Complications | Duration of acute middle ear infection


If the acute inflammation of the middle ear has still not healed after three weeks, there is a risk of serious complications, such as the development of mastoiditis with bone fusion. A doctor must be consulted again in any case. However, any form of acute middle ear infection can lead to an effusion (so-called tympanic effusion), which impairs the ability of the eardrum to vibrate and thus causes a reduction in hearing.

The resulting fluid in the middle ear must first be slowly reduced and it can take up to several weeks before a hearing disorder caused by the effusion disappears, even after the acute inflammatory phase is over. In special circumstances, such as the illness of very young children, a perforation of the eardrum, fever exceeding 38 degrees, or a very pronounced clinical picture, antibiotic therapy should be initiated immediately. Normally, however, it is possible to wait and see whether the symptoms improve within the next 1-2 days.

If this is the case, a medical follow-up examination must be carried out after 3-4 weeks. However, if there is no improvement, a doctor must be consulted if this has not already been done. If an antibiotic is administered, the symptoms should improve within 48 hours.

If this is not the case, a doctor must be consulted again. It should be noted, however, that the inflammation of the middle ear has not yet subsided completely, even if the symptoms disappear after a few days (with or without the administration of an antibiotic). The affected ear should continue to be spared, which is why, for example, visits to the swimming pool in the following days are strongly advised against, as exposure to the germs present in the water could rekindle the inflammation.

As a rule, however, acute middle ear inflammation is not dangerous. Approximately 80 percent of the diseases heal without complications. If the patient reacts in good time after the symptoms have appeared and a doctor has clarified the situation, possible complications can be avoided and a quick and uncomplicated healing is very likely to occur.