What is OME?
OME is a collection of non-infected fluid in the middle ear space. It is also called serous or Secretory Otitis Media (SOM).
OME is usually a result of poor function of the eustachian tube, the canal that links the middle ear with the throat area. The eustachian tube helps to equalize the pressure between the air around you and the middle ear.
Some reasons the Eustachian tube may not work properly include:
While any child may develop OME, the following are some of the factors that may increase your child's risk of developing OME:
Signs and symptoms
Common symptoms include:
Testing and diagnosis
If you suspect your child may have OME, you should schedule an appointment with your otolaryngologist.
Treatment for OME depends on many factors and is tailored for each child.
Myringotomy and Ventilation Tubes
If your child has OME that persists more than 3 months or hearing associated with the fluid may be affecting speech development or school performance, your child’s physician may suggest ear tubes (Myringotomy tubes) to be placed in the ear(s) through a surgical procedure called Myringotomy.
This surgical procedure involves making a small opening in the eardrum to drain the fluid and relieve the pressure from the middle ear. A small tube is placed in the opening of the eardrum to allow air to enter (ventilate) the middle ear and to prevent fluid from accumulating. The child's hearing is restored after the fluid is drained. The tubes usually fall out on their own after six to twelve months.
If your child's Adenoids are infected, your child's physician may recommend the removal of the Adenoids (lymph tissue located in the space above the soft roof of the mouth, also called the nasopharynx). Removal of the adenoids has been shown to help some children with OME.
Most children with OME will recover quickly and have no long-term effects of the disorder. If your child had ear tubes inserted or surgery for removal of her Adenoids, she will need ongoing monitoring to ensure proper recovery.