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September 8, 1999

Otitis Media—The Pharyngeal Connection

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle.

JAMA. 1999;282(10):987-989. doi:10.1001/jama.282.10.987

Otitis media (OM) is one of the most common disorders of childhood. Annual health care costs for treatment of OM in children younger than age 6 years are estimated at $5 billion.1 Frequent episodes of OM in infancy are associated with developmental delay and lower IQ scores.2 Despite advances in therapy, recurrent OM remains a challenging clinical problem. Factors predisposing to OM are viral upper respiratory tract infection, exposure to large numbers of children (either at home or in day care), male sex, lack of breastfeeding, smoking in the home, low socioeconomic status, and genetic background.3