Information for Parents and Carers

Ear disease is serious and can cause loss of hearing forever

Page last updated: 16 December 2013

Printable version of Parent and Carers brochure - PDF 2MB

Strong hearing, strong start.

  • We all want kids to have a strong start to life.
  • When kids' ears are healthy, their hearing is strong.
  • With strong hearing from birth, kids' brains can develop properly.
  • Kids are not born with ear infections but they can get an ear infection soon after birth.

With healthy ears, kids can:

  • learn language and talking;
  • listen to family stories;
  • listen to music;
  • talk with family and friends;
  • be good at school;
  • feel good about themselves; and
  • get a job later in life.

Keep kids' ears healthy by:

  • getting your kids' ears checked regularly by a health worker, nurse or doctor and following their advice about treatments;
  • knowing the signs of ear infection; and
  • knowing how to prevent ear disease.

What is ear disease?

  • Ears are connected to the nose by a tube.
  • If your nose has a cold, your ears can get sick too.
  • Sometimes kids' ears get blocked from mucus (from a cold) or swelling.
  • If ears are blocked, air can't get in and fluid can't drain out of the ear.
  • Left untreated, the eardrum can burst and leave a hole.
  • Ear disease can cause loss of hearing forever.
Ears are connected to the nose by a tube.
If ears are blocked, air can't get in and fluid can't drain out of the ear.

Symptoms of ear disease

  • Signs of a cold
    (coughing, sore throat, runny nose)
  • Kids pulling ears
  • Pain in ear
  • Fever
  • Runny fluid or pus
  • Can't hear properly
  • Not eating
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting

How to prevent ear disease

Do:

  • Get your kids' ears checked regularly.
  • Keep kids clean (wash hands and faces regularly).
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Make sure kids get all their vaccinations.
  • Get kids to blow their nose and put tissues in the bin.
  • Breastfeed - it helps fight infections.

Don't

  • Smoke - your smoke is bad for kids too.
  • Stick anything in your kids' ears, unless recommended by your health worker, nurse or doctor.

If your kids have ear disease, check with your health worker, nurse or doctor before they go swimming.

Loss of hearing is hard for parents and kids

When kids have hearing loss, it can be hard because:

  • Babies and kids might not hear their name when called.
  • Kids might be in danger if they can't hear the cars on the road.
  • Kids might have difficulty learning language and talking.
  • Kids might feel like no one understands them.

Ear disease can be prevented and treated

  • Ear disease can be prevented and treated by getting your kids' ears checked by a health worker, nurse or doctor at each visit and following their advice about treatments.
  • Get kids' ears checked, even if they seem okay. They could be sick with no symptoms.
  • Treatment for ear disease may include medicine or, in some cases, and operation.
  • If you are given medicine, it is important to take the full amount advised by your health worker.