Globally, there are an estimated 31 million episodes of chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) every year, with 22 per cent of cases affecting children under five years of age. Prevalence varies widely between countries, but the condition disproportionately affects people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.
Many people who are affected by CSOM do not have good access to specialised ear care – a significant problem that attracted the attention of Cochrane ENT, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and others which produces systematic reviews of healthcare treatments around the world.
In a bid to address the issue, Cochrane ENT prioritised the production of systematic reviews on non-surgical treatments for CSOM – a call that was met by Dr Chris Brennan-Jones, who led an international collaborative group to complete a total of seven reviews.
In a rare honour, these reviews were released as a ‘Special Collection’ to mark World Hearing Day 2021. Funded by the NHMRC, the reviews were profiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) and resulted in Telethon Kids being admitted as a full member of the WHO World Hearing Forum in 2019. The team’s research was also cited in the WHO World Hearing Report 2021, informing the approach to prevention and treatment of otitis media globally.