Glue Ear

//Glue Ear

Glue Ear

Paediatric coursesGlue ear: Glue ear or middle ear effusion is a condition where sterile mucous gets stuck behind the ear drum. The part of the ear behind the ear drum (middle ear) is an air filled chamber. For a continuous supply of the air, it is connected to the nose via a tube called eustachian tube. There are a lots of moving parts in the middle ear (ear drum and tiny bones which carry the sounds to the inner ear) and the body does not like dry air. For this, middle ear cavity is lined with mucous. Extra mucous usually drains out of the chamber via eustachian tube. However, eustachian tube can get blocked due to various reasons. Cold and congestion are perhaps the major reason. This happens more frequently in children as they get episodes of congestion and also due to the fact that there eustachian tube is still developing to take the adult shape in later years.

When the eustachian tube is blocked, the mucous collects in the middle ear chamber, which affects the movement of ear drum. Hence, the sound transmission is affected. So, Glue ear is essentially a drainage issue for the body.

Glue ear is a common childhood problem that 90% of us suffer once before the age of 4. Children above 6 years old have 85% less chances of having Glue ear. By some account, Glue ear is the most common issue why parents take children to their GP’s, throughout the world.  Although some of us go on to have this in the adulthood but adult Glue ear is rare and often pathological, needing medical attention.

Once the eustachian tube congestion goes away- Glue ear disappears. This happens spontaneously in most children. However, a small percentage of children either have a persistent Glue ear or more frequent episodes than others, affecting their hearing, speech/language, academics and behaviour. If the hearing issues diagnosed in subsequent audiological tests (audiometry, tympanometry and sometime otoacoustic emissions) show a significant deterioration along with the accompanying symptoms (speech, behaviour or learning issues)- it is perhaps a good reason to actively seek help for Glue ear. One of the treatment options is something called ‘grommet’. Grommet is a tiny little tube (you can perhaps fit 3-4 of those on your little finger nail), that’s fixed in the ear drum by an ENT surgeon after sucking the Glue out of the ear with a special suction device. It is a very successful operation with reports of 98% success rates. Please speak to your audiologist, GP or ENT surgeon if you are worried about your child’s hearing.

Your audiologist will perhaps monitor your child’s hearing for a few time, before discharging them from the service.


Our paediatric assessment service:

Glue ear information

Video animation:

NICE guidance on Glue ear (profesisonal resource)

Information on speech and language development

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By |2020-09-04T11:55:27+00:00September 4th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jay Jindal is a highly qualified independent audiologist, specialising in hearing care for both children and adults, auditory processing disorders, balance & dizziness and tinnitus management. He is also an expert in loud music or noise related hearing issues and has written several articles on how to protect hearing from loud music. His clinics are in London, Surrey, and Kent (Orpington, Sevenoaks, and Royal Tunbridge Wells) Jay is also professional development consultant and speaks on various audiology related topics at national and international events. He regulalrly organises world class paediatric and adult audiology events with speakers from all over the world via Jay has worked at most of the speciality and super-speciality hospitals in London including, Guy’s and St Thomas’, Great Ormond Street, Royal National, Charing Cross and St George’s Hospital; and Harley Street, London Bridge and the Wellington Hospitals. As a recognition of his audiological expertise, he was awarded ‘audiologist of the year’ by an independent charity called Kent Deaf Children’s Society in 2013. Jay has worked with several national audiology professional bodies, which has an influence on how the hearing healthcare services are provided in United Kingdom. He is a member of regulatory body’s (Health and Care Professional Council) fitness-to-practice panel formulated to investigate the malpractices of hearing aid audiologists. Jay has many research publications to his credit, which are published in peer reviewed international journals. He is often invited to speak in national and international audiology events

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