Eighteen healthy, normal hearing (PTA≤15dB, better ear), neurologically intact, 8 to 11-year-old children who had documented histories of middle ear effusion (MEE) before the age of five years were evaluated by a battery of audiological, psychological, language and achievement tests. Each was compared to his/her non-MEE sibling who was tested at the same age. All the children (n = 36) tested in the bright normal range of verbal ability (WISC-R) and none had been diagnosed previously as learning disabled. Paired comparison of sibling data revealed that the effusion subjects had deficits in verbal ability, auditory decoding and spelling skills when compared with their control siblings. Significant strength in visual sequential memory in the MEE subjects suggests the availability of compensatory strategies for auditory deficits. Data analysis on the basis of sex and/or birth order differences could not explain the differences between siblings.
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