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Related Information


Ear anatomy
Ear anatomy


Medical findings based on ear anatomy
Medical findings based on ear anatomy


Middle ear infection (otitis media)
Middle ear infection (otitis media)


Otitis

Definition:

Otitis is a general term for infection or inflammation of the ear.



Alternative Names:

Ear infection; Infection - ear



Causes:

Otitis can affect the inner or outer parts of the ear. The condition is classified according to whether it occurs suddenly and for a short time (acute) or repeatedly over a long period of time (chronic).

  • Otitis externa (swimmer's ear). Involves the outer ear and ear canal. A more severe form can spread into the bones and cartilage around the ear.
  • Otitis media (ear infection). Involves the middle ear, which is located just behind the eardrum.
  • Acute ear infection . Starts suddenly and lasts for a short period of time. It is often painful.
  • Chronic ear infection . Occurs when the ear infection does not go away or keeps coming back. It may cause long-term damage to the ear.
  • Otitis media with effusion . Occurs when there is thick or sticky fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear, but there is no ear infection.


References:

Pier GB. Pseudomonas and related gram-negative bacillary infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 314.




Review Date: 8/30/2014
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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