The relationship between the occurrence of otitis media during the first 3 years of life and cognitive, academic, and classroom performance during the third year of elementary school was evaluated in 44 socioeconomically disadvantaged children. The children attended a research day-care program where their otitis media experience and psychoeducational development were documented prospectively from birth. No significant relationship was found between otitis media in early childhood and performance on tests of verbal intelligence or academic achievement in the third year of school. The number of days of otitis media before 3 years of age was significantly correlated with teachers' ratings of children's attentional behavior in the classroom, however. Children with more early otitis media tended to be rated as less task oriented and less able to work independently than children with less otitis media. This was an exploratory study of a small number of children. Further study of the potential association is needed.