Early Otitis Media, Auditory Abilities, and Educational Risk Fourteen children whose first-year otitis media (OM) histories were well documented by prospective pneumatic otoscopy were given formal measures of their academic abilities at 6 years of age using the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities and Tests of Achievement and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. Parents and teachers of the children ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1995
Early Otitis Media, Auditory Abilities, and Educational Risk
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Judith S. Gravel
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
  • Ina F. Wallace
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, and The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Contact author: Judith S. Gravel, PhD, Rose F. Kennedy Center -Room 842, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1995
Early Otitis Media, Auditory Abilities, and Educational Risk
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 1995, Vol. 4, 89-94. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0403.89
History: Received June 8, 1994 , Accepted March 17, 1995
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 1995, Vol. 4, 89-94. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0403.89
History: Received June 8, 1994; Accepted March 17, 1995

Fourteen children whose first-year otitis media (OM) histories were well documented by prospective pneumatic otoscopy were given formal measures of their academic abilities at 6 years of age using the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities and Tests of Achievement and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. Parents and teachers of the children completed the appropriate Conners' Rating Scales that queried behavioral and attentional characteristics. In addition, at school age, the children were screened for academic risk using the Screening Instrument for Targeting Educational Risk (SIFTER). At 4 years, these same children's abilities to listen in background competition were assessed using an adaptive competing sentences task. Auditory sensitivity was estimated in the first year of life with the click-ABR.

Results suggest that a history of persistent OM and mild conductive hearing loss in the first year of life is associated with poorer academic abilities at school age, particularly in reading skills and those that underlie reading. Teachers' ratings of children's behavior and attention in the academic setting were different between OM groups (first-year OM-free versus OM-positive). Listening in background competition at 4 years of age was associated with teachers' ratings of academic performance at school age. Early OM and mild hearing loss appear detrimental to several auditory-based learning skills.

Acknowledgments
The Auditory Evoked Potentials Laboratories under the direction of David Stapells provided the 1-year ABR thresholds obtained on the study children. We are indebted to three anonymous reviewers who provided valuable comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Work was supported by NIDCD Center Grant 2P50 DC00223.
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