Background: Tympanostomy with or without adenoidectomy is effective in preventing recurrences of acute otitis media (RAOM), but little is known about the effect of these operations on the quality of life (QOL). We evaluated the efficacy of insertion of tympanostomy tubes with and without adenoidectomy for improving QOL in young children in a controlled, randomized trial.
Methods: QOL was evaluated in the 159 children aged 10 months to 2 years participating in our larger study in which children with RAOM were randomly assigned to receive tympanostomy tubes, tympanostomy tubes with adenoidectomy or neither. The caregiver of the child completed otitis media-specific QOL questionnaires (Otitis Media-6) at entry and after 4 months and 12 months of follow up.
Results: Scores on the global ear-related QOL and the subsets of caregiver concern, emotional distress and physical suffering in the questionnaires improved with time during the follow up, but the groups did not differ from each other.
Conclusions: QOL in children with RAOM improves with time when the subjects are closely followed. Tympanostomy with adenoidectomy does not provide any additional QOL benefit for children with RAOM, even though these operations are effective in preventing further otitis media episodes.