Acute suppurative otitis media (AOM) is a common, painful condition affecting 20% of children under 4 years at least once a year,1 and perhaps more in infancy when clinical examination is most difficult. Infectious complications such as mastoiditis, meningitis and cerebral abscess are now rare, but chronic middle ear effusion and hearing loss remain common. Hearing loss may persist long after the infective episode,2 and may impair learning.
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