Diagnosing middle ear pathology in 6-to 9-month-old infants using wideband absorbance: A risk prediction model Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose:The aim of this study was to develop a risk prediction model for detecting middle ear pathology in 6- to 9-month-old infants using wideband absorbance measures. Method:Two hundred forty-nine infants aged 23-39 weeks (Mdn = 28 weeks) participated in the study. Distortion product otoacoustic emissions and high-frequency tympanometry were tested in both ears of each infant to assess middle ear function. Wideband absorbance was measured at ambient pressure in each participant from 226 to 8000 Hz. Absorbance results from 1 ear of each infant were used to predict middle ear dysfunction, using logistic regression. To develop a model likely to generalize to new infants, the number of variables was reduced using principal component analysis, and a penalty was applied when fitting the model. The model was validated using the opposite ears and with bootstrap resampling. Model performance was evaluated through measures of discrimination and calibration. Discrimination was assessed with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC); and calibration, with calibration curves, which plotted actual against predicted probabilities. Results:AUC of the fitted model was 0.887. The model validated adequately when applied to the opposite ears (AUC = 0.852) and with bootstrap resampling (AUC = 0.874). Calibration was satisfactory, with high agreement between predictions and observed results. Conclusions:The risk prediction model had accurate discrimination and satisfactory calibration. Validation results indicate that it may generalize well to new infants. The model could potentially be used in diagnostic and screening settings. In the context of screening, probabilities provide an intuitive and flexible mechanism for setting the referral threshold that is sensitive to the costs associated with true and false-positive outcomes. In a diagnostic setting, predictions could be used to supplement visual inspection of absorbance for individualized diagnoses. Further research assessing the performance and impact of the model in these contexts is warranted.

publication date

  • 2018