The effect of otitis media and quality of daycare on children's language development

Lynne Vernon-Feagans, Diana C. Emanuel, Ingrid Blood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to understand whether experience with otitis media (OM) early in life affected hearing levels of children as well as whether it affected the language development of children at 24 months of age. This study followed 67 daycare-attending infants for several years, performing weekly ear examinations by a nurse and physician and regular hearing testing. The Sequenced Inventory of Communication Development (SICD) was administered to all children at 24 months of age. Children were divided into chronic and non-chronic OM groups. In addition, half the children were in high quality daycare and half were in low quality daycare. Results suggested that children in low quality daycare with chronic OM performed more poorly on the expressive portion of the SICD in comparison to non-chronic children in low quality care. There were no differences on SICD performance for the OM groups in high quality care. Children with chronic OM also showed a hearing loss during episodes of OM while children with non-chronic or infrequent episodes did not show a hearing loss even during bouts of OM. Findings suggest that chronic OM may have adverse effects only when there is a hearing loss associated with OM and children are in a suboptimal environment, like low quality childcare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-409
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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