Hearing in children

The importance of good hearing during childhood is key to language development, social development, and progress at school.

Thankfully, most permanent hearing loss that is present when babies are born, is detected with the new-born hearing screening programme.

There are, however, a high proportion of children who develop intermittent, often fluctuating hearing loss, often known as ‘glue ear’. This can usually be detected with a children’s hearing test.


What is glue ear?

Glue ear is essentially when the small middle ear space (usually filled with air), which contains the three tiny middle ear bones, gets filled with a sticky, mucus type fluid.

This restricts the movement of the eardrum and the middle ear bones and effectively reduces the amount of sound which is transmitted to the cochlea in the inner ear.

This can give rise to a hearing loss of between 0 and 40 dB (decibels) which can have a huge impact on a child’s ability to hear. Some common things to look out for with your child if they are experiencing glue ear are:

  • They do not respond to their name
  • Their behaviour deteriorates
  • They say ‘what’ or ‘pardon’ more frequently
  • They appear more tired and unsettled than usual
  • Their speech becomes unclear
  • They often appear that they are not listening
  • They struggle to hear the TV or turn it up/sit close
  • Their teacher notices they are struggling with following instructions
  • They don’t hear well at a distance

Read more in our blog Glue ear – what you need to know

Treatment for glue ear

Glue ear is common and is not something to be unduly concerned about if it is short lived.

If, however, it persists for more than 3 months, it can become problematic. If it persists, there are several strategies which can help.

Our private paediatric audiologist has years of experience working with children with glue ear. Often working with Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) colleagues, or simply monitoring hearing levels and providing support with hearing devices when required, you will be given the most appropriate advice for your child.

At THE HEARING SPACE, our specialist paediatric audiologist can assess your child’s hearing, determining if ‘glue ear’ is present and if so, what impact it is having on your child’s hearing. Advice will be provided depending on your child’s needs.

With many years experience of working with children with additional needs and neurodivergent populations, you can be assured of an age and developmentally appropriate assessment.

As well as using play audiometry and pure tone audiometry, we also can test cochlear function using a similar technique to that used when babies are born. This test is called an Oto-acoustic emission (OAE) test and does not require any co-operation from an infant.

If you would like the space to discuss your child’s hearing, our paediatric audiologist has a wealth of experience to support you.

Please contact us for further information. Contact

T: 0113 8730444

E: hello@thehearingspace.co.uk