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Keywords:

  • cleft palate;
  • otitis media with effusion;
  • chronic otitis media;
  • cholesteatoma;
  • ventilation tubes;
  • hearing

Otitis media with effusion (OME) is common among children with cleft palate, and may lead to such long-term consequences as hearing loss, tympanic membrane retraction, and chronic otitis media (COM). In total, 104 children with cleft lip and/or palate treated for OME at our institution were reviewed. Mean duration of follow-up was 6.9 years, and mean age at latest follow-up was 9.6 years. The incidence of COM was 19%, and the incidence of cholesteatoma was 1.9%. Ears showing such long-term sequelae of OME as hearing loss, tympanic membrane retraction, and chronic otitis media, were noted to have undergone a significantly greater number of ventilation tube insertions than ears not showing these sequalae. Our findings would suggest that a conservative approach to the management of OME in children with cleft palate is more likely to be beneficial in the long term.