Glue-Ear-Information-Pack - Vale of Glamorgan Council

School Improvement and Inclusion Service
Glue Ear
Information Pack
Glue Ear is the most common condition associated with conductive hearing loss in
children. In glue ear the Eustachian tube becomes obstructed so that air cannot enter
the middle ear cavity, resulting in fluid being produced in this cavity. This fluid affects
the movement of the eardrum and the ossicles as it dampens the vibrations made by
sound waves. As time goes by this fluid becomes thicker until it has the consistency of
How common is this condition
This condition can affect 1 in 5 pupils
Glue ear can causeTemporary hearing loss
Delayed speech and language
Behavioural issues
Can impact on educational progress.
Glue ear can be for some children a short term, fluctuating and / or a persistent
Usually children grow out of the condition by the age of 7-8 as the eustachian tube
widens resulting in better drainage of the middle ear. Glue ear can however persist for
some children into secondary school and with other groups of children such as children
with Down’s syndrome.
Glue ear has been described as listening to the TV with the sound turned too low or
trying to hold a conversation in a noisy room. gives an example of
what it is like to hear if you have mild – moderate hearing loss.
Effects of Glue Ear
A pupil may:
Appear dreamy, disruptive, distracted or demanding
Find it difficult to listen and hear quiet speech
Be withdrawn and wait for cues from others in the class
Give the impression of being able to listen when s/he wants too.
Find it difficult to hear when there is background noise
Not hear clearly in a group situation
Have unclear speech
Have a vocabulary delay
Have delayed language and social skills
Be experiencing difficulties acquiring phonics / spellings.
What can the teacher do?
Before speaking attract pupil’s attention.
Face the pupil as much as possible.
Ensure keywords, topic headings and questions are visible.
Use as much visual material as possible.
Position pupils so that their backs are to any windows to facilitate lip reading.
Speak clearly in a normal voice, maintaining a normal rhythm facing the pupil.
Limiting your mobility around the classroom will give a consistent sound level.
Check that instructions are understood.
Repeat / record responses from other pupils.
Repeat, rephrase, explain, simplify and clarify.
Keep noise levels to a minimum - soft furnishings, cushions, blinds and corkboards all
help to absorb sound creating a better acoustic environment.
Allow the pupil to work in quiet areas.
What can the pupil do
Encourage the pupil to:Ask for repetitions and explanations.
Sit in an appropriate place, such as the middle of the room facing the teacher.
Listen carefully.
Curricular Considerations
Phonics ~ can cause particular concern when sounds are similar, such as f/v, t/d, p/b
and c/g – use visual cues such as jolly phonics actions
Spelling Tests ~ discrimination between single words can be difficult, so spelling should
be put in to sentences to provide further clues / meaning.
Mental Arithmetic ~ hearing difficulties between numbers for example six and sixteen
use worksheets / flashcards if appropriate.
Vocabulary ~ use known vocabulary to explain new vocabulary.
Action intervention
If you suspect that a child has a hearing loss Inform parents a GP referral will need to be made to have a hearing test usually in a
community clinic.
If a hearing loss is diagnosed, a permanent loss (sensori neural loss) then the pupil will
be referred to the hospital – audiology department.
If a conductive loss is diagnosed, depending on the degree of loss this will either be
monitored at the local clinic or the pupil will be referred to the local hospital – audiology /
ENT department for hearing aids / grommet insertion.
Autoinflation / Otovent- This is a technique in which a child blows up a special balloon
using their nose and not their mouth. The purpose is to force open the Eustachian tube
and to allow pressure in the middle ear to return to normal allowing fluid in the middle
ear to drain away – details are on the NDCS website.
Pupils who have glue ear usually with appropriate management are able to access the
If there are any further issues then please contact the Service on 01446 709180
Useful website
Action on Hearing Loss website
NDCS - Phone Free phone Helpline 0808 800 8880 for information booklets on
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