Absorbance data for early school-aged children was measured to determine whether absorbance differs significantly between Caucasian/Chinese children and male/female children. The results showed that gender and ear did not have influence on the absorbance; however, Chinese children showed higher absorbance over the mid frequency range than their Caucasian counterparts. The authors then compared the normative paediatric absorbance data with the measurements taken from children with abnormal middle ear conditions. One-hundred-forty-four normal ears were compared with 30 ears with mild negative middle ear pressure, 24 ears with severe negative middle ear pressure and 42 ears with middle ear effusions. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses showed that absorbance measurements above 800 Hz were better at identifying middle ear effusions than absorbance measurements below 800Hz. The 1250 Hz region showed the largest sensitivity and specificity to diagnosing middle ear effusions of 96% and 95% respectively.