Treatment options for otitis media effusion in adults vary but may include antibiotics and surgery, according to MedlinePlus. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if fluid remains behind the eardrum for eight weeks or longer, if an ear infection accompanies the condition, or if the patient is prone to ear infections. Alternatively, the doctor may recommend a hearing test or a single round of antibiotics if fluid remains behind the eardrum for longer than six weeks.
Doctors also prescribe antibiotics when significant hearing loss accompanies the otitis media effusion, explains MedlinePlus. The doctor may recommend inserting ear tubes if fluid remains behind the eardrum for four months or longer. Adenoid removal is sometimes necessary for Eustachian tubes to work properly again.
Obvious symptoms are not typically present with otitis media effusion unless there is an accompanying ear infection, notes MedlinePlus. Adults may experience fullness in the ear or complain of muffled hearing.
Complications associated with otitis media effusion include acute ear infections, ear drum scarring, hearing loss, affected speech and middle ear cysts. Otitis media effusion is a common condition, but preventive techniques help reduce the risk of developing it. Preventive measures include avoiding allergens, not drinking while lying down, frequently washing hands, avoiding cigarette smoke and other pollutants, and using air filters, reports Healthline. Flu and pneumonia vaccines may reduce susceptibility to otitis media effusion.