Eosinophilic otitis media: a new middle ear disease entity

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2008 Nov;8(6):525-30. doi: 10.1007/s11882-008-0096-5.


Eosinophilic otitis media (EOM) is intractable otitis media characterized by the presence of a highly viscous yellow effusion containing eosinophils. It occurs mainly in patients with bronchial asthma and is resistant to conventional treatments for otitis media. Here we discuss the clinical features, pathogenesis, and management of EOM. EOM predominantly affects women and presents most often in patients in their 50s. The clinical features of the middle ear in EOM are roughly divided into the otitis media with effusion type and chronic otitis media type. The latter is further divided into two subtypes: simple perforation and granulation tissue formation. EOM is often complicated by rhinosinusitis (eosinophilic sinusitis). High-tone loss is more frequently found and more severe in EOM patients than in chronic otitis media control patients, and EOM patients sometimes become deaf suddenly. Systemic or topical steroid administration is the most effective treatment for patients with EOM. The instillation of triamcinolone acetonide, a suspension of steroids, into the middle ear is very effective for controlling eosinophilic inflammation. It is very important to explain to patients with EOM that the disease may last for a long period and that progressive and sudden hearing loss may occur.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Deafness / drug therapy
  • Deafness / etiology
  • Deafness / immunology
  • Deafness / pathology
  • Ear, Middle / immunology
  • Ear, Middle / pathology
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / drug therapy*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / etiology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / immunology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / pathology
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy
  • Sinusitis / etiology
  • Sinusitis / immunology
  • Sinusitis / pathology
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide