Otitis media with effusion (OME, 'glue ear')

Otitis media with effusion: a project to prioritise Cochrane systematic reviews


Otitis media with effusion (OME, or ‘glue ear’) is a common condition in early childhood. It typically causes hearing loss in one or both ears, which can impact on speech and language development.

In 2020, Cochrane formally scoped and prioritised this topic area. 

The overall aims of the project were to:

  • identify current interventions for OME;
  • identify randomised controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and guidelines relating to these interventions for OME;
  • work with stakeholders to agree the priorities for new or updated Cochrane reviews in this area.

The final report* of the project can be downloaded here

We have prioritised the following topics for new systematic reviews and work is in progress:

  • Grommets (ventilation tubes) +/- myringotomy for otitis media with effusion
  • Grommets +/- adenoidectomy for otitis media with effusion
  • Autoinflation for otitis media with effusion
  • Antibiotics for otitis media with effusion
  • Topical steroids for otitis media with effusion

*The final report (November 2020) was revised in July 2021 to provide more details of the stakeholder panel.