As winter sets in, the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) is urging parents to be alert for the signs of glue ear.

One in five children between the ages of one and three years old will experience glue ear this winter.

Severe glue ear, like permanent deafness, makes it harder for children to learn to communicate and this can delay crucial early speech development and affect behavioural and educational progress.

Tell-tale signs of the illness include becoming tired or frustrated, a lack of concentration, preferring to play alone and not responding when called.

A free NDCS glue ear information leaflet is available for parents. It can be downloaded from or ordered by contacting

If parents have concerns about glue ear or their child's hearing, phone the NDCS Freephone helpline 0808 800 8880 (voice and textphone)10am to 5pm Monday to Friday. This service is also available in languages other than English.

SUSAN DANIELS, chief executive, National Deaf Children's Society.