Hi2u 4 people with hidden impairments
Attempting to open doors for people with hidden voices.


Dyslexia and the Inner Ear.

On going discussion.


Fourteen-year-old Jennifer asked this most interesting question. Now I would like to put it to our collective.

The inner ear is the piece that controls our vestibular system, hence our ability to balance. Also, it makes sure we hear things properly and tunes in the tones. I know from my own experience in life that vowels and consonants sound quite different when your inner ear is in pain, and the nerves wince quite badly. Hence the message doesn't get properly to the brain so you shut yourself down.

Jennifer's doctor (she lives in New York) has been expounding this theory quite a bit. And it seems to make but a little sense. Dyslexia is what happens when printed material is compromised by the eyes or the ears on its way to the brain, and lots of us are either "ear" learners or "eye" learners. So I think it would be the same if some part of the eye (say rods and cones) didn't work quite the way it should.


Jennifer has put together a site with some very valuable and varied issues around dyslexia. I hope her site proves valuable towards better recognition of dyslexia.

For many years there has been many theories as too what causes dyslexia sometimes like professionals are trying to isolate a single medical condition and call this "dyslexia"!!!

However we are now recognising dyslexia is not one single medical condition, but many and many combinations. Hearing is one of these difficulties. I realised this when starting to use voice recognition software. You need to spend time training the software to understand how you talk and pronounce words. However I think the software teachers you how to talk. I wanted the word "specific" all I could get from my voice recognition software was "Pacific" I never knew there was an S at the beginning I never acknowledged that sound when people said that would. That with many other words I was pronouncing wrong because that's how I heard them from others.

Another common thing said about dyslexia people is many have poor short term memory and good long term memory. That's interesting because that is also said for many with ADD or AD/HD. As I'm diagnosed with this! It suggests to me that I have a combination of difficulties that courses my dyslexia (which is severe).

This makes me think of something else and that's how valuable forums can be on the Internet to learn more about our difficulties and find better ways of moving forward with them.

Thanks Adelaide, for raising this issue could be valuable on the hi2u "dyslexic pages"

Take care all, Andy

I was so interested to hear (sorry! no joke intended!) what Adelaide had to say about Dyslexia and the inner ear. 

My daughter has been diagnosed as Dyslexic and she definitely experiences difficulties with her hearing. She doesn't hear the beginning sounds of words, or sometimes the ends. Like you mentioned she doesn't realise words begin with certain letters. This surely makes learning to spell and read even more difficult? This problem never seems to be addressed by teachers. They seem to think we all hear the words perfectly clearly but some Dyslexics, if not all of them don't. 

Thank you for this piece it really made a difference. I was beginning to think it was just me being a crazy mother!? 

Keep up the great work!


Formerly Education Director of the British Dyslexia Association I am currently writing a book for parents and teachers on this subject. It is due out in the spring from David Fulton publishers.

I also published an article this month (October 2004) in the SENCo Journal which expounds the theory. Dr Lindsay Peer CBE International Dyselxia Consultant

Dr Lindsay Peer CBE
E-mail: lindsaypeer@hotmail.com

Received on 12th October, 2004

Dr Lindsay Peer CBE., has kindly provided an article for this site, "linking glue ear and dyslexia". Please use the following link to access this article. I certainly find this subject very interesting and would welcome your feedback on this issue. Use the form towards the bottom of this page to have your views added to this page.

24th November, 2004

Linking glue ear and dyslexia.
by Dr Lindsay Peer CBE

I am a private dyslexia tutor. During the first lesson I always give a Sound Discrimination check which tells me whether my new pupil can hear sounds clearly or not at the beginning, middle and end of words. Are the misheard sounds vowels or consonants? Two points I would like to make:

  1. During my Diploma year we learned in Phonetics that a word heard quite clearly on its own can be distorted or half disappear when it is spoken as part of a sentence, especially in English where only one syllable is stressed in most words.
  2. I have observed over the years that we often need to SEE something to hear it clearly and appreciate it fully, music for example. If you try to learn a foreign language by ear only, don't be surprised if the natives fall about laughing if you try to spout back what you only heard!


