How Impaired are Children who Experience Persistent Bilateral Otitis Media with Effusion?
Otitis media with effusion (OME), sometimes known as secretory otitis media (SOM), middle ear effusion (MEE) or “glue ear,” is an unresolved chronic middle ear inflammation occurring in the presence of chronic eustachian tube dysfunction and resulting in the production of inflammatory exudate in the middle ear. The condition may arise insidiously and painlessly, may produce only low grade discomfort, and be present without recognizable symptoms (Stewart, 1980). OME is also commonly associated with hearing loss. Silva, Kirkland, Simpson, Stewart, and Williams (1982) reported a mean binaural hearing level in children with bilateral OME to be 20.2 dB compared with 4.6 dB in an otologically normal sample. OME is common in the first seven years of life. Silva et al. (1982) found 17.1% of a sample of 879 five-year-old children had either unilateral or bilateral OME. A similar prevalence in another sample of Dunedin three-year-old children has also been observed (J. McLeod, personal communication, 1983) and this high prevalence rate is found in other countries as well (Lim, 1983).
KeywordsHearing Loss Otitis Medium Otitis Medium With Effusion Pure Tone Audiometry Peabody Picture Vocabulary
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