Otitis media with effusion in preschool children

Laryngoscope. 1985 Apr;95(4):428-36. doi: 10.1288/00005537-198504000-00011.


The incidence, prevalence, and natural history of otitis media with effusion (OME) and middle ear high negative pressure (HNP) were investigated in a group of 2 to 6 year old preschool children. The children were examined monthly over a two year period from September 1981 to August 1983. The middle ear status was assessed using a decision-tree algorithm which combined the findings of pneumatic otoscopy, tympanometry, and acoustic reflex measurements. Fifty-three percent of the children in the first year and 61% in the second year developed OME; also during the two years, HNP was documented in 66% of the children. Eighty percent of OME episodes lasted only two months. The prevalence of OME and HNP showed a seasonal variation and a strong association with the presence of upper respiratory infections (URIs). The incidence of OME was independent of age. These data indicate that OME and HNP are prevalent conditions with a high spontaneous recovery in the preschool population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear, Middle / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Otitis Media / epidemiology*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / epidemiology*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / physiopathology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / surgery
  • Pressure
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Seasons
  • Time Factors
  • United States