Call 1300 HEARING or (03) 9326 2231
Call: 1300 HEARING or (03) 9326 2231

Hearing Loss in Children- Spotlight on Otitis Media

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:58:34 PM Australia/Melbourne

Here at Hearlink, we aim to identify hearing issues as early on as possible, so that we can remediate them quickly and with minimal detriment to our patient’s day-to-day lives.


We see a lot of younger patients, whose ears are particularly susceptible to conditions based on excessive noise in their daily environments. One of the most prominent sources of hearing loss for children is otitis media.


Hearing Loss in Children- Spotlight on Otitis MediaOtitis media is an inflammation, which takes place behind the eardrum in the middle ear. It’s normally associated with infected or non-infected fluid buildup. There are three tiny bones in the middle ear that carry the sound vibrations from the eardrum directly to the inner ear. If there is fluid present, then these vibrations cannot be effectively transmitted, hence sound energy is lost. This hearing loss runs the gamut, and can cause hearing to be muffled. In general, this hearing loss is temporary. However, if otitis media is diagnosed repeatedly, then the damage to the eardrum is compacted and amplified.


Additionally, the first few years are absolutely crucial for children to learn to form noises and sounds, partly based on the noises that they hear. So while otitis media doesn’t directly cause speech pediments, it can impact speech development and the experience of learning the native language.


There are a lot of variables with otitis media. These include the length, the frequency, the symptoms and the severity. One end of the spectrum is a short, single period with clear, thin fluid that’s not infected. With this degree there is no fever or pain, just a slight reduction in hearing ability. This can be just as dangerous because without present fever or pain, months can go by without correct diagnosis. The other end of the spectrum entails regular recurrences of an infection with a thick fluid in the ear and potential complications including but not limited to permanent hearing loss.


Otitis media is the most frequently identified hearing impediment in both infants and younger children. Approximately 75% have experienced otitis media at least once before they turn three-years-old. Up to 50% of this group will have more than three ear infections leading up to their third birthday.


So why is it so common? The catalyst is the Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube is the passage that runs between the middle ear and the back of your throat. In children, this passage is much more narrow. Because it’s so narrow, it’s much easier for it to become blocked by infections and other conditions like large adenoids.


So what are the signs to look for if you’re trying to diagnose otitis media? There are several symptoms to look for. These include inattentiveness, listlessness, unexplained irritability, a need to listen to music or the television at a louder volume than usual and either pulling or scratching at ears.


When in doubt, reach out to any of the Hearlink team. We’ll be able to identify the issue at hand and help treat it in a timely manner.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin