A total of 85 children on the waiting list for grommet insertion aged between 3 and 10 years with bilateral chronic otitis media with effusion (OME) were assigned at random to an observation or treatment group. Those in the treatment group were given the Otovent device to use three times a day for the duration of the study and both groups were then seen at monthly intervals for 3 months for pneumatic otoscopy and tympanometry. Statistically significant improvement was seen in those using the treatment with a compliance of more than 70%. This was detected on the outcome measures of tympanometry and pneumatic otoscopy after 1, 2 and 3 months. No side effects were demonstrated. We conclude that autoinflation is an effective short-term treatment for children with OME when used regularly under supervision.