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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Fluid behind eardrum

08/26/2009

Question:

What can I do to get rid of this ear feeling full?

Answer:

Assuming that you've been evaluated by a physician for the fluid behind your eardrum, there are typically a few options.

1. Time. Temporary middle ear fluid can clear on its own if given time. Sometimes this is a span of days or weeks.

2. Medication. If the cause of the fluid is infection or inflammation or some other specific problem, the appropriate medication can help clear the fluid. Randomly trying different antibiotics or medications without a specific indication is typically not a good approach.

3. Surgical drainage. Sometimes a myringotomy (incision in the ear drum) can release the fluid or can be combined with a tube in the ear drum to promote drainage.

All of the above is under the assumption that you have been examined and the appropriate diagnosis and workup for fluid behind the eardrum has been performed. A full ear nose and throat exam would typically include a history, physical exam, close evaluation of the ears, an examination of the nasopharynx and hearing test.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati