The effects of early bilateral otitis media with effusion on language ability: a prospective cohort study

J Speech Hear Res. 1993 Oct;36(5):1004-12. doi: 10.1044/jshr.3605.1004.


The current study, which is a follow-up on the epidemiological Nijmegen Otitis Media study, examines the relationship between early otitis media with effusion (OME) and later language ability in a group of children with systematically documented bilateral OME. In the Nijmegen Otitis Media study, children were screened using tympanometry at regular intervals of 3 months, between their second and fourth birthdays. At age 7, three groups of children participated in language testing: 82 OME-free children, 151 children with early bilateral OME, and 37 children treated with ventilation tubes at preschool age. A history of OME, even up to nine instances, did not have negative consequences for language performance at age 7. Intermittent, as opposed to more continuous, OME was not found to affect language ability negatively. The suggested benefit of treatment with ventilation tubes was not found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Language
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Development Disorders / etiology*
  • Language Development*
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / surgery
  • Prospective Studies