Middle Ear

Glue Ear

What is glue ear?

Glue ear happens when the small tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the nose (Eustachian Tubes – ET’s) swell shut and become blocked (for more information see our Middle Ear Trouble page);

  • fluid fills the middle ear space
  • the eardrum cannot vibrate properly and hearing is reduced
  • if fluid stays in the middle ear for a long time the body tries to dry it up, it becomes thicker and thicker – like glue

How can I tell if my child has it?

In babies the signs might be:

  • not showing interest in sounds
  • crying, fretting, not sleeping
  • unusual or unsettled behaviour

In toddlers and young children the signs might be:

  • not listening
  • a delay in learning to talk
  • unclear speech
  • disruptive behaviour
  • earache or ear infection with each cold
  • delays in learning
  • snoring and breathing through the mouth

How can children with glue ear be helped by TOLBECS?

TOLBECS Ear Nurse Therapists are skilled in dealing with glue ear – they take time to give full explanations to both parents and children so the condition is fully understood.

  • parents are able to see the magnified view themselves each visit so they can make their own judgements on progress/healing
  • children of all ages can be shown exactly how to blow their nose so the ET’s open and the episode of glue ear resolves
  • we offer monthly visits (reduced fee) to monitor the child’s progress closely – parents are then able to make informed decisions on behalf of their child

What else can parents do?

  • make all carers aware that the child may not be hearing well
  • look at the child when you speak, say their name only, get their attention, then say your message
  • speak slowly and clearly, and slightly louder than normal
  • realise that changes in behaviour may be caused by poor hearing
  • if the child attends school or preschool, tell the teacher about the glue ear and hearing problems, the teacher can help the child by seating them at the front of the room
  • nose blowing and ear popping maintains normal ET function – see our page on Middle Ear Trouble


Ear trouble? Book now for an appointment!