Glue Ear

Glue ear occurs in children and seems to be increasing in frequency. It may follow on Endolymph fluid Vestibular nerve Hairs Gelatinous mass (capula) Eustachian tube from an incompletely cured otitis media infection when insufficient antibiotics are given or taken for an inadequate period of time to completely cure the infection.

Thin, serous (watery) fluid remains in the middle ear, and this gradually becomes thick and forms mucus, so resulting in the term “glue ear.”

Glue Ear Symptoms

It is usually bilaterial (affecting both ears), and it is common in children in the five-to-six-year age group. Bacteria or viruses may be responsible, giving rise to the chief symptom, which is impaired hearing acuity.

The onset is often insidious, the child being completely unaware of his reduced hearing comprehension. Sometimes it is first noticed by visiting relatives, or the schoolteacher, or it may be picked up on a routine hearing test. The parents might notice the child is awkward or appears inattentive. This is due to the hearing reduction. Pain is absent, but mild aching may occur.

The doctor will find the drum lacks its normal luster, and its movement is limited during certain tests.

Glue Ear Treatment

This is a specialized procedure, and is always surgical. An incision (called a myringotomy) is made into the drum and the thick mucoid material removed. A grommet is placed into the drum. This is an artificial Eustachian tube, and allows the pressure on either side of the drum to equalize, normally a function of the Eustachian tube. This allows ventilation of the middle ear.

Any infection of the ear, throat, sinuses or other parts of the respiratory tract is treated, arid adenoids may be removed. The grommets may be left in for many months, allowing the ear to heal gradually. As long as the grommets arc left intact, symptoms rarely recur. After they have been removed, the drum tends to heal and the patient is carefully observed. Sometimes, if symptoms recur, the grommets may be replaced. It is essential that the patient be treated efficiently and adequately by the ENT surgeon. This is necessary to restore normal hearing and to prevent long-term or permanent damage to the drum and apparatus of the middle car.