Conductive hearing loss

A guide for parents and carers

Ear care and audiology services

The hearing tests carried out today show that your child has conductive hearing loss.

What does this mean?

This means that your child may find some day to day sounds or conversations difficult to hear, because the sounds can’t travel through their ear because of a blockage.

The ear is separated into 3 sections: outer, middle and inner. The outer ear is what we can see when we look in the ear - we can see up to the ear drum; this is often where wax can build up. The middle section is where the main causes of conductive hearing loss happen; this is normally an air-filled space. The inner ear is where the hearing organ and nerves are.

The results from today’s appointment suggest that there is fluid in the middle part of your child’s ear, behind their ear drum. This is commonly referred to as glue ear or middle ear congestion. This is not an infection, and does not necessarily require antibiotics. However, this fluid can make it more likely to get infections. If your child is unwell please speak to their GP.

How will this affect my child?

A child with conductive hearing loss might:

  • show changes in behaviour, tire easily, have trouble concentrating, get frustrated
  • have delayed or unclear speech and language
  • ask for constant repetition of what’s been said
  • be reluctant to join in with social situations or play
  • have difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise.

The Audiologist may have discussed with you different treatment options based on your child’s hearing loss.

It is important that your child has regular hearing checks, so that we can ensure that the child’s better ear remains good.

Glue ear is a condition which can temporarily mean that your child’s hearing is poorer than normal. Your child will be referred to a specialist if they have glue ear, or need specialist advice.

Will this hearing loss be permanent?

This conductive hearing loss usually gets better by itself. If your child’s hearing improves and gets back to normal or nearly normal, after waiting to see if things improve, we will discharge them from Audiology.

What treatment may be suggested?

After a short time, usually 3 months, we will see them again to check whether or not their hearing loss has got better. It may change; their hearing may get better, stay the same or get worse.

If your child’s condition has not improved or worsened, a referral to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department may be needed. The ENT Doctors will perform a full assessment.

One treatment they may offer is the insertion of grommets or ventilation tubes. This is a short operation to clear the fluid in the middle ear by placing a small tube in their ear. If this becomes a long term issue for your child, hearing aids may also be useful.

One device you can buy to try, is an Otovent. Using this device helps to open and close the tube which links their ear to their nose, to get some air into the middle part of their ear another option is to try and get them to try drinking through a sports-style bottle, for example a fruit shoot bottle, which can help.

What should I do if my child's hearing gets worse?

If you (or your child) notice any changes in their hearing then you must contact us to arrange an appointment so we can see how they are doing.

Is there anything I can do to help my child?

Yes. Ways in which you can help your child include:

  • Make sure that your child has a clear view of your face when you are talking to them and speak clearly. You may wish to tell their teachers at school to do the same.
  • Try to reduce background noise when talking to your child.
  • Make sure everyone who spends time with your child is aware that they may have difficulty with hearing, particularly in noisy surroundings.
  • When at school make sure they sit with their better ear towards the teacher, or near the front of the class.
  • Encourage the use of their hearing aid (if this has been provided for your child).
  • Do not let your child be around cigarette smoke.

What should I do if I have any questions?

If you have any questions about the results of the assessment or this leaflet then please call Ear Care and Audiology on 01709 423415 and ask to speak to an Audiologist. You can also write them down and we’ll discuss them at your next appointment.

The National Deaf Children Society (NDCS) website has more information.

Useful websites and contact numbers

Royal National Institute for Deaf People (previously Action on Hearing Loss)
British Tinnitus Association
Sight and Sound
National Deaf Children Society

Sensory Services Department
01709 822330

01737 247571

How to contact us

For any enquiries please ring one of the following and leave a message with your name and contact number.

01709 423207
01709 423145

Conductive hearing loss - A guide for parents and carers - patient information leaflet
Version: 2.0
Date of review: May 2023
Date of next review: May 2025
© The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

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  • Page last reviewed: 1 May 2024
  • Next review due: 1 May 2025