Glue ear is a term used when thick fluid is trapped behind the eardrum. This results in hearing loss and can lead to delayed learning and language development in children.
Children frequently get coughs and colds; many suffer from allergies. In our modern life, there are often irritants in the air that children breathe in (cigarette smoke, sprays, dusts and moulds). All of these can cause swelling at the opening of the small tubes that link the nose and ears. Usually when we swallow, air moves up these Eustachian Tubes and keeps the middle ear full of fresh air.
When the ears are blocked a vacuum develops. The ear drum gets sucked in and hearing becomes muffled. If the tubes remain blocked, the body ‘saves this space’ by filling the middle ear with fluid.
Over time, if the tubes still don’t open, the body tries to dry up the fluid. It gets thicker and thicker – hence the term ‘Glue Ear’. Eventually, the fluid will disappear. If the tubes do not open, the ear drum gets stretched, thinned and damaged, and complications develop.
Our Ear Nurse Therapists are trained in recognising glue ear.