Get answers to your child's growth, nutrition, and feeding behavior questions.
OME; Secretory otitis media; Serous otitis media; Silent otitis media; Silent ear infection; Glue ear
Unlike children with an ear infection, children with OME do not act sick.
OME often does not have obvious symptoms.
Older children and adults often complain of muffled hearing or a sense of fullness in the ear. Younger children may turn up the television volume because of hearing loss.
The health care provider may find OME while checking a child's ears after an ear infection has been treated.
OME may also be diagnosed when the health care provider examines the ear for another reason, such as at a well-child physical.
The health care provider will look for certain changes when examining the eardrum:
A test called tympanometry is a more accurate tool for diagnosing OME. The results of this test can help tell the amount and thickness of the fluid.
An acoustic otoscope or reflectometer is a more portable device that accurately detects the presence of fluid in the middle ear.
An audiometer or some other type of formal hearing test may help the health care provider decide what treatment is needed.
American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery; American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Otitis Media With Effusion. Otitis media with effusion. Pediatrics. 2004;113:1412-1429.
Paradise JL, Feldman HM, Campbell TF, Dollaghan CA, Rockette HE, Pitcairn DL, et al. Tympanostomy tubes and developmental outcomes at 9 to 11 years of age. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:248-261.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885