The data that support the need to improve the treatment and diagnosis of infantile secretory otitis media are illustrative: up to 90% of boys and girls develop it before school age, suffering four episodes per year on average. Besides, the World Health Organization (WHO) places it as the most frequent cause of hearing loss and childhood deafness in developed countries. For this reason, the Commission for the Early Detection of Childhood Deafness (CODEPEH) has carried out an extensive review of the existing scientific literature on the subject and has created a guide with recommendations for a correct clinical attitude towards this type of otitis.
The new CODEPEH document addresses both diagnostic methods and medical and surgical treatment of childhood secretory otitis media. The objective is for this material to serve as a guide for the clinical management of the disease. As explained by the Spanish Confederation of Families of Deaf People (FIAPAS), “There is evidence that only a minority of professionals follow the recommendations of this type of guides”. The limited use of pneumatic otoscopy in diagnosisthe lack of audiometric examinations of children who present with secretory otitis or inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat it, are the most frequent problems in this sense.
This document, which aims to counteract the disparity in clinical approaches to childhood otitis, has been prepared within the framework of the project on ‘Diagnosis and treatment of childhood otitis for the prevention of alterations and delays in the cognitive, linguistic and psychosocial development of the child’which FIAPAS has developed in collaboration with CODEPEH and with the co-participation of the Royal Board on Disability.
As complementary informative material to said document, the Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Secretory Otitis Media Brochure with the diagnostic recommendation in the form of a flow chart. This document has been distributed among those professionals involved in comprehensive care for children with hearing disabilities, both in the health and educational fields and in social services.
Symptoms and treatment
As we already explained in a previous post, the main symptom of otitis in children is usually presence of exudate or fluid in the middle ear. In the case of the so-called acute otitis media pain or fever also appears. And if the presence of liquid lasts more than 3 months, it is called chronic otitis media.
Regarding treatment, antibiotics are not usually prescribed unless the child is less than six months old. Most doctors usually prescribe analgesia if the infection is not accompanied by high fever.