This study aimed to assess how two disease-related factors, hearing disability and ear discharge, affect health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) in patients with chronic otitis media (COM).
Multinational prospective cohort study.
Nine otology referral centers in eight countries.
Adult patients suffering from COM.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Hearing disability and ear discharge were assessed by audiometry (Department of Health and Social Security formula) and otoscopy, respectively. Participants completed a native version of the Chronic Otitis Media Questionnaire-12 (COMQ-12). We determined how the two disease-related factors affect HRQoL by performing two separate analyses: (1) using a 6-item score combining responses to COMQ-12 items independent of hearing loss and ear discharge and (2) using item 12 alone as a proxy for global HRQoL.
This study included 478 participants suffering from COM. There was a significant association between HRQoL and hearing disability in the adjusted analysis. For every unit increase in the Department of Health and Social Security average hearing threshold (1) there was an increase of 0.06 (95% CI [0.007, 0.121], p = 0.0282) in the 6-item score and (2) the adjusted odds of having a higher item 12 score was 1.03 (95% CI [1.01, 1.04], p = 0.0004). There was no association between the presence of ear discharge and HRQoL in both COMQ-12 score analyses.
Knowledge of disease-related factors that influence HRQoL will aid interpretation of patient-reported measures for COM. Patients with a greater degree of hearing impairment appear to have poorer HRQoL, which is not exacerbated by the presence of ear discharge. The magnitude of postoperative hearing improvement rather than the attainment of a dry ear may be a better indicator of surgical success from the patient's perspective.