Glue ear treatment is used to address glue ear – also known as adhesive otitis – which is a condition that involves the middle part of the ear filling with fluid. The fluid becomes sticky, or glue-like, and can cause an infection in the middle ear, as well as make it hard to hear.
What are the symptoms of glue ear?
Glue ear has been seen to be more prevalent in children than adults, however, the symptoms are the same for both. Glue ear symptoms can include: difficulty hearing, talking louder than usual, asking people to repeat what they are saying, inability to hear noise from a long distance, feeling the need to turn up the volume on a TV or smartphone and a buzzing or ringing in the ears.
Can glue ear go away without treatment?
Your doctor will typically advise you to wait and see if the symptoms of glue ear go away on their own. Glue ear often clears up in less than three months. While you are waiting for symptoms to improve, a technique known as autoinflation, which involves blowing into a special balloon with one nostril, can help fluid to drain from the ear.
If symptoms have not disappeared after three months, chronic glue ear may be diagnosed. We will detail glue ear treatment options below.
How does glue ear treatment work?
Surgery to treat chronic glue ear is known as an adenoidectomy. The procedure involves the removal of the adenoid glands from behind the nose. These glands connect to the eustachian tube bases and they have the potential to contribute to fluid build-up in the ear when they become inflamed and irritated, also increasing the risk of infection.
Both during and after an adenoidectomy, you would typically wear grommets – small tubes – in your ears. These are also known as pressure equaliser tubes or ear tubes. Grommets serve the function of keeping the eardrum open, permitting fluid to drain from it. They are usually worn for a few months and fall out naturally.
Can glue ear be prevented?
Glue ear can be hard to prevent, particularly in children. This is partly because the root cause of glue ear is not yet completely understood. However, there are certain known risk factors, such as exposure to tobacco smoke, seasonal allergies and sub-standard air quality. Babies that are bottle-fed are understood to be at a higher risk of developing glue ear than those which are breastfed.
Do you have a question about glue ear treatment? Call ENT Sheffield today on 0114 321 6522 to make an enquiry or book a consultation.