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The condition of having fluid in the ear is called Serous Otitis Media or Otitis Media Effusion.
Serous otitis media is a condition in the middle ear characterized by a collection of ear fluid as a result of negative pressure in the middle ear cavity brought by an obstruction in the Eustachian tube and in the absence of infection.
Eustachian tube connects the inner ear to the back of the throat and helps in draining fluid to prevent it from accumulating in the ear.
Serous otitis media is frequently seen in patients after undergoing radiation therapy and patient with dysfunctional Eustachian tube associated with upper respiratory infection or barotraumas. The condition of serous otitis media occurs without infection however, effusion and infection are related one way or another such as effusion remains in the middle ear cavity for a few days after treating ear infection. Serous otitis media or effusion in the ear that does not resolve on its own given an ample time and is associated with hearing impairment may require certain surgical procedure to drain the fluid and relieve pressure.
Myringotomy is a surgical procedure most commonly utilized for treating serous otitis media.

Antibiotics may be given if effusion is persistent for more than 8 to 12 weeks although antibiotics are not helpful in draining the fluid. The fluid may cause hearing impairment when it impedes the vibration of eardrum by sound waves. The presence of obstruction in the Eustachian tube will cause fluid to build up in the ear.
Ear infection may also occur while the Eustachian tube is partially blocked allowing bacterial growth as a result of fluid buildup containing bacteria. Most children suffer from serous otitis media without symptom as it usually occurs without pain or fever. Often a childa€™s ear or even an adulta€™s ear is examined for an infection in the ear and healthcare provider can only then recognize the occurrence of fluid in the ear. Children will overgrow it as they grow old as the Eustachian tube gradually increases in size as they age.

The procedure requires a small incision in the tympanic membrane and insertion of an ear tube known as myringotomy tube, usually made of plastic or metal, to hold open the Eustachian tube allowing continuous drainage of fluid and pus and to ventilate the middle ear. It is commonly found in children but can also affect adults which may indicate underlying cause for Eustachian tube dysfunction. The ear fluid may result to conductive hearing loss when the ear fluid becomes sticky and thick over time.
In children or infant, the most common cause for ear fluid is feeding while lying down which tends liquid to flow inside the ears and become trapped in the middle ear cavity.
Children are most prone to fluid buildup owing to the short size of their Eustachian tube and it is more horizontal that may also be blocked by large adenoids.

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