Eustachian tube dysfunction and Otitis Media.
Your eustachian tube runs from your middle ear to the back of the nose/throat. It regulates the pressure in your middle ear. It is what you “pop” when you change altitude; like going up a mountain or flying. If this tube becomes blocked or infected, it can cause eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). Children are more prone to ETD because their Eustachian tubes are small. Their Eustachian tubes also have a flatter orientation from the middle ear to the nose throat area.This means they block up more easily. Children also have more frequent colds and sinus infections, which are direct causes of ETD. Large tonsils and adenoids can also impinge on the Eustachian tube.
ETD can cause fluctuating hearing levels and affect the clarity of sound. For young children this can impact on speech and language development. For preschoolers and children in Infant school this can also impact on listening and attention; particularly in noisy environments such as a classroom.
Otitis Media (ear infections) is also a common cause of hearing loss in young children. You can read more on the Otitis Media Factsheet.