Previous studies have suggested an association between chronic middle ear disorders due to secretory otitis media and adverse effects on auditory, educational and psychological development in children. Experimental design of such studies has often been poor. In this study, attempts were made to control extraneous variables more rigorously, using matched pairs. A group of children (n = 10) without current hearing problems but with a history of recurrent early secretory otitis media, aged 7-11 yrs, were compared on auditory, educational and psychological measures with a matched group of children with no history of otitis media. The results indicated weak but distinct differences between the two groups on the educational and psychological measures in favour of the control group. The implications for medical and educational services are outlined.