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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

She can`t hear properly

11/24/2009

Question:

my daughter is 2 and a half years old and can`t seem to hear us when we call her or talk to her unless we are fairly close to her, i took her to the doctor today and he looked in her ears and said she had a dull ear drum in her left ear and that he would send her for an ear test. What is a dull ear drum? I forgot to ask as my daughter was being a little naughty whilst in the room. Her speech is not great either for her age and i am starting to think that it is conected to the fact that she cannot hear properly.

Answer:

It is definitely worth your time to pursue a full evaluation of your daughter's hearing and ear status. It is not rare to find children who may have a mild hearing loss and present with either delayed speech or mistaken signs of inattentiveness. A "dull" eardrum is commonly a term that some physicians may use to describe an eardrum that has fluid behind it. I can't say for sure what your pediatrician was suggesting by describing her eardrum as dull. It would be a simple matter to ask. If there are any concerns or findings of hearing loss and/or speech language delays/issues, then additional information can be obtained by seeking a hearing test (from an audiologist), seeing a speech language pathologist or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat physician). Best of luck.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati