Panel 5: Impact of otitis media on quality of life and development

Preben Homøe, Christian H. Heidemann, Roger AMJ Damoiseaux, Susen Lailach, Judith E.C. Lieu, John S. Phillips, Roderick P. Venekamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To summarize recent advances in knowledge on otitis media (OM) and quality of life (QoL) and development by synthesizing relevant research in this field published between June 1., 2015 until June 1., 2019. Data sources: Systematic searches of PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Library using predefined database-specific syntaxes. Review methods: Articles selected were randomized controlled trials and observational studies with an adequate control group estimating treatment effects of OM including acute OM (AOM), recurrent AOM (RAOM), OM with effusion (OME), chronic OM (COM) and chronic suppurative OM (CSOM). Items included were Health Status, Health Status Indicators, Quality of Life, Functional Status, Specific Learning Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, Language Development Disorders, and Problem Behavior. Results: The electronic database searches yielded a total of 699 records. After screening titles and abstracts, we identified 34 potentially eligible articles. Of these, 18 were excluded. This left 15 articles suitable for inclusion. Conclusions: Although evidence is accumulating that OM may significantly impair children's QoL and development as well as caregiver's QoL, studies on this topic are relatively scarce and vary substantially in terms of methodological quality and outcome measurement instruments (OMI) used. In this review, studies have used 10 different OMIs capturing a wide range of OM symptoms as well as generic and disease-specific QoL outcomes. OM was associated with negative effects on auditory processing, language and speech development, school readiness, social competence, psychosocial wellbeing, and sleep. We found only four relevant randomized controlled trials, which mostly failed to demonstrate superiority of interventions in terms of QoL improvement and reports on reversibility are lacking. This underpins the urgent need for high quality studies in this field using validated and uniform OMIs. To facilitate interpretation and harmonization of study findings, we suggest and support the development of a core outcome set for the various OM entities that should include the most reliable and meaningful QoL and developmental OMIs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109837
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Developmental disabilities
  • Hearing
  • Learning disorders
  • Otitis media
  • Quality of life

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