Children’s App of the Year helps youngsters with glue ear
An app created in Cambridge to help youngsters who have glue ear was named the children’s app of the year at the UK App Awards.
The Hear Glue Ear app was created by Cambridge Digital Health working with NHS staff, including teachers of the deaf, audiologists, paediatricians, speech and language therapists and surgeons. It provides parents with up-to-date advice as well as giving children access to free audiobooks, songs and listening games to help support speech, language, listening and auditory processing skills. The app also allows speech and language therapists to share sessions.
The free app, which was funded by the Cambridge Hearing Trust Charity, was given the award at an event in London in November.
Roger Gray, from Cambridge Hearing Trust Charity; Dr Tamsin Brown, a Cambridge paediatrician and her nine-year-old daughter Lilac, who is a glue ear patient; Surina Fordington, a medical student from Jesus College who did some of research and Alex Best, a speech and language therapist at Cambridge Community Services, attended the awards.
Dr Brown’s odyssey lead to the development of the glue ear device which uses a low-cost bone conduction transducer to turn sound into vibration which is restored to an audio signal by the brain, by sending the sound waves directly into your inner ear rather than via the ear canal. Dr Brown built the prototype out of desire to help Lilac as a younger child when she realised how long it would take for a grommet surgery appointment. To her delight she received the support to take the project forward.
“It is exciting because apps are now starting to be used in clinical pathways especially where there are few resources available for patients,” says Dr Brown. “Apps can allow patients to self-manage their condition or capture how they are managing at home between hospital appointments.
“The public are getting used to doing shopping and banking on line but looking after our health on line has had slower adoption particularly because thousands of apps emerged but it was difficult to know which ones to trust. NHS digital library and medical app regulators such as Orcha are providing that reassurance for doctors and their patients. The Hear Glue Ear app creators were pleased to have obtained a good Orcha score and have completed an ethically approved research study looking at what families thought about using the app between appointments.”
The app, which will continue to be updated this year, is available on Apple and Android.