Does Otitis Media Precipitate Auditory Processing Disorder Earlier Than We Can Detect?
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As science continues to break ground on new information, medical practices are constantly adapting and evolving. Often times in the medical field there is a lack of consensus as far as the proper approach to treating a patient. A key factor in determining the correct medical approach is not only assessing the current effects of treatment, but also how it will affect the patient in the future. Different procedures produce different outcomes, and as a result, there are many topics that are heavily debated within the medical community. One such field in which there is discord among medical professionals is the treatment of children with hearing and other ear related issues. It is generally acknowledged that otitis media (OM), inflammation of the middle ear, frequently has a temporary effect on a child’s hearing. What is not agreed upon, however, is the long term effect of OM on a child’s auditory processing system. Based upon research that has been conducted over the past twenty years, there is strong reason to believe that there is, in fact, a correlation between OM and a child’s ability to process auditory information and speech later on in life. Understanding this to be true is a critical component in establishing the proper treatment of a child with OM- and thus ensuring that a child at risk of developing an auditory processing disorder later in life does not go undetected. This honors thesis will explore the association between otitis media and central auditory processing disorder.
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