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Fluid in the Ear (Serous Otitis Media)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I need to know about serous otitis media (SOM)?

SOM is fluid trapped in the middle of your ear behind your eardrum. This condition usually develops without signs or symptoms of an ear infection. Serous otitis media may be caused by an upper respiratory infection or allergies. It is most common in the fall and early spring.

Ear Anatomy

What are the signs and symptoms of SOM?

How is SOM diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will look inside your ears. Tell him or her about your symptoms. You may need a tympanogram. During this test, an ear plug is put into each of your ears. Air pressure is used to see how the eardrum moves. It can help your healthcare provider learn if you have fluid in your middle ear.

How is SOM treated?

You may need any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I stay healthy?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.