Middle ear fluid in young children

Summary: This article is about middle ear fluid in children ages one through three who have no other health problems. The article addresses the causes of middle ear fluid, the tests for fluid, the types of treatment and how to work with your child's health care provider to find the best solution for your child.

Another name for middle ear fluid is otitis media with effusion. Some people also call it "glue ear." Otitis media means middle ear inflammation, and effusion means fluid.


About the Ear and Hearing

The ear has three parts-the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear includes the part outside the head and the ear canal. The eardrum is a small circle of tissue about the size of a fingertip at the end of the ear canal. The middle ear is the space, usually filled with air, behind the eardrum. When a child has middle ear fluid, this is where it is found. A small tube-the eustachian tube-connects the middle ear to the back of the nose. Three tiny bones (the malleus, incus, and stapes) connect the eardrum through the middle ear to the inner ear. The inner ear is further inside the head ear, and is important for hearing and balance.

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