The Dragonfly Story

Summary of Conductive Hearing Loss / Otitis Media

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Otitis Media is more commonly known as Middle Ear infection, while CHL/OM may also be experienced by adults, its more common in younger children because immune systems are not as well developed, research has shown that CHL/OM can seriously reduce a young Childs ability to hear clearly from as young as a few days old to their teenage years and beyond, this production in a child’s hearing ability is more commonly known as “Conductive Hearing Loss”. Conductive Hearing Loss may impact on a Childs social, emotional, physical and educational development, research has found that the occurrence of CHL/OM is considerably higher in Indigenous children than non Indigenous children.  While its difficult to indentify all of the factors which contribute to a higher incident rate in Indigenous children, it is suggested under nutrition, crowded living conditions, lack of medical attention and the exposure to passive smoking may contribute to a higher incidence rate in Indigenous children.  Research in the United States have shown that non Indigenous children who attend child care centres are up to 5 times more at risk of experiencing repetitive CHL/OM, while the impact of CHL/OM is now more readily recognised, it may still go undetected. As a consequence all care givers who work with children must be aware of how to recognise CHL/OM and the types of intervention strategies which can be employed, CHL/OM due to Otitis Media will not be resolved by medical intervention alone, it requires a community approach including:

  • Audiologists
  • Schools
  • Families
  • Health Workers
  • Medical Workers
  • Speech Pathologists

The potential of CHL/OM is still going undetected may be due to a number of reasons:

Difficultly in recognising the signs and symptoms of CHL/OM

  • Limited access to support personnel
  • Needed test and treat children with IM, particularly in rule and remote areas; and
  • Coping strategies develop by the child which may mask the difficulties they are having.