Prevalence of tympanometric alterations in children with chronic sinusitis

Gualtiero Leo, Elena Piacentini, Cristoforo Incorvaia, Dario Consonni, Alessandro Cazzavillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Due to its anatomical and functional connections, middle ear disorders frequently occur in sinusitis. Its prevalence, however, is likely to be underestimated. We evaluated the prevalence of middle ear dysfunction, as assessed by tympanometry, in children with chronic sinusitis in a large group of patients with chronic respiratory symptoms, and its possible relationship with respiratory allergy. Methods: From a population of 1810 children with respiratory symptoms referred to our Pediatric Allergy center, subjects with chronic sinusitis diagnosed by clinical criteria were selected. Children underwent testing of middle ear function by tympanometry and of allergy by skin tests with environmental allergens. Patients were divided into three groups according to age. Results: Two hundred and eighty-eight children (15.9%) had clinical diagnosis of chronic sinusitis according to the established criteria. Twenty-four patients were in group 1, 220 in group 2, and 44 in group 3. Altered middle ear pressure was found in 76.4% of patients, with a significantly higher rate of altered tympanograms in younger children (p <0.001). A positive skin prick test was found in 29.9% of children, with a significantly higher rate of positivity in older children (p = 0.01). Conclusions: The decrease with age in the rate of tympanometric alterations is likely to be associated to the anatomic development of the upper airways, while the presence of atopy does not seem to play a role in their occurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-319
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Atopy
  • Middle ear dysfunction
  • Sinusitis
  • Tympanogram

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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