The effect of otitis media with effusion on the masking-level difference and the auditory brainstem response

J Speech Hear Res. 1993 Feb;36(1):210-7. doi: 10.1044/jshr.3601.210.


This study investigated the masking-level difference (MLD) and auditory brainstem response (ABR) in a group of children with a history of otitis media with effusion (OME) and a control group of children with no known history of ear disease. All children had normal hearing at the time of testing. The main goal of the study was to determine whether there was an association between a reduced MLD in the OME children and an abnormal ABR (in terms of prolonged absolute or interwave intervals, or interaural differences in the ABR waveforms). The results indicated that the group of children having a history of OME had significantly reduced MLDs and had significantly prolonged waves III and V, and I-III and I-V interwave intervals. The correlations between MLD and delays in absolute wave or interwave intervals were not significant. However, some correlations between interaural asymmetries of the interwave intervals and the MLD were significant. The results suggest that the reduction in MLD found in children having a history of OME may be related to abnormal brainstem processing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear, Middle / physiopathology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem*
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / diagnosis
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology
  • Hearing Disorders / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / physiopathology*
  • Perceptual Masking*