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    Ear Infections - Exams and Tests

    Middle ear infections are usually diagnosed using a health history, a physical exam, and an ear exam.

    The doctor uses a pneumatic otoscope to look at the eardrum for signs of an ear infection or fluid buildup. For example, the doctor can see if the eardrum moves freely when the pneumatic otoscope pushes air into the ear.

    Recommended Related to Ear Infection

    Understanding Swimmer's Ear -- the Basics

    Known to medical professionals as otitis externa, swimmer's ear is an inflammation of the ear canal. Its common name comes from the fact that it often occurs in children and young adults who swim frequently. However, any cause of dampness in the canal can lead to irritation and chafing, very similar to diaper rash in babies. An inflammation of the skin can sometimes lead to an infection that can be very painful. Despite its name, you don't have to be a swimmer to get swimmer's ear. It can...

    Read the Understanding Swimmer's Ear -- the Basics article > >

    Other tests may include:

    • Tympanometry, which measures how the eardrum responds to a change of air pressure inside the ear.
    • Hearing tests. These tests are recommended for children who have had fluid in one or both ears (otitis media with effusion) for a total of 3 months. The tests may be done sooner if hearing loss is suspected.
    • Tympanocentesis. This test can remove fluid if it has stayed behind the eardrum (chronic otitis media with effusion) or if infection continues even with antibiotics.
    • Blood tests, which are done if there are signs of immune problems.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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