Otitis Media Terminology: Middle Ear Disease

Otitis Media Terminology: Middle Ear Disease
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  • 00:00 Middle Ear Infection
  • 00:18 Otitis Media
  • 1:23 Types of Otitis Media
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Have you ever had a middle ear infection? If so, do you know what kind you had? There are many kinds of middle ear infection, and you'll discover the proper terminology and look at some of the different kinds of infection in this lesson.

Middle Ear Infection

Have you ever had a middle ear infection? What is one thing you remember really clearly if you've ever had one? It was pain, wasn't it? You're about to find out why a middle ear infection is painful, what the proper term for one is, and some of the different kinds of middle ear infections there are.

Otitis Media

Without further delay, the inflammation of the middle ear is technically called otitis media. 'Oto-' is a prefix for 'ear' and 'media' refers to the middle portion of the ear. Although going word for word, otitis media does mean 'inflammation of the middle ear,' it is commonly assumed that the inflammation is caused by an infectious agent, usually of a bacterial, fungal, or viral nature.

The reason an ear infection is painful is actually given away in the word 'otitis.' Otitis has a suffix, '-itis,' and this means 'inflammation.' One key component of any inflammatory process, regardless of cause, is dolor, or pain.

Inflammation is basically your body's response to an allergy or infection that starts to burn up and destroy everything in sight in order to kill the intruder. And because inflammation is indiscriminate, it also burns and harms the good parts of your body, causing you pain.

Types of Otitis Media

There are three major types of otitis media I'd like to define.

The first one is acute otitis media, inflammation of the middle ear as a result of a bacterial or viral middle ear infection, most commonly found in children. Acute means it is sudden in onset and of (usually) short duration. Acute otitis media can results in a ruptured eardrum as pus or other fluid builds up in the middle ear. Since the pus has nowhere to go within the enclosed spaced of the middle ear, it burst through the eardrum, into the ear canal, and out of the ear.

Just think of the middle ear, which is an enclosed cavity, as a car. A car has a cavity where people sit called the cabin. If all the windows are rolled up and water begins to build up within the cabin, so much so that the pressure within the car becomes really great, what'll happen? Well, the weakest parts, the windows, will rupture and water will effuse out of the car.

Another form of otitis media is serous otitis media, a condition where the air found in the middle ear is replaced by serous (that is to say, watery) fluid, commonly as a result of acute otitis media. The fluid can also have a mucoid consistency as well.

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