The contribution of risk factors to the effect of early otitis media with effusion on later language, reading, and spelling

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997 Jan;39(1):31-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1997.tb08201.x.


A cohort of 946 children who were screened for otitis media with effusion (OME) from the ages of 2 to 4 were studied for language, reading, and spelling at 7 years of age. The effects of OME in combination with single risk factors and with increasing numbers of risk factors were investigated. An interaction with an additional risk factor was found only for gender and OME, with boys' spelling influenced negatively by a history of OME. OME in combination with preterm birth and low birthweight also appears to put children at risk for later language and educational problems. Although a negative linear relation between the number of risk factors and later functioning was found, it is suggested that OME, even when combined with a number of other risk factors, produces only minor effects on later language, reading, and spelling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear, Middle / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Male
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / physiopathology
  • Reading*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Speech Perception*
  • Writing*