Otitis Media and Language Development

Susan Rvachew Christina Tausch

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Otitis Media and Language Development

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  • Otitis media (OM) includes all conditions involving fluid or inflammation in the middle-ear space. The fluid causes temporary hearing loss, and there is concern about subsequent language impairment because OM is most likely to occur early in life during critical periods for auditory system and speech perception development. Research indicates that the relationship between OM and language development is complex: OM impacts are mediated by the child's access to the language environment via pathways that are both direct (i.e., child hearing and auditory function factors) and indirect (i.e., child attentional and parental input factors). Furthermore, there may be interactions with genetic risk for OM itself as well as speech and language disorders.

    Research regarding these complex pathways is hampered by the difficulty describing a given child's ...

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