Glue ear is a very common condition in children though it can happen in adults as well. The condition is a result of sticky fluid accumulation in the middle ear. The fluid restricts the passage of sound waves and when that happens, there is a decreased hearing. The condition hence shows signs of dulled or selective hearing. The child may act clumsy and be less responsive to sounds.
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?
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?
Treatment is only recommended when the symptoms last for more than 3 months and the hearing loss is rather significant.