Received on 10th December, 2004.

I read a book theorising about this. I think it's called Smart but Feeling Dumb. Anyway, the author of that book was treating dyslexia and various other LDs with anti-seasickness medications, which help the inner ear. I think there were some problems with his methods, like no double-blind studies and assuming that those medications ONLY affect the middle ear, but his stuff is interesting and it should be studied more. I was also going to say that central auditory processing disorder, CAPD for short, causes problems like what Andy was describing. The "central" in central auditory processing disorder means the problem is in the brain. Most people with CAPD have normal ears and so on, but their brain has trouble making sense of what they hear. Of course, people with CAPD are no less likely to have ear-based hearing problems too. For more information on CAPD you can go to http://www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/process_deficit/capd_paton.html.
Ettina, possible aspie(person with Asperger Syndrome)

Email: ettina@catlover.com
Website: www.geocities.com/abnormaldiversity

Received on 7th January, 2005

Please help....I'm an dyslexic Audiologist studying Msc in Audiological Science and whould like to do my project on something relating to dyslexia and hearing.
Kind Regards

Email: smiteryb@hotmail.com

Received on 7th June 2005

I am dyslexic. About six years ago I began having severe vitago in just day to day life. It would hit at unpredictable times. If I was alone I had to stay wherever I was and wait for a family member to come and get me. After a mutitude of tests, I was diagnosed with "benign positional virtago". To me this just means they had no idea why I suffer from virtago. After trials of different medications, I have chosen Scopolamine patches. I can only deal with the side effects of half a patch at a time. The side affects are worth dealing with because I would be unable to function without them. I have no idea if there is a connection with me suffering from dyslexia or not. I do know they are two very hard diablities to live with.


Email: kennedyvanessa@yahoo.com

Received on 15th December 2005

I just read the article about "Linking glue ear and dyslexia". I don't know if you collect any data. But I'd like to say that this theory describes quite well my case. When I was five or younger I use to have terrible otitis, and that continued during childhood, and my teens. Later in life I had TMJ disorders, which for one year or so were misdiagnosed as more otitis; actually those were just related with stress. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was in first grade, and I've been dyslexic ever since. I also had the added problem of having to learn reading and writing in two languages at the same time, Spanish and Catalan, that definitely made things worse.


Email: martintosas@yahoo.com

Received on the 8th April 2006


My moderately severely dyslexic daughter suffered from glue ear almost continuously from 2 to 7 years old. The doctor's philosophy at the time was not to operate on the "intelligent ones" as she felt the risks outweighed the benefits. With the benefit of hindsight I now wonder if thre real reason was that the local Health Authority wouldn't fund the procedure.

We removed T from state education at the age of 10 (when her reading age was 7, apparently not bad enough for a Statement of Special Educational Needs) and paid for her to go to an independent boarding school which specialises in SLDs - she now reads well above her age, and for pleasure. But at phenomenal cost, about 16,000 per annum.

Now I really wish she'd had the operation. My goddaughter, 3 months younger, did have grommets inserted. She's predicted 11 As or A*s at GCSE this summer - T will be very lucky to scrape 6 or 7 Bs and Cs. As for university - probably not, I just don't think she could manage. Yet if you met her you'd think she was as bright as a button, and her overall IQ is reasonably high. She'll be the first member of the family in 3 generations *not* to go to uni.


Received on the 8th April 2006

Hi, I read this page with great interest. My son J has had severe glue ear since he was a baby and the GP wouldn't do anything and said that he would grow out of it ( he didn't), he eventually had grommets at age 5 1/2. He is now severely speech/language impaired, has auditory processing disorder, dyslexia and mild dyspraxia! I am convinced that this is all down to having untreated glue ear for most of his life and now my poor child is having to undergo therapy and has to work 3 times as hard as the other kids at school. I think glue ear can cause major development problems and think this area needs researching.

I would be interested to hear from others that have had the same sort of experience.


Email: shumadd@aol.com



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Dyslexia and the Inner Ear.  

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