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Most of us take our hearing for granted and believe that others hear the same things we do.

For many people, particularly children, this may not be true. A number of young children may experience some degree of conductive hearing loss due to otitis media, more commonly known as middle ear infection or glue ear.

It has been suggested that the hearing problems associated with conductive hearing loss may impact on Indigenous children in a number of ways (see, for example, Couzos, Metcalfe & Murray, 2001: Williams & Jacobs, 2009)2.

Otitis media results in reduced hearing which may last for a period of a few days or as long as three months from one episode. In chronic cases hearing may never return to normal. It is generally recognised that multiple episodes of hearing loss may lead to some or all of the following:

  • speech and hearing delays;
  • educational and behavioural problems, and
  • permanent hearing loss.

It is critical that schools, parents / caregivers, health workers, medical service personnel, speech pathologists, audiologists and other community groups all work together to promote an awareness of conductive hearing loss / otitis media and its effect on children’s educational development.

We encourage all educators and other support agencies to take the time to familiarise themselves with this website and to incorporate the information into planning and daily teaching practice to ensure that the needs of students experiencing conductive hearing loss are met.

2 Couzos, S., Metcalf, S., & Murray, R. (2001). Systematic review of existing evidence and primary care guidelines on the management of Otitis Media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
Williams, C., & Jacobs, A. (2009). The impact of otitis media on cognitive and educational outcomes. Medical Journal of Australia, 191(9), S69 – S72.