Preventing children’s hearing loss nothing to be sniffled at

WITH winter chills fast approaching, Clarence Valley hearing support teachers are warning that running noses may bring more problems than a bin full of tissues: a running nose can be a sign of problems leading to hearing loss.

Not only can hearing loss reduce enjoyment of life, it interferes with students' ability to learn.

Otitis media, sometimes known as 'glue ear', is a middle ear disease that can affect up to 30% of children entering kindergarten.

In a bid to catch it early and reduce the chances of long term damage to hearing and learning, local hearing teachers are continuing to raise awareness about otitis media as well as combating the problem with simple steps that every child can use.

As part of their campaign, the North Coast Support Teachers for Conductive Hearing Loss will be conducting their 17th Annual Otitis Media Awareness Day in conjunction with Community Health of Grafton and Maclean, and Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Service.

They will be offering free ear health checks to pre-school and school-aged children at Grafton Shopping World on Thursday, June 18 (10am-5pm).

"Taking part in Otitis Media Awareness Day has helped many parents pick up on a problem their child may have," said Beverly Walls, Support Teacher.

"Our professionals can quickly refer them for a full hearing test and medical advice."

Ms Walls said schools and support teachers also employ a number of strategies to reduce the impact of otitis media.

"We teach young children about the importance of good nose blowing and hand washing techniques and promote the eating of crunchy, raw, fresh fruit and vegetables to enhance respiratory health and reduce the incidence of middle ear disease," she said.

"Drinking water and regular exercise is also important."

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