Long-term follow-up after recurrent otitis media and ventilation tube insertion: Hearing outcomes and middle-ear health at six years of age

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Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the long-term impact of recurrent otitis media (rOM) and ventilation tube insertion (VTI) in early childhood on hearing outcomes and middle-ear health three to five years later, in a prospective pregnancy cohort study. Methods: Children were classified into rOM (n = 314), VTI (n = 94), and reference (n = 1735) groups, according to their otitis media (OM) history in their first three years of life. Audiometry at frequencies 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, and 4000 Hz, and tympanometry were performed when children were approximately six years of age. Results: A binary logistic regression incorporating a range of potential confounding variables showed that hearing outcomes and middle-ear health status in children who had early childhood rOM with or without undergoing VTI were not significantly different to those in the reference group. The only significant difference was found in the VTI group for both tympanometry (OR = 2.190; 95% CI = 1.123, 4.270) and audiometry outcomes at 4000 Hz (OR = 3.202; 95% CI 1.341, 6.717), in the left ear only. The median score of the better ear 4FA was 20 dB in children in all groups. Conclusion: Children with rOM with or without undergoing VTI in the first three years of childhood had comparable hearing outcomes and middle-ear health status to those with no history of the disease, at around the age of six years. Although children who underwent VTI had an increased risk of abnormal middle-ear status and some elevation in hearing levels in their left ear only, their audiometry results were still within normal limits, indicating that the impact of VTI in early childhood is unlikely to have clinically significant adverse impact on later hearing outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111379
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Volume163
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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