Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Ear Infection Middle Ear Evaluation

The evaluation of otitis media begins with a history and physical exam.

Physical findings in someone with otitis media may include:

  • Findings during an ear exam:
    • Red, bulging eardrum
    • Fluid in the middle ear
    • Infected middle ear
    • Bullous myringitis
    • Normal eardrum
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus congestion
  • Fever

Usually, tests are not necessary to make the diagnosis of otitis media.

Tests that may be used to evaluate otitis media include:
  • Audiometry
  • Cultures of fluid from the middle ear
  • Complete blood count
  • Tympanocentesis:
    • Surgery to drain the middle ear
  • Tympanometry:
    • Tests the movement of the eardrum

Continue to Ear Infection Middle Ear Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ear Infection Middle Ear References
  1. Aronovitz GH. Antimicrobial therapy of acute otitis media: review of treatment recommendations. Clin Ther. 2000 Jan;22(1):29-39. [10688388]
  2. Asher E, Leibovitz E, Press J, Greenberg D, Bilenko N, Reuveni H. Accuracy of acute otitis media diagnosis in community and hospital settings. Acta Paediatr. 2005 Apr;94(4):423-8. [16092455]
  3. Butler CC, van der Linden MK, MacMillan HL, van der Wouden JC. Should children be screened to undergo early treatment for otitis media with effusion? A systematic review of randomized trials. Child Care Health Dev. 2003 Nov;29(6):425-32. [14616899]
  4. Pappas DE, Owen Hendley J. Otitis media. A scholarly review of the evidence. Minerva Pediatr. 2003 Oct;55(5):407-14. [14608264]
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