(See also Tumors of the Head and Neck: Otic Tumors.)
Middle ear disorders may be secondary to infection, eustachian tube obstruction, or trauma. Information about objects placed in the ear and symptoms such as rhinorrhea, nasal obstruction, sore throat, URI, allergies, headache, systemic symptoms, and fever aid diagnosis. The appearance of the external auditory canal and tympanic membrane (see Fig. 1: Middle Ear and Tympanic Membrane Disorders: Tympanic membrane of right ear (A); tympanic cavity with tympanic membrane removed (B).) often yields a diagnosis. The nose, nasopharynx, and oropharynx are examined for signs of infection and allergy and for evidence of tumors. Middle ear function is evaluated with use of pneumatic otoscopy, the Weber and Rinne tuning fork tests, tympanometry, and audiologic tests (see Hearing Loss: Physical examination).
Last full review/revision December 2012 by Richard T. Miyamoto, MD