The psychosocial impact of hearing aids in children with otitis media with effusion.
BACKGROUND: In children, otitis media with effusion is treated using grommets or hearing aids. Parents considering treatment options express concerns regarding the psychosocial impact of hearing aids in terms of self-esteem and bullying. This study assessed the psychosocial impact of hearing aid use. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was undertaken comparing hearing aid users to non hearing aid users with regard to their attitudes towards hearing aids. All subjects, who had been diagnosed with otitis media with effusion, were aged less than 16 years, were without disability and attended mainstream schools. A questionnaire was designed and utilised. RESULTS: The study comprised 47 children with hearing aids and 50 with grommets. Significant between-group differences (p < 0.05) were noted with regard to perceptions related to bullying, feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment. The overall negative perceptions of non hearing aid users were not reported by hearing aid users. CONCLUSION: Children with hearing aids do not suffer from bullying or low self-esteem to the extent perceived by parents. This information is useful for informed decisions regarding treatment of otitis media with effusion.