The effects of chronic otitis media during the first three years of life on developing auditory processing skills were examined. Two groups of children with auditory processing deficits were compared in areas of language development, intellectual factors, auditory processing skills, and academic capabilities. One group of children with auditory processing deficits had a history of severe chronic otitis media during the first three years of life, whereas a second group had auditory processing deficits but no history of early middle ear infections. The results indicate that subjects who had a history of chronic otitis media were slower in developing word combinations, had depressed verbal intelligence scores, manifested pervasive auditory processing deficits, and were significantly poorer in reading. A profile has been constructed that permits early detection of the child at risk.

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