Emerging Technologies for the Diagnosis of Otitis Media

Tal Marom, Oded Kraus, Nadeem Habashi, Sharon Ovnat Tamir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To review new experimental techniques for the diagnosis of otitis media (OM). Data Sources: Literature search in English in the following databases: MEDLINE (via PubMed), Ovid Medline, Google Scholar, and Clinical Evidence (BMJ Publishing) between January 1, 2005, and April 30, 2018. Subsequently, articles were reviewed and included only if relevant. Review Methods: MeSH terms: [“diagnosis”] AND [all forms of OM] AND [“human”] AND [“ear”] and [“tympanic membrane”]. The retrieved innovative diagnostic techniques rely on and take advantage of the physical properties of the tympanomastoid cavity components: tympanic membrane (TM) thickness, its translucency and compliance; middle ear fluid characteristics; biofilm presence; increased tissue metabolic activity in OM states; and fluid presence in the mastoid cavity. These parameters are taken into account to establish OM diagnosis objectively. We review spectral gradient acoustic reflectometry, digital otoscopy, TM image analysis, multicolor reflectance imaging, anticonfocal middle ear assessment, optical coherence tomography, quantitative pneumatic otoscopy, transmastoid ultrasound, wideband measurements, TM thickness mapping, shortwave infrared imaging, and wideband acoustic transfer functions. Conclusions: New experimental techniques are gradually introduced to overcome the limitations of standard otoscopy. The aforementioned techniques are still under investigation and are pending widespread clinical use. The implementation of these techniques in the market is dependent on their success in clinical trials, as well as on their future cost. Implication for Practice: New techniques for the diagnosis of OM can objectively evaluate the morphology of the TM, determine the presence of middle ear fluid and evaluate its content, and thus potentially replace standard otoscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • diagnosis
  • middle ear
  • otitis media
  • otoscopy
  • tympanic membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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