Published in speld (sa) Autumn 2007 Newsletter

Childhood Conductive hearing loss is usually caused by ear infections known medically as Otitis Media (glue ear), but the condition can be presented WITHOUT infection.

One in three young school-age children will have undetected conductive hearing loss.



Any of the signs below may indicate hearing loss.

  • upset by shouting voices
  • poor school performance
  • lonliness
  • bullying behaviour
  • clumsiness
  • afraid to go to sleep
  • can't remember instructions
  • poor speech development
  • disobedience
  • day dreaming

Trish O'Loughlin reminds us that children are usually unaware that they have a hearing loss, let alone a fluctuating one, and offers the following practical strategies in classroom management for the student with a fluctuating conductive hearing loss.

Classroom strategies
  • Seat the child where she/he can hear and see the teacher and the other children
  • If one ear is better than the other, seat him/her with the better ear towards the source; if both ears are equally affected seat the child with her/his right ear towards the source
  • To get the child’s attention first call his name
  • Make sure she/he is attending before you give instructions, ask a question or give a task
  • Give her time to respond
  • Face her/him within fairly close range, don’t move around too much when you give instructions
  • Use normal language; speak in sentences and phrases (not single words) and avoid ‘ums’ and ‘ers’
  • Have light on your face when you speak – don’t stand with back to window
  • When speaking or reading aloud, be careful not to obscure your mouth with hands or book
  • Encourage him/her to let you know if she/he hasn’t heard or understood – a partner might help
  • Take as much opportunity as you can to work close and individually with the child – daily conversations
  • Rephrase rather than continued repetition
  • Limit the use of photocopied sheets
  • Use visual aids (and background) as much as possible
  • Cue the child into conversations, eg “We were talking …”
  • Be aware of limited use of radio broadcasts, note taking, spelling
  • Be aware of background noise, distracting movements
  • Have a box of tissues available in the classroom and encourage children to blow their noses
General strategies
  • Encourage tolerance
  • If the student wears hearing aids, check function and wearing of aids each day
  • Request that a Sound Field Amplification System be fitted in your classroom. Purchase the video “Sasie” to go with this. The system and video are available from Sharon Page, AHS, 126 Greville Street, Chatswood, NSW 2067.
  • Ask all staff to watch the video “Sasie” as part of a staff meeting
  • Purchase the interactive CD Rom on Otitis Media, “Do you hear what I hear?” – Available from Australian Hearing, PO Box 9848, Perth, WA 6001, or your nearest AHS.


Contributers: Trish O'Loughlin

The Australian Conductive Deafness Association

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