Acute inflammation of the middle ear

Synonyms in a broader sense

Medical: Otitis media acute otitis media, hemorrhagic otitis media, myringitis bullosa English: acute otitis media


Sudden (acute) inflammation of the middle ear is a rhinogenic inflammation of the mucosa of the tympanic cavity (cavum tympani = part of the middle ear), which is caused by bacterial pathogens and usually heals within 2-3 weeks. – Outer ear

  • Eardrum
  • Organ of equilibrium
  • Auditory nerve (acoustic nerve)
  • Tube
  • Mastoid process (mastoid)

In the first few days of the inflammation, a pressure pain often occurs above the mastoid process (mastoid) because the entire mucous membrane of the middle ear, including the air-filled (pneumatised) spaces attached to the middle ear, is affected by the inflammation. – stabbing pain in the ear

  • Hearing loss
  • Pulse synchronous knocking in the ear/ear noise
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • General discomfort

In the typical symptoms of otitis media, a distinction must be made between chronic and acute forms.

In the case of acute inflammation of the middle ear, the symptoms begin suddenly within a very short time. Most of the affected patients report stabbing earache, which can occur on one side or both sides. Another classic symptom of acute middle ear infection is a noticeable knocking in the painful ear.

In many cases, the pain perceived by the affected patient radiates from the ear to the jaw. The other symptoms of acute otitis media are assigned to the so-called “general disease symptoms”. Many patients suffering from this form of middle ear inflammation develop high fever and chills as the disease progresses.

Furthermore, a possible impairment of the inner ear can lead to the development of pronounced rotary vertigo. In the course of the normal defence reaction of the organism against viral and bacterial pathogens, various mediators are released. These mediators cause a typical increase in the perception of pain.

In addition, the development of redness, overheating of the skin surface and swelling of the skin and mucous membrane is induced. In many cases, acute inflammation of the middle ear results in swelling of the connecting passage between the middle ear and throat (ear trumpet). As a result, the outflow of mucus and fluid is blocked and accumulates inside the middle ear.

Eventually, the mucus and fluid cause a considerable increase in pressure. This increase in pressure causes other typical symptoms that are more common in acute middle ear infections. In some of the affected patients, the eardrum cannot withstand the rising pressure for long.

This results in a rupture of the eardrum. As a result, the secretions in the middle ear can empty out. In most cases, the pain felt by the patient subsides abruptly at this point. Nevertheless, acute hearing loss and severe headaches may occur.