Ear infections can be so miserable for everyone involved!  Your little one isn't feeling well and you feel terrible for him/her.  I know, I've been there.  Besides the soothing and loving and nurturing and dispensing of medicine; do you know what else to do when your child has an ear infection?  If not, read on!

When a child has an ear infection, there is extra fluid in the inner ear.  Therefore, all of the sounds that he/she hears are dampened.  Also, it sounds a little like listening under water.  All speech sounds are not only muted, but also muffled.  Therefore, if your little one is just learning language, then a whole new set of challenges have been introduced.  Here are some ways you can help your child during this time:
  • Speak at a slightly louder volume, but don't yell.
  • Try to speak to your child facing him/her.  It will help for your child to see your mouth while you talk - the more information he/she can get, the better!
  • Talk a bit more slowly than usual, but still at a normal speed (too fast or too slow are both hard to understand).
  • Don't over enunciate your words and move your mouth in weird ways.  It doesn't help to over emphasize your mouth movements... just talk normally.
  • Try to cut out as much background noise as possible.  It's already hard for your child to hear - don't make him/her filter out the TV or radio while you are talking to him/her.
  • Try not to give instructions or have lengthy conversations in the car.  You can't face your child and the road noise will be a distraction.

If your child is deaf or hard of hearing and you have chosen an oral communication approach, then these practices should become part of your daily life.  

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