Last update: 01/07/2011   

Serous otitis

Serous otitis (also called secretory otitis media) is the accumulation of fluid (or mucus, according to its consistency) in the middle ear. Occurs when the ventilation of the tympanic cavity is altered by a malfunction of the eustachian tube (a tube that connects the middle ear with the nasopharynx). The causes that can produce a blockage of the eustachian tube are, inter alia, upper respiratory infections, allergies and irritants such as smoke snuff.

The serous otitis is more common in children than in adults because the Eustachian tube can close more easily. Children have an immune system that still needs to mature (hence have more colds, which can close the Eustachian tube), and also have larger vegetations. Adenoids (also called adenoids) are very close to the mouth of the Eustachian tube, and if large can close it. Despite being much more common in children, adults can also suffer serous otitis.

Patients with this disease often heard worse because the fluid in the middle ear sound transmission difficult.

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