Psychosocial outcomes of children with ear infections and hearing problems: a longitudinal study

Hogan, Anthony, Phillips, Rebecca L., Howard, Damien, and Yiengprugsawan, Vasoontara (2014) Psychosocial outcomes of children with ear infections and hearing problems: a longitudinal study. BMC Pediatrics, 14. 65. pp. 1-8.

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There is some evidence of a relationship between psychosocial health and the incidence of ear infections and hearing problems in young children. There is however little longitudinal evidence investigating this relationship. This paper used 6-year prospective longitudinal data to examine the impact of ear infection and hearing problems on psychosocial outcomes in two cohorts of children (one cohort recruited at 0/1 years and the other at 4/5 years).


Data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were analysed to address the research aim. The LSAC follows two cohorts of children (infants aged 0/1 years – B cohort, n = 4242; and children aged 4/5 years – K cohort, n = 4169) collecting data in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. In B cohort at baseline 3.7% (n = 189) of the sample were reported by their parent to have had an ear infection (excluding hearing problems) and 0.5% (n = 26) were reported by their parent to have hearing problems (excluding ear infections). 6.7% (n = 323) of the K cohort were identified as having had an ear infection and 2.0% (n = 93) to have hearing problems. Psychosocial outcomes were measured using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Data were analysed using multivariate analysis of variance and logistic regression, reporting adjusted odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals of the association between reported ear infections (excluding hearing problems)/or hearing problems (excluding ear infections) and psychosocial outcomes.


Children were more likely to have abnormal/borderline psychosocial outcomes at 10/11 years of age if they had been reported to have ongoing ear infections or hearing problems when they were 4/5 years old. When looking at the younger cohort however, poorer psychosocial outcomes were only documented at 6/7 years for children reported to have hearing problems at 0/1 years, not for those who were reported to have ongoing ear infections.


This study adds further evidence that a relationship may exist between repeated ear infections or hearing problems and the long-term psychosocial health of children and provides support for a more systematic investigation of these issues.

Item ID: 38703
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2431
Keywords: hearing; deaf; disability; ear infection; wellbeing; mental health
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© 2014 Hogan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: GlaxoSmithKline
Date Deposited: 13 May 2015 02:33
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111403 Paediatrics @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 100%
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