Glue ear is a hearing condition affecting 8 out of 10 children at least once before their tenth birthday. Often instigated by a common cold, glue ear (or Otitis Media with Effusion) occurs when the eustachian tube becomes blocked. The ‘glue’ in its name is derived from the sticky substance responsible for the blockage.
Dulled hearing may seem like a mild inconvenience, but it can cause social isolation, learning challenges and balance problems for children. For many parents, the first indication that their child is suffering with the condition is reports from teachers that they have become withdrawn and are finding work more difficult.
What Signs Can You Look Out For?
Despite being the most common reason for childhood surgery, glue ear can be difficult to detect as a child could be displaying the symptoms for a variety of reasons.
Symptoms of glue ear include:
- Turning device volumes up unusually loud
- Being less sociable with their friends
- Not answering to their name
- Speech and language problems in younger children
- Having problems at school either socially or in terms of learning
- Clumsiness or balance problems
How is Glue Ear Treated?
If you suspect that your child is suffering from glue ear you should visit your GP. Within three months most cases of glue ear will resolve without intervention. It is possible that your GP will be able to diagnose glue ear, however they may refer you to an audiologist for a Tympanometry test.
There is often an ‘active observation’ period between both your GP and Audiology visit and the Audiology visit to treatment. This can be incredibly frustrating for parents and children, especially when the child is visibly distressed by their hearing impairment or school work is suffering.
Autoinflation Devices in the Treatment of Glue Ear
Autoinflation devices provide a non-surgical alternative for treating glue ear. The The technique involves using a pressurised balloon to open the Eustachian tube, which is a passage way that connects the middle of the ear to the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat. Air is subsequently forced through the passageway which allows the sickly fluid responsible for the glue ear to be removed safely.
Available from pharmacies nationwide, Amazon and www.otovent.co.uk, Otovent is a drug-free and non-surgical clinically proven treatment for Glue Ear. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) wrote in 2018 ‘there appears to be evidence to support the use of autoinflation which suggests that the recommendation for its use could be strengthened to ‘offer autoinflation’.’*
At an RRP of £11.99, the Otovent autoinflation device is a cost-effective intervention which can be safely used at any point from the identification of hearing problems.
Moreover, the Otovent range has recently expanded with Otovent Adult, Moniri Otovent, Otovent Fly and Otovent Dive also available alongside a balloons only refill pack. Although it is best known as a treatment for Otitis Media with Effusion in children, Otovent can also be used by adults to treat the same condition and Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. The adult pack includes ten balloons as opposed to the standard pack, which contains five. Moniri Otovent is a parent assisted version of the Otovent device specifically designed for younger children unable to blow their nose yet. Otovent Fly equalises negative pressure in the middle ear caused by the air pressure change during flights, whilst Otovent Dive is used as a visual aid to the equalisation technique for new divers.
Learn more at https://www.otovent.co.uk