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inflammation of the external, middle, or internal ear.
Otitis externa affects the skin of the auricle and external auditory meatus and proceeds with the formation of furuncles and eczema, as in other skin inflammations.
Otitis media may be acute or chronic. The acute form results from the penetration of microbes into the middle ear from the nose and nasopharynx in influenza and other infectious diseases. It occurs more often in children than in adults, because children are more susceptible to colds and adenoids. The symptoms are shooting pains in the ear, loss of hearing, elevated temperature, and suppurative discharges from the ear that often appear in the first day and sometimes even the first hours of the disease. In infants, acute otitis media causes restlessness and insomnia. The baby cries, turns its head, holds the affected ear with its hand, and refuses the breast because pain in the ear intensifies with swallowing. The inflammation is treated by tamponade with an alcoholic solution of boric acid or some other antiseptic; in some cases the tympanic membrane is punctured by paracentesis. In most cases, recovery is possible with prompt treatment. However, if the body is debilitated and other conditions are unfavorable, the disease may become chronic, in which case pus is discharged from the ear, and hearing is permanently impaired. Inflammation of the internal ear and meningitis—inflammation of the brain membranes—are possible complications.
Inflammation of the internal ear—labyrinthitis, or otitis interna—arises not only with otitis media but often in children with epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis. When labyrinthitis is diffuse, all or almost all the endings of the acoustic nerve in the internal ear die, and complete or almost complete deafness results. With localized labyrinthitis hearing is partly preserved. Labyrinthitis is treated with antibiotics and surgery of the temporal bone.
REFERENCETemkin, Ia. S. Ostryi otit i ego oslozhneniia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1955.
L. V. NEIMAN