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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.