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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2012, Article ID 818927, 10 pages
Clinical Study

The Importance of Right Otitis Media in Childhood Language Disorders

1Institute Aragones of Health Sciences, Miguel Servet University Hospital, 50009 Saragossa, Spain
2Clinical Neurophysiology Service, Miguel Servet University Hospital, 50009 Saragossa, Spain
3Children Hospital Miguel Servet “ORL Service”, 50009 Saragossa, Spain

Received 14 September 2011; Revised 26 December 2011; Accepted 12 January 2012

Academic Editor: Michael D. Seidman

Copyright © 2012 Paulino Uclés et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Studies relating chronic otitis media and language disorders in children have not reported consistent findings. We carried out the first selective study aimed at discerning the role of chronic right otitis media in children less than 3 years of age in language development. A total of 35 children were studied using a full linguistic protocol, auditory brainstem responses, and middle latency responses. Twelve children had a history of chronic exclusive right otitis media. Seventeen age-matched children were selected as controls. Also, three children having a history of chronic left otitis media were compared with three age-matched controls. Linguistic tests showed significant differences between patients and controls in phonetic, phonological, and syntax scores but not semantics. Correlation studies between linguistic scores and auditory evoked responses in the whole cohort showed a significant coefficient in phonetic and phonological domains. These results emphasize the causative effect of right ear chronic otitis media and indicate that it mainly impairs phonetic and phonological coding of sounds, which may have implications for prophylactic treatment of at-risk children.