This topic will address the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of AOM in adults. Issues related to AOM in children are discussed separately (see "Acute otitis media in children: Diagnosis" and "Acute otitis media in children: Epidemiology, microbiology, clinical manifestations, and complications" and "Acute otitis media in children: Treatment" and "Otitis media with effusion (serous otitis media) in children: Clinical features and diagnosis" and "Otitis media with effusion (serous otitis media) in children: Management" ) Issues related to chronic otitis media (COM) in adults are also discussed separately. (See "Chronic otitis media, cholesteatoma, and mastoiditis in adults" .)
Common reasons for this includes the difference in the eustachian tube between children and adults. In children, the tube is both shorter and more level, making it less likely to drain fluid. Whereas in adults, the tube is longer and has more of a sloped angle allowing gravity to assist in draining the middle ear. Children are most likely to have fluid in the middle ear between six and 11 months, and risk decreases as your child gets older. Most children will have had at least one episode of fluid in the middle ear before the reach school-age. While it is most prevalent in children, adults can still have issues with serous otitis media, but it is not as common.