Headphone aid for glue ear children

An adapted headphone can help children with glue ear cope with the problem – by improving their hearing, developers in Cambridgeshire have announced.

The headphones use bone conduction to deliver sound received through a microphone to the inner ear.

Community paediatrician Dr Tamsin Brown worked with local engineers to develop the device, which is now the subject of a pilot study involving 20 child patients.

Dr Brown came up with the idea because of the reduction in surgical intervention for otitis media effusion.

She said: “Watchful waiting is a very sensible approach, but it can be a long and frustrating time for children and impact on language development. We wanted to find a solution to that.

“Collaborating with the Clinical Engineering Department was a great success and, with the help of other organisations too, we have innovated with what we believe is a really practical and cost-effective solution.”

Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, executive director at Cambridge University Health Partners, said: “We look forward to seeing positive results coming out of the study ahead of the project launching later next year.”

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