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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.

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Understanding Ear Infection -- Prevention

Because bottle-fed babies are more likely to get ear infections, it is better to breast feed your infant for the first six to 12 months of life, if possible, to prevent ear infections.  Remove as many environmental pollutants from your home as you can, including: Dust Cleaning fluid and solvents Tobacco smoke Also, reduce yours or your child's exposure to people with colds, and control allergies. Taking steps to prevent colds and flu as well as other illnesses can prevent some, but...

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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.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 10, 2013
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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