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Socioeconomic impact of otitis media in North America.

Otitis media (OM) is a common and expensive disease with estimated cost to the health care system in the U.S.A. estimated at 3 to 4 billion dollars and to that of Canada at 600 million dollars per year. Despite the high prevalence rates reported in North America, there remains little censensus about which of the various treatment strategies (medical or surgical) is most clinically effective, which is most cost effective, or which has the most economic and societal impact. Few studies have been conducted comparing the various treatment strategies or analyzing outcome measurement of physiologic end-points relative to the various treatments and quality-of-life issues. This article addresses these problem areas and gives recommendations and guidelines for consideration in the treatment of OM, as well as a review of the literature available.

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