Measurement of Physiologic Health for Children

Volume 2, Middle Ear Disease and Hearing Impairment

by Kathleen N. Lohr, Sjoerd Beck, Caren Kamberg, Robert H. Brook, George A. Goldberg

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Four upper respiratory conditions are investigated: middle ear disease (otitis media), hearing loss, tonsillitis, and colds. Data on prevalence and adverse consequences are used in the Health Insurance Experiment (HIE) to investigate the effect of different levels of health insurance on health and quality of care. This volume reviews pertinent medical literature, outlines the HIE definition of the diseases, describes HIE methods for measuring their presence, discusses enrollment results from the HIE population, and lists criteria for good medical care. Illustrative findings include: 11 percent of the children overall had had a middle ear infection within the previous year. Prevalence of current bilateral disease dropped with age, starting at 21 percent for ages 4-5 and decreasing to 9 percent at ages 12-13. Pain and distress and parental worry due to middle ear disease were the more frequently reported impacts. 1.2 percent of 1,464 children were reported as having a hearing deficit. Appendix A contains results for tonsillitis and colds.

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