Diagnosing Middle Ear Dysfunction in 10- to 16-Month-Old Infants Using Wideband Absorbance: An Ordinal Prediction Model Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose The aim of this study was to develop an ordinal prediction model for diagnosing middle ear dysfunction in 10- to 16-month-old infants using wideband absorbance. Method Wideband absorbance, tympanometry, and distortion product otoacoustic emissions were measured in 358 ears of 186 infants aged 10-16 months (M age = 12 months). An ordinal reference standard (normal, mild, and severe middle ear dysfunction) was created from the tympanometry and distortion product otoacoustic emission results. Absorbance from 1000 to 5657 Hz was used to model the probability of middle ear dysfunction with ordinal logistic regression. Model performance was evaluated using measures of discrimination (c-index) and calibration (calibration curves). Performance measures were adjusted for overfitting (bias) using bootstrap resampling. Probabilistic and simplified methods for interpreting the model are presented. The probabilistic method displays the probability of ≥ mild and ≥ severe middle ear dysfunction, and the simplified method presents the condition with the highest probability as the most likely diagnosis (normal, mild, or severe middle ear dysfunction). Results The c-index of the fitted model was 0.919 (0.914 after correction for bias), and calibration was satisfactory for both the mild and severe middle ear conditions. The model performed well for the probabilistic method of interpretation, and the simplified (most likely diagnosis) method was accurate for normal and severe cases but diagnosed some cases with mild middle ear dysfunction as normal. Conclusions The model may be clinically useful, and either the probabilistic or simplified paradigm of interpretation could be applied, depending on the context. In situations where the main goal is to identify severe middle ear dysfunction and ease of interpretation is highly valued, the simplified interpretation may be preferable (e.g., in a screening clinic that may not be concerned about missing some mild cases). In a diagnostic clinical environment, however, it may be beneficial to use the probabilistic method of interpretation.

publication date

  • 2019