Conservative treatment for otitis media with effusion (OME) led us to consider the use of hearing aids as a way of managing the associated hearing loss. This study aimed to assess the compliance of patients and acceptance of hearing aids for the management of children with OME.
Thirty-nine children who had been given binaural hearing aids to manage OME were assessed at routine follow-up after six months. A clinician who did not prescribe the aid administered a questionnaire to assess compliance, change in symptoms and acceptance of the aids.
Thirty-eight parents thought the aids were easy to use and 25 (66 per cent) were completely satisfied with the management. Aided hearing improved by a mean of 17 dB (Range 10–30) over three frequencies, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 Khz and all parents reported subjective hearing improvement in their children. The stigma of an aid was reported as minimal under the age of seven.
Hearing aids provide a non-invasive way of managing the problems associated with OME which is acceptable to certain parents and children. Long-term effects of using aids need to be evaluated before they can be recommended.