Otitis media is one of the most common reasons for health care visits and drugs prescriptions. A study has estimated how many people worldwide are affected by the ear condition.
By examining data from 15 of the 21 WHO regions, researchers from the Institute for Maternal and Child Health in Trieste, Italy, found that 709 million people are diagnosed with acute otitis media every year. Of those, 51% are five years old or younger.
Chronic suppurative otitis media is seen in 31 million people every year. Here, 22% of them are aged five or younger
Furthermore, the populations of developing countries have a greater risk of experiencing both acute- and chronic otitis media. For instance, more than 50% of the 709 million annual cases of acute otitis media are reported in developing countries.
Causing hearing impairment
The study also showed results of how often otitis media can lead to hearing loss. Here, the research revealed that approximately 31 people in every 10,000 worldwide develop a hearing impairment as a result of otitis media.
Again, this number increases if you are younger than five years old or live in a developing country. In these cases, the prevalence of otitis media related hearing loss almost doubles in those aged 1-5 years in South Asia.
Every year, 21,000 people worldwide die from complications related to otitis media or subsequent illnesses
You can avoid serious consequences from otitis media, if the inflammation is treated quickly and correctly. You should therefore see a doctor if you suspect that you or your child may have otitis media.