To investigate the possible association of chronic otitis media and school learning problems, past and current middle ear status in 53 learning-disabled (LD) children was compared to that of 56 control children without learning problems. A history of recurrent otitis media was obtained in 23% of the LD children and in 9% of the control children. Thirty-eight percent of LD children and 16% of control children had hearing abnormalities on pure tone audiometry; 49% of LD children and 21% of control children had abnormal tympanometry. LD children had significantly more middle ear malfunction than control children. Chronic, undetected middle ear problems may play a role in the etiology of some school learning disabilities.

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