The effect of Otitis media on the language acquisition among children: Findings from a systematic review


  • Abdullah AL Sagr King Abdullaziz Medical City of the National Guard, Health affairs, Riyadh 11426, Saudi Arabia,
  • Nora AL Sagr College of Applied Medical Sciences ,King Saud University Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Otitis media, language development, Children, Systematic review


Background: Otitis media (OM) is a widespread infection among children, which might hinder the acquisition of language. A myriad of individual studies has been found in the literature that reveals an inverse association between OM and language acquisition, however, the evidence from such studies is not reviewed and synthesized. Thus, we conducted a systematic review to integrate findings regarding the impact of OM on language acquisition among young children.

Methods: A wide range of electronic bibliographic databases such as PubMed, Embase, and ERIC was searched. Based on the eligibility criteria, all observational studies and one randomized controlled trial conducted from 2000 to 2020 were incorporated in the review. Following screening and assessing the abstracts, we ended up reviewing 11 articles, and data were extracted on important parameters such as country, sample size, study design, time of follow-up, and primary outcomes.

Results: Overall, the findings of the systematic review were mixed. However, the majority of the studies revealed a negative or inverse relationship between OM and various domains of language development among children. Generally, the eligible studies revealed that OM is negatively associated with language acquisition and can affect different domains such as receptive or expressive language. However, there were also some null findings from very limited studies.

Conclusion: The findings of this review may be considered imperative for the clinicians and physicians who treat children with OM because OM is mostly not severe and can be ignored. Given the effects of OM on various language domains, one needs to be vigilant while approaching the child with OM to prevent developing adverse effects of OM on language development.  



How to Cite

AL Sagr , A. ., & AL Sagr, N. (2021). The effect of Otitis media on the language acquisition among children: Findings from a systematic review. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries, 15(1). Retrieved from



Research Articles