Survey of K–3rd-Grade Teachers' Knowledge of Ear Infections and Willingness to Participate in Prevention Programs Purpose Ear infections are prevalent in kindergarten through 3rd-grade (K–3rd) children and can affect their performance at school. Chewing gum, when administered by parents and teachers, can help prevent ear infections in children. This pilot study surveyed K–3rd-grade teachers in the Santa Barbara School Districts to assess their knowledge about ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2011
Survey of K–3rd-Grade Teachers' Knowledge of Ear Infections and Willingness to Participate in Prevention Programs
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeffrey L. Danhauer
    University of California Santa Barbara
  • Carole E. Johnson
    Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • Abby T. Caudle
    Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • Correspondence to Jeffrey L. Danhauer: danhauer@speech.ucsb.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan
    Associate Editor: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2011
Survey of K–3rd-Grade Teachers' Knowledge of Ear Infections and Willingness to Participate in Prevention Programs
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2011, Vol. 42, 207-222. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0043)
History: Received May 28, 2010 , Revised September 13, 2010 , Accepted January 6, 2011
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2011, Vol. 42, 207-222. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0043)
History: Received May 28, 2010; Revised September 13, 2010; Accepted January 6, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose Ear infections are prevalent in kindergarten through 3rd-grade (K–3rd) children and can affect their performance at school. Chewing gum, when administered by parents and teachers, can help prevent ear infections in children. This pilot study surveyed K–3rd-grade teachers in the Santa Barbara School Districts to assess their knowledge about ear infections and their willingness to participate in ear infection prevention programs.

Method A 37-item questionnaire was developed and was e-mailed to a convenience sample of 112 teachers in February 2010.

Results Response rate was 26%; 29 teachers responded. Most respondents were experienced females ≥36 years of age who said that their education provided no information about ear infections. Less than half said that they knew signs of ear infections or that ear infections could be prevented, but more than half believed that ear infections could hinder children’s development and quality of life. All of the schools and almost all of the teachers did not permit chewing gum on campus or in their classrooms, but most teachers said they would participate in ear infection prevention programs, let students chew xylitol gum if it prevented ear infections, and wanted more information on this topic.

Conclusion Although teachers said they would participate in ear infection prevention programs, obstacles were identified that could preclude the use of xylitol chewing gum. Prevention programs should be developed, but xylitol gum prophylaxis regimens may be better directed at in-home use.

Acknowledgments
The authors appreciate the assistance provided by Dr. Davis C. Hayden, Director of Research, Evaluation, and Technology at the Santa Barbara School Districts, without whose help this study could not have been conducted. Appreciation is also expressed to Amy Marlowe, Teresa Caudle, Gay Johnson, Allison Powell, Kristen Torres, Debbie Markey, Alice Michael, Emily Brasher, Brenda Oakley, and all the K–3rd-grade teachers in Santa Barbara, CA and Auburn, AL who piloted and provided input to the final version of the questionnaire.
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