Accompanying Conditions  Hearing Impairments

Otitis Media, Hearing & Language Development

This information is provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Otitis media is an inflammation in the middle ear (the area behind the eardrum) that is usually associated with a buildup of fluid. The fluid may or may not be infected.

Symptoms, severity, frequency, and length of the condition vary. At one extreme is a single short period of thin, clear, non-infected fluid without any pain or fever but with a slight decrease in hearing ability. The other extreme is repeated bouts with infection, thick "glue-like" fluid, and possible complications such as permanent hearing loss.

Damage from otitis media places a child at greater risk of continued language delay.

Fortunately, with early identification, serious medical complications can be controlled with medicine or surgery. However, there is one problem that nearly always occurs with all types of otitis media - fluctuating hearing loss.

Hearing Impairment is usually diagnosed by an audiologist. A hearing screening is usually used at the school to identify students who may have this disability, but careful and more extensive evaluations must be done by an audiologist for a child to be considered to have a Hearing Impairment.

Frequently Asked Questions


Equipment and Devices:

Assistive Technology from the Parents Let's Unite for Kids (PLUK) website.

Cochlear Implant Association, Inc. is "a non-profit organization for cochlear implant recipients, their families, professionals, and other individuals interested in cochlear implants. The Association provides support and information and access to local support groups for adults and children who have cochlear implants, or who are interested in learning about cochlear implants. We also advocate for the rights of and services for people with hearing loss."


Deaf and Speech Resources from The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto.

Online Sign Language Dictionary


Hearing Exchange online support group

Hearing Loss Resources worldwide forum for people with hearing loss


National Institute on Deafness and other Hearing Disorders

Inclusive Techonology list of support organizations for the hearing impaired


Signing Time -  An American Sign Language (ASL) Video for Children (Vol. 1)
Sign Language Products
(books, flash cards, music, videos)

Books for Parents and Professionals