How is Otitis Media diagnosed?
Pneumo-Otoscopy is the best way to diagnose Otitis Media. Your Family Doctor performs this. A small torch with a magnifying lens and a funnel attachment is inserted in to the outer ear canal and the eardrum and ear canal are examined. An attachment with a small air reservoir puffs air into the ear canal and moves the eardrum in and out a little. Limited movement of the eardrum can help confirm Glue Ear in doubtful cases.
Tympanometry is a test to assess the movement of the eardrum. Air is puffed in and out of the ear canal and a probe in the ear canal detects sound echoing off the eardrum. Tympanometry may be useful in doubtful cases, and is also used as a screening tool for Glue Ear, particularly in pre-schools and kindergartens. Tympanometry is not a hearing test and a "pass" on this test does no necessarily mean that a child can hear - it just means that it is very unlikely Glue Ear is present at the time of the test.
Hearing Testing is a very valuable tool in the assessment of glue ear and its impact on the hearing of an individual child, No child is too young to be tested, however testing does need extra time and special techniques in children under the age of two and a half to three years of age. Your Doctor may recommend a hearing test if Otitis Media has been present for three months. A qualified Audiologist should perform hearing testing. This may be at the Public Hospital, National Audiology Centre, or at a private Audiology Centre.