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Otitis media with effusion in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Otitis media with effusion in Adult

Contributors: Ted Ryser MD, Paul C. Bryson MD, MBA
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Serous otitis media, or otitis media with effusion (OME), is when fluid builds up behind the tympanic membrane without the presence of an acute infection. This buildup is caused by negative pressure in the middle ear as a result of the eustachian tube being blocked or closed for extended periods of time. It may be related to acute otitis media, an allergic reaction, a respiratory infection, or it may occur by itself.

OME is most prevalent in young children.

Symptoms – Increased hearing loss (especially higher frequencies), feeling of moisture in ear, tinnitus. Ear pain is not usually present but may occur during rapid pressure changes.

Signs – Early on, clear fluid with possible bubbles seen behind the tympanic membrane. Over time the tympanic membrane develops a duller appearance.

Predisposing medical history – Recurrent episodes or recent episode of acute otitis media.


H65.90 – Unspecified nonsuppurative otitis media, unspecified ear

27049007 – Acute otitis media with effusion
78868004 – Chronic mucoid otitis media

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Last Updated:10/27/2015
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Otitis media with effusion in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Otitis media with effusion : Hearing loss, Otalgia, Otorrhea, Aural fullness
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