• Mitchell, K;

BATOD Foundation

Abstract / Introduction

Many children will have Glue Ear before they start school.  This will clear in most cases and intervention will not be needed.  For some children however, Glue Ear can be persistent, resulting in a hearing loss that can impact speech and language development and adversely affect listening and behaviour.

This MESHGuide has been designed to give a greater understanding about Glue Ear, how it can be diagnosed and appropriate interventions that might be considered.  There is a high incidence of Glue Ear in pre-school children and the results of epidemiology studies are included. Young children can become frustrated because they are unable to hear speech clearly and their speech and language may be delayed as a result of a temporary hearing loss caused by Glue Ear.  There is a need for greater awareness of the symptoms of Glue Ear in pre-school and nursery settings to ensure that appropriate intervention takes place and strategies to minimise the impact of a hearing loss are used.

This guide has been written to provide Teachers of the Deaf access to relevant research, publications and information that may be useful for training.  For parents, the guide provides a useful overview with links to current NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) Guidelines and advice about ways to help.  It is hoped that the Guide will be used by staff in pre-schools and nurseries to promote a greater awareness of the significant impact that Glue Ear can have on learning in the early years.

Strength of Evidence

Epidemiology studies for Glue Ear took place in the 1980s and 90s and the high incidence of Glue Ear in the early years was well documented.  More recent studies in the UK have confirmed these findings and the seasonal variation of Glue Ear is evidenced in research and attendance at hearing assessment clinics.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation, which provides national guidelines to promote good health.  The NICE guidelines for Glue Ear are based on research and professional advice.

Further case studies are welcomed to highlight the impact of Glue Ear and the benefits of different  interventions.  Please send these to:

Transferability across countries and settings

Studies suggest that Glue Ear is experienced by children around world.  Protocols and funding for treatments will vary, however an awareness that a child has Glue Ear is vital.  Strategies can be used to minimise the impact of a temporary hearing loss and steps can be taken to improve the listening environment to promote speech access.

Date of publication
18 Dec 2018
Date of revision
18 Dec 2020
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