What is glue ear?
Glue ear is a common condition that affects the middle ear of children with the highest incidence occurring in children between three and six years of age. Glue ear (or fluid) is an accumulation of thick, "gluey" fluid in the middle ear (ie behind the eardrum) usually causing earache and partial deafness. Commonly it is the result Eustachian tube blockage from an upper respiratory infection, large adenoids, nasal allergy, poor nasal function, cleft palate, an immature Eustachian tube and a number of other factors. In the presence of bacteria, this fluid may become infected leading to an infected or abscessed middle ear. When infection does not develop, the fluid remains until the Eustachian tube again begins to function normally, at which time the fluid is absorbed or drains down the Eustachian tube into the throat. Various medical therapies are used to help clear the fluid. Most resolve spontaneously over two to three months but the remainder may persist for many months or indefinitely, unless the fluid is cleared and the middle ear artificially ventilated by a small tube.
Written by Dr Zoran Becvarvski, ENT specialist