Otitis media is inflammation or infection located in the middle ear. Otitis media can occur as a result of a cold, sore throat, or respiratory infection.
How is otitis media diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, your child's health care provider will inspect the outer ear(s) and eardrum(s) using an otoscope. The otoscope is a lighted instrument that allows the health care provider to see inside the ear. A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to test eardrum movement.
Tympanometry is a test that can be performed in most health care providers' offices to help determine how the middle ear is functioning. It does not tell if the child is hearing or not, but helps to detect any changes in pressure in the middle ear. This is a difficult test to perform in younger children because the child needs to remain still and not cry, talk, or move.
A hearing test may be performed for those who have frequent ear infections.