Pediatric maxillary expansion has a positive impact on hearing? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2023 Jan;140(1):31-38. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2022.07.007. Epub 2022 Oct 6.


Objective: Hearing loss is a highly prevalent condition in the pediatric population. Pediatric maxillary expansion is a widespread treatment to address transverse maxillary deficiency. First reports describing an association between improvements for patients with HL and PME initiated in the 1960s. In this systematic review and meta-analysis we aim to review the role of maxillary expansion in reducing conductive hearing loss in pediatric population.

Review methods: Pubmed (Medline), the Cochrane Library, EMBASE and Trip Database were checked. Main outcome was expressed as the difference between air-bone gap, compliance, ear volume and conductive hearing thresholds before and after treatment and the 95% confidence interval.

Results: A total of 10 studies (218 patients) met inclusion criteria. The pooled data in the meta-analysis under a random effects model shows a statistically significant difference of 10.57dB mean reduction after palatal expansion. The air-bone gap was significantly reduced by 5.39dB (CI 95% 3.68, 7.10). Compliance and volume were assessed in three studies, with a non-significant positive difference in the compliance (0.14) and a statistically significant difference for volume (0.80) after palatal expansion.

Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis found a positive effect of pediatric maxillary expansion in conductive hearing loss in well-select children. However, results cannot be extrapolated for children with conductive hearing loss without an accompanying orthodontic indication (maxillary constriction). It showed that the existing prospective studies exhibited qualitative pitfalls, limiting the ability to obtain conclusive evidence about the role of pediatric maxillary expansion on conductive hearing loss in children.

Keywords: Conductive hearing loss; Maxillary expansion; Palatal expansion.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Hearing
  • Hearing Loss* / complications
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Palatal Expansion Technique
  • Prospective Studies