OBJECTIVE: We performed this study to assess whether parental perception of hearing loss predicted the results of audiometric testing in children with recurrent otitis media or persistent otitis media with effusion. METHODS: As part of a larger prospective observational outcomes study of children undergoing tympanostomy tube placement, the child's parent completed a standardized questionnaire before and after tube placement. In addition, patients underwent age-appropriate audiologic threshold and tympanometry testing before and after tube placement. RESULTS: We enrolled 113 patients (median age, 2 years), and 93 (82%) completed follow-up. Before treatment, parental perception of hearing loss did not predict hearing threshold level. After tube placement, parental perception of hearing loss was also poorly correlated with change in threshold. Conclusions: Parental perception of their child's hearing loss is a poor predictor of objective audiologic findings both before and after treatment with tympanostomy tubes. These findings have important implications concerning the importance of screening for hearing loss in children with otitis media with effusion.
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