Comparison of seasonal prevalence of Otitis media with effusion (OME) in mentally handicapped versus normal school-going children.
Objectives: Otitis media with effusion is widespread in pre-school and school-going children. The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of otitis media with effusion (OME) in normal versus mentally handicapped children in perspective of seasonal variation. Study Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Pakistan Air Force Hospital Masroor, Karachi. Period: From January 2015 till August 2016. Material & Methods: 208 children between 3-8 years of age were divided into ‘Mentally Normal’ and ‘Mentally Handicapped’ groups based on a cut off intelligence quotient score of 70. Results: Otitis media with effusion uniformly affected all school children. Tympanometric pressures from middle ears of both study groups responded indifferently from each other (p value 0.467 and 0.365 for right middle ear, and 0.708 and 0.920 for left middle ears, in summer and winter, respectively). However, most caregivers of mentally handicapped children exhibited greater concerns about complications associated with otitis media with effusion in winters (p value 0.002). Conclusion: Otitis media with effusion is an insidious condition which remains under diagnosed and adversely affects auditory function and speech. Children may develop this condition regardless of their intellectual status. However craniofacial dysmorphism puts a child at a greater risk of otitis media with effusion. Awareness at primary education and healthcare level, a high index of suspicion in these children, careful examination and prompt referral for expert otologic intervention is pivotal in avoiding complications.