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Olfactory function in Australian Aboriginal children and chronic Otitis Media

Armstrong, J.E., Laing, D.G., Wilkes, F.J. and Laing, O.N. (2008) Olfactory function in Australian Aboriginal children and chronic Otitis Media. Chemical Senses, 33 (6). pp. 503-507.

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Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM), a severe form of middle ear infection, affects most Australian Aboriginal children with up to 50% in some communities suffering hearing loss as a consequence. To date, there is no information on whether repeated exposure to the pathogens that characterize CSOM and that are present in the upper respiratory airway affect olfactory function. Accordingly, this study aimed to determine whether 1) there was a high prevalence of olfactory loss in Aboriginal children and 2) hearing loss is a predictor of olfactory loss. Two hundred and sixty one 9- to 12-year-old Aboriginal children from 16 rural communities reported to have high prevalences of CSOM and hearing loss were assessed for olfactory loss using a 16-odor identification test and hearing loss. One child was found to be anosmic, 4 were slightly hyposmic, and 42 had hearing loss. No relationship was found between olfactory loss and hearing loss. The test-retest reliability of the 16-odor identification test was 0.98. It was concluded that CSOM does not appear to affect olfactory function in the long term and that hearing loss in Aboriginal children is not a predictor of olfactory loss.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Copyright: The Authors
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