Oral or topical nasal steroids for hearing loss associated with otitis media with effusion in children

Author(s): Butler C, van der Voort J



Otitis media with effusion (OME) is common and may cause hearing loss with associated developmental delay. Treatment remains controversial. The effectiveness of both systemic and topical intranasal steroids in promoting the resolution of effusions has been assessed by randomised controlled trials.


To examine evidence for or against treating children with hearing loss associated with OME with systemic or topical intranasal steroids.

Search methods

Searches were conducted in January 2002. We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register using the terms 'otitis media', 'otitis media with effusion', 'glue ear', or 'OME', and 'steroids', 'glucocorticoids, synthetic', 'glucocorticoids, topical', 'anti‐inflammatory agents, steroidal'. EMBASE and MEDLINE were also searched for additional information.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials of oral and topical intranasal steroids, either alone or in combination with another agent such as an antibiotic, were included. Exclusions: publications in abstract form only since adequate appraisal was not possible; uncontrolled, non‐randomised or retrospective studies; studies reporting outcomes with ears (rather than children) as the unit of analysis unless data were of sufficient detail to allow analysis by child.

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