By in Health & Fitness

Improve Glue Ear Without Surgery

What Is Glue Ear?

The technical description of glue ear is otitis media with effusion. In plain English, it's an infection of the middle ear with a sticky fluid produced. It is this sticky fluid that forms the "glue".

What's A Middle Ear?

The ear has three parts, the outer ear which is the part that gets decorated with ear rings, right down to the ear drum, then there is the middle ear (colored red in the picture) which is behind the ear drum and the inner ear. The middle ear has a tube (the Eustachian tube) going down to the throat at the back of the mouth.

What's The Problem With Glue Ear?

Inside the middle ear are three small bones that carry vibrations from the ear drum to the inner ear, to help us understand what we are hearing. With glue ear, these bones can't move and vibrate as they should, so the person becomes hard of hearing. In children, especially, this can affect their learning, as they cannot hear what is said. It can also affect their speech, as they cannot repeat back words correctly, for example, one child with glue ear said "wim poo" for swimming pool and "dadaj" for garage.

How Is Glue Ear Treated

Medical treatments such as antibiotics and antihistamines don't work well and a lot of the treatment is of the "wait and see" if it improves type. For some children, surgery with grommets being inserted helps but many parents are wary of surgery, especially in young children. The grommets tend to fall out after a time and the glue ear condition can return.

Non Surgical Treatments

A non surgical treatment which MAY have instant results, is the nasal balloon. It is based on the practice in an airplane of blowing the nose while holding the nostrils to equalize pressure between the middle ear and the environment. You can read more here .

Image Credit » Chittka L, Brockmann - Perception SpaceThe Final Frontier, A PLoS Biology Vol. 3, No. 4, e137 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030137 (Fig. 1A/Large version), vectorised by Inductiveload A diagram of the anatomy of the human ear.

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VinceSummers wrote on August 5, 2018, 7:59 PM

It's amazing any of us can function!

frankie2015 wrote on August 15, 2018, 3:52 PM

I had never heard the term "glue ear" before. I had a couple of ear infections in the past but at this present time I have what is called tinnitus in medical jargon or "ringing in the ear" in lay person terms. Someday it is driving me mad because it is, in my case, as if I am hearing a thousand cicadas singing at the same time. Some other days it is more tolerable. It is funny, but there is no REAL treatment for tinnitus as of yet. So I guess I will be hearing my cicadas for the rest of my life.

MegL wrote on August 15, 2018, 4:52 PM

I understand tinnitus can be extremely annoying and frustrating to deal with. Have you heard about Tinnitus retraining therapy? This helps you learn to "tune out" the tinnitus, so it's less annoying.

Last Edited: August 15, 2018, 4:56 PM