Strategies for Children with Persistent Middle Ear Effusion
If fluid is in the middle ear and the ear is not infected, it is called otitis media with effusion (OME).
OME may occur in two ways. One way is if the fluid in the middle ear is slow to clear out after an ear infection. OME may also occur without any infection if the Eustachian tube is not properly working. When it works properly, this tube brings air to the middle ear. Young children and children with cleft palate or Down syndrome may have more problems with OME.
The presence of fluid in the middle ear reduces the middle ear's ability to conduct sound. The eardrum and middle ear bones cannot vibrate as they should, making sound seem "muffled." This temporary hearing loss may contribute to speech and/or language delay or other developmental delays. Therefore, children with temporary hearing problems due to OME would benefit from attention to listening, language and learning conditions.
Below are strategies to help your child continue to listen and learn during this period of temporary hearing loss.