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This study aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of wideband acoustic absorbance testing in otitis media with effusion.
This prospective study compared middle-ear wideband acoustic absorbance rates in three paediatric patient groups: a healthy group of 34 volunteers; 48 patients diagnosed with otitis media with effusion; and 28 patients with chronic effusion but no sign of effusion during myringotomy. The diagnostic value of absorbance testing was analysed with the receiver operating characteristic test.
The wideband acoustic absorbance rate was significantly lower in the otitis media with effusion group than in both the otitis media and healthy groups at the 0.375–2 kHz averaged mean absorbance (p < 0.017 and p < 0.001, respectively). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed the highest diagnostic value for the 0.375–2 kHz averaged mean (area under the curve 0.984), followed by those at 1 and 1.5 kHz (area under the curve: 0.973 and 0.967, respectively).
The wideband acoustic absorbance test is more accurate for detecting middle-ear effusion compared with conventional 226-Hz tympanometry. Its practicality and objectivity suggest that the wideband acoustic absorbance test may be a better alternative for diagnosing otitis media with effusion.
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