Fluid in the ear behind the eardrum is the most common cause of new or temporary hearing loss in children. Sometimes doctors prescribe steroid nasal sprays or even oral steroids in an effort to get rid of the fluid faster.
A critical review of 10 relevant studies was published in the June 2001 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The authors conclude that while there may be modest short-term improvement, there is no evidence at all of any lasting benefit from either oral or nasal steroids, either alone or with antibiotics.
Given the known side effects of these medications, I do not recommend using them for fluid behind the eardrum (called otitis media with effusion, or OME).
Sign-up for DrGreene's Newsletter
About once a month we send updates with most popular content, childrens' health alerts and other information about raising healthy children. We will not share your email address and never spam.