Casselbrant ML, Redfern MS, Furman JM, Fall PA, Mandel EM
Children with otitis media with effusion (OME) have been shown to have a significantly higher velocity of sway than normal children. To further evaluate the effect of OME on balance, we studied visual dependency for balance by investigating the influence of optic flow on postural sway. The results of this preliminary study suggest that children with OME may be more visually dependent for balance than healthy age-matched controls. This was particularly evident for higher-frequency stimulus conditions (0.25 Hz) as opposed to lower-frequency stimulus conditions (0.10 Hz). These findings indicate that OME may affect vestibular function in children, thereby causing excessive reliance on other, nonvestibular sensory cues to maintain balance. Further studies are needed to define the role of vestibular function in the management of children with OME.
Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.