An association between recurrent otitis media in infancy and later hyperactivity


Hagermann RJ, Falkenstein AR




Clin Pediatr (Phila)


An association between the frequency of otitis media in early childhood and later hyperactivity is reported in this study. The subjects were 67 children referred to a child development clinic for evaluation of school failure. Ranging from 6 to 13 years old, all the children demonstrated specific school learning problems, and 27 were also considered hyperactive by two or more raters. Sixteen of the hyperactive children were treated with central nervous system stimulant medication. In retrospect, there was positive correlation between an increasing number of otitis media infections in early childhood and the presence and severity of hyperactive behavior. Ninety-four percent of children medicated for hyperactivity had three or more otitis infections, and 69 percent had greater than 10 infections. In comparison, 50 percent of non-hyperactive school-failure patients had three or more infections and 20 percent had greater than 10 infections. Twenty-two of 28 children (79%) known to have more than 10 infections experienced recurrent otitis before 1 year of age.