What to do if your child has glue ear

What to do if your child has glue ear

Do you know what glue ear is and how to treat it?

ear glue

A child having trouble hearing

Ear infections and conditions are quite common in children. Although most of these infections are not dangerous, treatment is still very important. One of the most prevalent ear conditions that affect children is glue ear.

What is it?

Glue ear, known as secretory otitis media or serious otitis media, occurs when a person’s middle ear is filled with sticky fluid. Just as its name denotes, the fluid greatly resembles glue because of its thick consistency.

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The glue-like substance greatly impedes hearing but does not cause any kind of pain. This ear condition can develop in one or both ears regardless of the child’s age. Glue ear needs to be addressed immediately as it will not disappear without treatment.

Signs of glue ear

The signs of glue in children can vary. But the most tell-tale sign is a problem in hearing. The child may:

  • Talk less or talk even more loudly
  • Frequently mishear words
  • Turns up the TV and radio to a deafening volume
  • Asking things to be repeated

Apart from the obvious hearing problems, the child with glue ear may also appear withdrawn, inattentive and a bit frazzled. Some children might even develop temper tantrums due to frustration brought on by hearing problems.

ear glue

A distant view of a baby’s ear

Detecting glue ear

Parents who think that their children might have glue ear need to visit a doctor immediately. Several tests can be performed to accurately identify if any fluid or build up is indeed found in the child’s middle ear. Here are two:

Tympanometry – In this treatment, a small rubber tipped tube will be placed at the ear’s entrance. This will allow the doctor to check the flexibility of the ear.

Audiometry – This test is performed to check if the child can hear even the quietest of sounds. They will be presented with low and high pitched tones in different volumes. If they hear the sound, the child needs to respond by pressing the appropriate button.

Glue ear treatments

If your child is indeed diagnosed with glue ear, you should start treating it almost immediately. If there isn’t that much sticky fluid in the ear, an over-the-counter ear drop can be given to dilute the fluid.

You can also try using a small balloon called an Otovent, which can be placed inside the ear. By blowing up the balloon using the nose, the Otovent effectively opens up the eustachian tube to allow fluid draining.

RELATED: Yelling at your kids does not work

In more serious glue ear cases, grommet insertion in the ear can be done. Inserted in the ear drum by way of a small incision, the grommet maintains the ear’s air pressure and also helps take out the fluid from the ear. Once the incision in the eardrum heals, the grommet will eventually fall out and exit the ear.

Did your child suffer from glue ear? How did you go about the treatment? Please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your story. For more information on this, please watch this video:

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Written by

Karen Mira

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