Feature Article

Management of otitis media

Catherine Birman



Otitis media, recurrent acute otitis media with effusion – when are antibiotics, ventilation tubes and other treatments appropriate?

Key Points

  • Acute otitis media (AOM) often does not need antibiotic treatment in the first 24 hours of symptoms. Analgesia should be provided.
  • Recurrent AOM (three or more episodes of AOM within a six-month period) should be treated.
  • Otitis media with effusion (OME) present for at least three months and associated with conductive hearing loss should be treated.
  • Otitis media associated with damage to the drum or ossicles needs to be treated.
  • Biofilm is thought to be an aetiological factor in chronic OME.