We report cross-sectional findings on children's early experience with otitis media with effusion (OME) related to hearing over time and emerging receptive and expressive language skills on the Sequenced Inventory of Communication Development Scale (SICD). Tympanometry and otoscopy on the same day are combined to diagnose OME. Hearing from 6 to 12 months is significantly related to scores on the SICD beginning with receptive language at 12 months. At 18 and 24 months, both receptive and expressive language are significantly related to average hearing from 6 to 18 months. Better language is associated with better average hearing levels. These findings suggest that the relationship between OME and language is mediated by hearing. It remains to be seen whether these relationships persist as the children continue to develop language.