Balance Disturbances in Children with Middle Ear Effusions
Avishay Golz, Batia Angel-Yeger, Henri Zvi Joachims, Aviram Netzer, S. Parush
Dept. of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Rambam Medical Center and Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa
Vertigo and dizziness are not common complaints in childhood, but probably present more often than has been thought. These symptoms, caused mainly by otitis media (OM) and middle ear effusion (MEE), are 2 of the most common diseases in children, and until recently had long been neglected in the literature and in practice. We determined objectively the incidence of balance-related symptoms in children with long-lasting MEE, and resolution following insertion of ventilation tubes (VT). 36 children, aged 4-9 years, were studied using electronystagmography (ENG) and the Bruininks-Oseretsky tests for motor proficiency, before and after ventilation of the middle ear. Results were compared to those in 74 healthy children with no history of middle ear disease. Abnormal ENG findings were found in 58%, and 71% had low Bruininks-Oseretsky (BO) test scores. The ENG was abnormal in only 3 of the controls, 1 of whom also had low BO test scores. The symptoms and signs of balance disturbances resolved in 96% following VT insertion. These results indicate that balance-related symptoms often encountered in young children may result from chronic MEE, and that they resolve following evacuation of the effusion and ventilation of the middle ear.