The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum. Fluid in the middle ear can have few symptoms, especially if it develops slowly. It almost always goes away on its own in a few weeks to a few months. Otitis media with effusion is most common in young children, age 2 and under. But it can affect people of any age.
Overview of Serous Otitis Media (Fluid in the Ears)
Ear infection (middle ear) - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
Professional Reference articles are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Glue Ear article more useful, or one of our other health articles. Otitis media with effusion OME , also called glue ear, is characterised by a collection of fluid in the middle-ear cleft. OME is the most common cause of hearing impairment and the most common reason for elective surgery in childhood, where it usually follows an episode of acute otitis media AOM. It is uncommon in adults, in whom Eustachian tube dysfunction is the predominant cause and suspicious aetiologies should be considered. Most cases of OME will resolve spontaneously.
The auditory tube allows fluid to drain from the ear into the back of the throat. If the auditory tube becomes clogged, fluid will become trapped in the middle ear space. This fluid is called an effusion by your healthcare providers. In addition to ear infections, the common cold and allergies can often lead to fluid in the ear if inflammation or mucous prevent the auditory tube from draining.
Secretory otitis media is an effusion in the middle ear resulting from incomplete resolution of acute otitis media or obstruction of the eustachian tube without infection. Symptoms include hearing loss and a sense of fullness or pressure in the ear. Diagnosis is based on appearance of the tympanic membrane and sometimes on tympanometry. Most cases resolve in 2 to 3 weeks.