Does your child get a lot of ear infections?
Ear infections are more common in children, but some are more prone to them than others.
Either way, they can be distressing.
It’s hard to see your child in distress from the pain of an ear infection, and you may wonder if they’re causing any other effects.
It’s possible, if your child has had ear infections at important parts of their development, for them to have challenges with their language and speech.
No one wants to see their child behind on hitting their developmental milestones.
If you’re concerned this may be happening, don’t fret too much.
Here at Voz Speech Therapy in Washington DC, we’re here to help.
How can you tell if your child has ear infections and subsequent language delays?
Let’s talk a bit more about how this could occur.
What Is An Ear Infection?
When viruses or bacteria make it into your inner ear, you could develop an ear infection.
Your ear has three parts – the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.
Ear infections develop in your middle ear, which is the space behind your eardrum.
When children get ear infections their eardrum can fill with pus and swell, causing pain.
You have tubes that connect your middle ear to the back of your throat called your Eustachian tubes.
Your Eustachian tubes are important because they allow fluid to drain into your throat instead of accumulating in your ear.
Infections occur when fluid doesn’t drain properly.
This can cause viruses or bacteria to grow inside of the ear.
Why Do Some Kids Get A Lot Of Ear Infections?
Kids are known to get more ear infections than adults.
That’s because their Eustachian tubes are shorter, making it easier for viruses and bacteria to enter their middle ear.
They also have larger glands behind their noses, which can interfere with drainage.
These structures are called your adenoids, and may get in the way of the Eustachian tubes’ openings.
Bottle feeding and being around other children can put kids at greater risk for ear infections, as well as being around second hand smoke.
Infections go around especially in the cold winter months when people are staying indoors.
If your child gets an upper respiratory infection during these months they could be at greater risk of developing a secondary ear infection.
Children with Down syndrome are also known to be more prone to ear infections.
This is partially due to their unique facial structure.
How Do You Know It’s An Ear Infection?
While ear pain is the main symptom of an ear infection in your child, there are other signs that can point to the pain being from an infection.
A fever might indicate an ear infection, and you may notice them pulling at their ear to try to get relief from the pain.
Your child might also have difficulty drinking, sleeping, and eating.
That’s because pressure involved in all these things (like lying down, chewing, and swallowing) can cause even more pain.
Loss of balance can also indicate an ear infection, rather than just fluid buildup in the inner ear.
Why Do Ear Infections Cause Speech Delay?
The first years of your child’s life are considered some of the most crucial for language learning and development.
Your child will be listening to the sounds you make to learn what sounds they need for speech.
If your child gets a lot of ear infections and fluid buildup, they may have trouble hearing things properly during this vital learning period.
Usually hearing loss during an ear infection is temporary, but if they occur often the effects can add up.
In severe cases if your child has a lot of ear infections they could develop permanent hearing damage.
Your child could experience speech delays if they have had enough ear infections to affect their hearing and language development.
How Can A Speech Therapist Help?
A speech therapist can help your child bridge the gap they may have experienced during ear infection related hearing loss.
Our speech therapists will work with your child to catch up on any developmental milestones they may have missed.
They can test your child’s language skills to figure out where they’re at.
If your child is having trouble speaking, a trained speech therapist will have the tools to help.
They’ll also be able to give your family tips and tricks you can try at home to make up for any ear infection related delays in your child’s speech.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
Are you concerned that your kiddo might be struggling with speech related side effects from their recurrent ear infections?
We’re here to help your family get the assistance you need for your child’s speech.
Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to get started with us.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.