This study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of a new method of autoinflation as an alternative treatment of secretory otitis media. Up to 80% of all children experience one or more episodes of eustachian tube dysfunction and secretory otitis media before school age. Common treatment of this condition is insertion of a ventilation tube in the tympanic membrane. Because of the very high incidence of secretory otitis media in childhood, insertion of ventilation tubes is the most frequently performed operation under general anesthesia in children. In addition to possible anesthetic complications, insertion of ventilation tubes may be associated with purulent suppuration, pathologic findings in the eardrum, and hearing impairment. One hundred children were consecutively randomized to undergo either autoinflation, using a new device, or placed in a control group. The children were between 3 and 10 years of age and were entered into the study after having had secretory otitis media for at least 3 months, as verified by tympanometric findings. Tympanometry was repeated at 2 weeks and at 1, 2, and 3 months after the children were entered into the study. After 2 weeks of autoinflation, the tympanometric conditions were improved in 64% of ears, unchanged in 34%, and deteriorated in the remaining 2%. In the control group, tympanometric findings were improved in 15% of ears, unchanged in 71%, and deteriorated in the remaining 14%.