any signs of fluid in the patient’s middle ear.
What Are the Effective Ways to Prevent Otitis Media With Effusion?
The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania reports that otitis media with effusion is prevalent during the winter or fall. There are some effective techniques that we can try to prevent ourselves and our kids from suffering from this medical condition. Here are the ways to prevent otitis media with effusion.
Regular and proper hand washing is important to avoid having ear infections that can result to the condition. Avoiding polluted areas as well as those filled with cigarette smoke are essential as they can lead to troubles in our ear drainage.
Many experts also recommend air filter use so we can avoid encounters from allergens. Above all, breastfeeding in babies is helpful as it boosts their immunity and protects them from future ear infections.
To further lower the odds of having this condition, it is also advantageous to take flu vaccines and pneumonia vaccines. Following correct antibiotic dosage and frequency are also necessary to manage this medical condition.
Are Otitis Media With Effusion Have Some Sort of Complications?
The answer to this question is a big yes. This happens if otitis media with effusion becomes frequent. Complications may also arise if ear infections accompany the occurrence of otitis media with effusion.
Middle ear cysts or cholesteatoma is just one of the most complications of the medical condition. Other complications include eardrum scarring, language delay, hearing loss, ear damage and acute infections in the middle ear.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Otitis Media With Effusion?
The medical condition is common to adults and children. It won’t lead to long-term damage in most cases. Yet, parents should observe the frequency of the recurrence of the condition as these can signal further or underlying hearing and language problems in patients.
What Are the Common Treatment Options for Patients with Otitis Media with Effusion?
In many young patients, treatment is not important as otitis media with effusion usually go away on its own. However, if the medical condition is bothering the patient too much, then it is about time to try some treatments.
You may want to consider some natural remedies or alternative treatments for patients. This way we can save them from possible side effects of strong medications. The use n-acetylcysteine or NAC supplement is helpful. There will also no problems with its availability as it can easily be bought in local health food retailers.
You may also want to try the plantain and eyebright herbs to make the treatment more effective. These herbs can speed up their recovery when given along with NAC supplement. This is because the herbs can open up the sinus and ear passages. However, as a warning, the herbs may only work for patients above three years of age.
As for the conventional treatments from doctors or other medical professionals, the use of ear tubes is helpful to both young and adult patients as these remove the fluid at the back of the ears. Getting adenoids out of the ear is also important as this treatment option can promote ear fluid drainage. Above all, if these treatments have been ineffective, patients may undergo surgery.