Middle Ear Fluid - St. Augustine ENT

When the Eustachian tubes react normally, they open every time we swallow or yawn to equalize the pressure in the air-filled space behind the eardrums. The mucus that is naturally produced by the lining of the middle ear is allowed to drain and the pressure on the eardrum remains stable. Movement of air through this passageway allows your ears to adjust to changes in pressure when you fly or dive below the surface of water.

Generally speaking, children are more prone to have fluid build-up in their ears due to a Eustachian tube dysfunction. The narrow auditory tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose is much shorter and sits at a more shallow angle when we're born. This is the reason that it is necessary to feed a baby with their head elevated to prevent a backflow of milk into the ear canals. It also explains why children are more prone to ear infections and may need tubes inserted to drain fluid from the middle ear.

What is Serous Otitis Media?

Serous otitis media is a middle ear problem in which fluid collects in the middle ear canals. This condition occurs when the auditory or eustachian tube is unable to drain properly and is most common in children. Individuals may or may not suffer with symptoms to include:

  • intermittent ear pain
  • hearing loss
  • speech delays
  • balance problems
  • delayed motor skills
  • feeling of fullness in ears
  • recurrent vertigo
  • watery discharge

Adults typically complain of aural fullness (clogged ears) or experience a popping sensation when fluid accumulates in the middle ear canals. On the other hand, younger children do not tend to complain unless their ear is infected or inflamed. It is important to observe your child's response to soft noises and to take note if they are turning up the volume on the TV.

If you or your child suffer from middle ear problems, call St. Augustine ENT at 904.461.6060 or use this website's convenient contact form for a prompt email response.

DISCLAIMER: This website provides information for educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be used for medical diagnostic purposes nor is it intended to serve as a recommendation for treatment and/or management of any medical or surgical condition. If you believe you have a medical condition, please contact your physician or healthcare provider without delay.