Otitis media in children with learning disabilities and in children with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity


Adesman AR






A retrospective study was conducted to compare history of middle ear disease children with an attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADD-H) and children with a learning disability. Of 138 children evaluated in a child development clinic, learning disability without ADD-H was diagnosed in 45 (29 boys, 16 girls; mean age = 9.5 years) and ADD-H without learning disability was diagnosed in 21 (17 boys, 4 girls; mean age = 8.5 years). Based on parental report, children with ADD-H had significantly more complaints of earaches during the preceding 3 months and significantly more ear infections during the preceding year. Specifically, no between-group differences were observed for total number of ear infections since birth, extended antibiotic therapy, tympanostomy tube placement, or recent hearing problems. Although middle ear disease in preschool children has repeatedly been linked to later language deficits, this study suggests that middle ear disease in school-age children may also be associated with hyperactivity and/or inattention, independently of learning disability.