Ear infections are also termed as glue ears in medical terms – a condition that is more common amongst small children. This specially afflicts the middle ears which get blocked and face inflammation due to a buildup of fluid in the internal cavities of the ears. The symptoms include hearing difficulties, lack of appetite, headaches, crying, sleeping difficulties and pain in the ears.
HOW IS GLUE EAR DIAGNOSED?
A diagnosis of glue ear can usually be confirmed by using an instrument called an otoscope. Further tests are usually only required if your child's symptoms persist for more than three months. The tests will often be carried out at your local ear, nose and throat (ENT) department and include:
• audiometry – to assess the extent of your child's hearing loss
• tympanometry – to assess the flexibility of the eardrum and the bones in the middle ear
HOW IS GLUE EAR TREATED?
The best treatment for glue ear is time. In most children, episodes of glue ear get better without active treatment. For this reason, your family doctor may simply recommend regular appointments for up to 3 months so they can check your child's ears. If your child has fluid in the space behind the eardrum for more than 3 months tympanostomy is recommended.
DID YOU KNOW?
Severe cases may require a procedure called myringotomy.