One of the leading causes of temporary deafness in young children looks set to be confronted by a free* hearing test app developed by researchers at Aston University.
‘Glue ear’ is a common condition affecting one in five children by two years of age and 80% of children by the age of ten. It involves a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. Over weeks and months the fluid becomes very thick and glue-like, which increases the likelihood of temporary hearing impairment. The condition is not painful, but failing to detect hearing loss at a young age can greatly hinder language and speech development.
The Early Ears app, created by audiologists at Aston University, can help worried parents detect hearing loss in young children. It is a digital and fun version of a test that paediatric health clinics use.
Designed for an iPhone, iPad, or iTouch, the test can be used at home and uses clear pictures and professionally-recorded sounds. The app also has access to social media platforms for parents to share results and experiences. It is free until 10 April 2014 and 69p afterwards.
Dr Robert Morse from Aston University’s Audiology team, who helped develop the app, said:
“Early Ears quickly enables you to test your child’s hearing in your own home. The app offers reassurance and guidance for concerned parents and children find the app fun and playful. I recently watched a parent use it with their daughter who is just under two year’s old and the daughter thought it was just a game.
“While this app is a good way to help you detect any hearing problems, if you do notice your child has had several episodes of glue ear, or you are at all concerned about potential hearing loss, then you should discuss it with a medical advisor, for example your school nurse, audiologist, or doctor.”