Living with Glue Ear: Researching Educational Needs and Listening to the Voices of a Mother and Child

By Carmel Capewell and Sue Ralph.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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There has been limited research on understanding the educational implications for young people with intermittent hearing impairment resulting from Glue Ear (Otitis Media). Increasingly, there is recognition that it can have longer term academic and social implications (Wilson 2009). It tends to be constructed as a temporary situation curable through grommet surgery so much of the research has been conducted from a medical perspective. Parental proxies have previously been the main way of identifying its impact on young people. However, we provided the opportunity for young people to use their own voices. In this paper we use an example of the different interpretations by a mother and her son of the same educational and social situations. This demonstrates that when they are asked directly, young people can evaluate the best way for educators to support them. Each research participant was asked to independently create a photomontage of images illustrating how Glue Ear affected them. The Photovoice methodology was adapted for use with individuals, rather than through the more usual group approach. It was combined with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to give depth to the data analysis. We conclude that there is an urgent need for more research into the ways in which educators can encourage young people with this condition to express their needs to ensure they achieve their full potential.

Keywords: Glue Ear, Conductive Hearing Loss, Children’s Voices, Mothers’ Voices, Photovoice, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)

The International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.11-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 323.233KB).

Carmel Capewell

Associate Lecturer, School of Education, The Universtity of Northampton, Northampton, UK

Carmel Capewell is an Associate Lecturer at The University of Northampton. She is currently studying for her PhD: Educational implications for young people with Glue Ear. She has presented papers at national and international conferences and published on the implications of Glue Ear for young people. Her research interest is in the application of visual imagery and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Sue Ralph

Visiting Professor, Editor of JORSEN, School of Education, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK