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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998 Dec;119(6):695-9.

Effects of middle ear effusion on the vestibular system in children.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Rambam Medical Center, and Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


Vertigo and dizziness are not common in childhood, but are probably present more often than was formerly thought. These symptoms caused mainly by otitis media and middle ear effusion, two of the most common diseases in children, have been neglected for a long time, both in the literature and in practice, until recently. The purpose of this study was to determine objectively the incidence of balance-related symptoms in children with long-lasting middle ear effusion and to discover whether these symptoms resolve after the insertion of ventilation tubes. One hundred thirty-six children, ages 4 to 9 years, were given electronystagmographic tests and the Bruininks-Oseretsky tests for motor proficiency before and after tube ventilation of the middle ear. The results were compared with those in 74 healthy children with no history of middle ear diseases. Pathologic findings were found in 58% of the children with chronic middle ear effusion, as compared with only 4% of the control group. The symptoms and signs of balance disturbances resolved in 96% of the children after ventilation tube insertion. The results of this study indicate that balance-related symptoms often encountered in young children may result from chronic middle ear effusion and that these symptoms will resolve after evacuation of the effusion and ventilation of the middle ear.

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