A randomized comparison of homoeopathic and standard care for the treatment of glue ear in children

Complement Ther Med. 1999 Sep;7(3):132-5. doi: 10.1016/s0965-2299(99)80120-4.


Objective: To pilot a model for determining whether homoeopathic treatment of children suffering from glue ear is more effective than standard GP care at producing a return to normal hearing (a hearing loss of less than 20 dB) within 12 months.

Design: Non-blind, randomized controlled trial.

Setting: General practice in two locations in southern England.

Subjects: Thirty-three children aged 18 months to 8 years with otitis media with effusion, hearing loss > 20 dB and an abnormal tympanogram.

Outcome measures: Hearing loss, tympanogram, referrals to specialists and number of courses of antibiotics at 12 month follow-up.

Results: A higher proportion of children receiving homoeopathic care had a hearing loss less then 20 dB at follow-up (64 vs 56%), though this difference did not reach statistical significance (95% confidence interval for the difference between means of -25 and 42%). More homoeopathy patients than controls had a normal tympanogram (75 vs 31%, P = 0.015). Referrals to specialists and antibiotic consumption was lower in the homoeopathy group, though differences between groups did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusion: Further research comparing homoeopathy to standard care is warranted. Assuming recovery rates of 50 and 30% in homoeopathy and standard care groups respectively, 270 patients would be needed for a definitive trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Impedance Tests
  • Audiometry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology
  • Hearing Disorders / physiopathology
  • Hearing Disorders / therapy*
  • Homeopathy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reference Values
  • Treatment Outcome