Children with hay fever should be watched for complications that can lead to hearing loss and headaches, the American Lung Association warns.

A child who complains of fullness in the ears and popping sounds, or who has earaches, may have serous otitis media, the association says. Such a child may also have a mild hearing loss that may make him talk louder or fail to pay attention to teachers or television.Serous otitis media is a chronic inflammation of the ear passages that blocks normal drainage of secretions, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. If the disease goes untreated, increased hearing loss may hinder learning and speech development.

Another hay fever complication, chronic sinusitis, produces headaches, foul-smelling breath, year-round nasal congestion and a thick mucousy discharge from the nose. The inflammation of the sinus cavities can lead to infection.

Both complications can be treated with medication, the association says.

While the risk of serous otitis media declines in adolescence, the chance of chronic sinusitis from hay fever continues into adulthood, said association spokesman Robert Lemanske Jr. of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals in Madison.