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YOUR PROBLEMS: Dear Miriam.

Byline: Miriam Stoppard

CAN you tell me about otitis media? Does it affect hearing and can it be cured by drops?

VCHILDREN are particularly susceptible as they're built on a small scale, so their ears, throat, nose and sinuses are closely connected.

An infected throat can easily infect the ears. Then the middle ear - the cavity behind the eardrum and before the inner ear - gets inflamed.

First symptom is usually earache, which may be accompanied by a feeling of fullness in the ear, deafness and fever. Without treatment, the eardrum may even burst but will usually heal in a short time. Otitis media may become chronic (long-lasting) and a child may develop glue ear, when a lot of mucus collects in the middle ear because it's prevented from draining.

And chronic otitis media may lead to deafness, speech problems and learning difficulties.

Acute otitis media usually responds to antibiotics by mouth and is soothed by painkillers. In children, the underlying glue ear is treated by draining the middle ear with grommets, which drop out of their own accord in six months or so. Antibiotic ear drops are never the first line of treatment.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2002
Words:193
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