The degree of inter-observer variability in the results of pneumatic otoscopy, used to predict the presence or absence of middle ear effusion was assessed. A group of 114 patients with 209 suitable ears had pneumatic otoscopy using a Seigle's speculum performed independently by two observers. The results were compared to the findings at myringotomy, on the basis that mobility of the tympanic membrane was indicative of a dry middle ear. The observers agreed in 187 ears, a concordance rate of 91 per cent, and in 174 of these (93 per cent) the observers' prediction of middle ear state was correct. The overall predictive accuracy of observer A was 89 per cent and of observer B 84 per cent, this difference is not statistically significant, p greater than 0.05.