Objective: To create a literature review between 2011 and June 1, 2015, on advances in otitis media (OM) epidemiology and diagnosis (including relevant audiology studies).
Data Sources: Electronic search engines (PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library) with a predefined search strategy. Review Methods: Articles with appropriate epidemiologic methodology for OM, including acute mastoiditis and eustachian tube dysfunction. Items included OM worldwide and in high-risk populations, OM-related hearing loss, news in OM diagnostics, prenatal risk factors and comorbidities, postnatal risk factors, genetics, microbiological epidemiology, guidelines, and quality of life.
Conclusions: Diagnostic evidence and genetic studies are increasing; guidelines are introduced worldwide; and there is evidence of benefit of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines. New risk factors and comordities are identified in the study period, and quality of life is affected in children and their families.
Implications for Practice: Chronic suppurative OM occurs worldwide and contributes to lifelong hearing loss. Uniform definitions are still lacking and should be provided. An association between HIV and chronic suppurative OM has been found. Tympanometry is recommended for diagnosis, with or without pneumatic otoscopy. Video otoscopy, algorithms, and validated questionnaires may assist clinicians. Childhood obesity is associated with OM. Heritability accounts for 20% to 50% of OM diagnoses. OM-prone children seem to produce weaker immunologic responses to pneumococcal conjugate vaccines. Clinicians tend to individualize treatment without adhering to guidelines.