Ear infections are associated with hearing loss, facial paralysis, meningitis, brain abscess, and other neurological disorders


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A recent article published in the journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports presents the results of a study examining the symptoms, diagnosis, and management of the neurological complications of acute and chronic otitis media.

The team of researchers work at the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, and the Hines VA Medical Center, near Chicago, Illinois (USA). They indicate that although antibiotic therapy has greatly reduced the frequency of complications of otitis media, practitioners should remain aware of the possible development of neurologic complications.

Importantly, the findings show that there is a trend toward less severe presenting symptoms. These may include otorrhea, headache, nausea, and fever, with altered mental status and focal neurological deficits presenting at a later time. To reduce morbidity in the affected patients, the researchers say that early interventions, following a multidisciplinary approach, are essential to guide appropriate management of the condition. They recommend prompt imaging and laboratory studies.

The long list of possible complications should not be neglected: hearing loss, facial paralysis, bacterial meningitis, acute mastoiditis, and the potentially very serious complication brain abscess.

Source: ScienceDaily; Hutz MJ, et al. Neurological Complications of Acute and Chronic Otitis Media. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports 2018 Feb 14;18(3):11