Glue ear is a common childhood condition where the middle ear becomes filled with fluid. This medical condition predominantly occurs in children although it can develop at any age and can affect one or both ears. The symptoms in the child may include:
• Dulled hearing
• Problems with speech, language or social interaction
• Clumsiness or balance problems
• Appearing to have 'selective hearing' - for example, disobeying verbal instructions
• Turning up the volume on the television, or radio, or often saying 'what' or ‘uh’? a lot
• In the case of babies, being less responsive to sounds
HOW IS GLUE EAR DIAGNOSED?
If you suspect your child has glue ear, you will need to visit an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist who will check your child’s medical history and carry out a short ENT examination. The audiologist will perform a tympanometry test, which confirms glue ear.
HOW IS GLUE EAR TREATED?
Treatment for glue ear isn't usually given during the first three months after diagnosis, because over half of all cases resolve within three months, and there's no medication that shortens the length of time the symptoms last. Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants and antibiotics have been tested for treating glue ear. Other treatments include:
• Hearing aids
DID YOU KNOW?
Severe cases may require a procedure called myringotomy.