Research  |   February 2001
Otitis Media and Language Development
Author Notes
Development / Hearing Disorders / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice
Research   |   February 2001
Otitis Media and Language Development
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology February 2001, Vol.10, 65-80. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2001/009)
History: Accepted 07 Dec 2000 , Received 23 Aug 2000
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology February 2001, Vol.10, 65-80. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2001/009)
History: Accepted 07 Dec 2000 , Received 23 Aug 2000

A substantial contemporary research literature on the impact of otitis media with effusion (OME) on language development in young children currently exists. Compared to the reports of earlier retrospective research on the topic, the results of the more recent prospective studies may be viewed as less conclusive and more equivocal. Nonetheless, the negative impact of OME on young children's language development appears to be a widely held belief. What is required now, in addition to the continuing primary research, and occasional qualitative/narrative reviews, is an objective quantitative analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of this research literature. The purpose of this project was to conduct such an examination employing the methodology of meta-analysis. The results of this meta-analysis of the contemporary primary research on OME and language development in young children show that the magnitude of the statistical population effect of OME is markedly low. Nevertheless, it should be acknowledged that the findings of low population effects in this meta-analysis may be related to certain vicissitudes of the primary research. Among these are failure to determine research participants' hearing levels, other intrinsic and/or extrinsic individual differences among the research participants, as well as the sensitivity of language measures used.

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