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When ear infections require a hearing test

Ear infections: What parents need to know

Laurie Hanin, Ph.D., CCC-A Executive Director

Laurie Hanin, Ph.D., CCC-A Executive Director

After well-child visits, the most common reason children are seen in a pediatrician’s office is for otitis media, a very common middle ear infection.

When children have otitis media, typically, there is fluid that collects in the middle ear. This fluid, if it remains over a period of a few months, can become a chronic problem leading to hearing loss.

As a treatment for otis media, otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat specialists) often recommend the placement of ear tubes. Ear tubes might be recommended for a child who gets frequent ear infections; frequent is generally considered to mean three or more separate episodes in six months or four or more episodes in one year.

Importance of hearing testing

If ear tubes are recommended for your child, it is extremely important that a hearing test be done before they are placed. If a hearing loss is found, it is also very important that a hearing test be done after. Do not assume that the hearing loss that was present is resolved.

A study recently published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery strongly supports the need for hearing testing under these circumstances. Additional information on this topic can be found in this excellent online article.

If you have a question about ear infections or any other topic related to hearing loss, please she it with us and you will receive a prompt reply from the CHC clinician specializing in that area.

Wishing you a happy and safe back-to-school season!

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