Suggestions For Children With Middle Ear Problems


  • Look and listen:
    Be sure your child is looking at your face and listening to you when you begin talking to him.
  • Control distance:
    Be sure that you are close to your child when you talk (no farther than 5 feet). The younger the child, the more important it is to be close.
  • Loudness:
    Talk slightly louder than you normally do. Turn off the radio, TV, dishwasher, etc., when you talk (so than he will not be distracted by background noise).
  • Be a good model:
    You will help your child more by giving him good speech models to imitate than by forcing him to talk. For example, if he points and says “car”, expand it by saying “Oh, you want the car. Yes, here’s the little car, it’s a blue car, isn’t it?” This activity increases his vocabulary.
  • Play and listen:
    Set aside parts of each day for “play time” for just you and your child. Talk about books, games, toys, keeping the conversation at his level. When he talks, listen to him quietly and with interest. Try not to interrupt him.
  • Read:
    Good children’s books can be obtained from your library. But even a catalog is a good source of things to tell him about. The pictures are usually grouped into categories like clothes, toys, etc. Staying in one category reduces the confusion a young child has when one switches topics too often.
  • Build vocabulary:
    Make new words and concepts a natural part of every day’s activities.  Teach new words while shopping at the grocery store, taking a walk, washing dishes, etc. Using the new words several times over in a simple sentence speeds learning.
  • Don’t wait. These are the skills your child should have by:
    • 1 ½ years: Uses three words
    • 2 years: Uses 25-30 single words and several 2-word sentences.
    • 2 ½ years: Uses more than 50 words and also uses 2-word sentences consistently.

If he doesn’t have these skills, tell your doctor—he may want to refer you to a speech pathologist for a through language evaluation and to an audiologist for a complete hearing evaluation.