Objective — Tympanostomy tube (TT) insertion is the most common ambulatory surgery performed on children. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) recommend hearing testing for all pediatric TT candidates. The aim of this study was to assess audiometric testing in this population.
Study Design — Retrospective population-based cohort study.
Setting — All hospitals in the Canadian province of Ontario.
Subjects and Methods — All patients 12 years of age and younger who underwent at least 1 TT procedure between January 1993 and June 2016. The primary outcomes were the percentage of patients who underwent a hearing test within 1 year before and/or 1 year after surgery.
Results — A total of 316,599 bilateral TT procedures were performed during the study period (1993 to 2016). Presurgical hearing tests increased from 55.7% to 74.9%, and postsurgical hearing tests increased from 42.2% to 68.9%. Younger surgeons demonstrated a greater adherence to the CPGs (relative risk [RR], 1.22; 95% CI, 1.08-1.38; P = .001). Remarkably, there was not a spike in preoperative hearing tests following the introduction of the CPGs in 2013 (RR, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.85-1.47; P = .432). Presurgical hearing testing ranged from 26.1% to 83.5% across health regions.
Conclusion — In this cohort of children who underwent TT placement, the trends of preoperative and postoperative audiometric testing are increasing but are still lower than recommended by the CPGs, despite a tripling of practicing audiologists. This study describes the current state of testing in Ontario and highlights issues of access to audiology services, possible parent preferences, and the importance of ongoing continuing medical education for all health care practitioners.