The effect of otitis media on emerging language was examined in a group of 1-year-olds. Based on pneumatic otoscopy, 15 babies were considered to be free of otitis media in both ears at 80% or more of their first year medical visits (otitis free) and 12 infants had bilaterally positive otoscopy results at 30% or more of their visits (otitis positive). Outcome measures at 1 year included the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (Bayley, 1969) and the Sequenced Inventory of Communication Development (SICD; Hedrick, Prather, & Tobin, 1984) Receptive and Expressive scales. No significant differences were detected on either the Bayley or the SICD Receptive scale. However, the otitis positive group exhibited significantly lower expressive language scores than the otitis free group, suggesting that impairments in language expression may be evident as early as 1 year of age in children with otitis media.
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