Have you ever heard of “Glue ear?” This unseemly term refers to when a child’s middle ear fills up with sticky fluid, that leads to a dulled sense of hearing.
It’s incredibly common in kids, but often goes unnoticed until symptoms are bad enough for parents to notice.
A Simple Treatment
Now, a simple treatment using a balloon might help rid kids of their glue ear trouble, and help prevent unnecessary treatment with antibiotics, nasal sprays and antihistamines in the process.
A new study from The University of Southampton in the UK, shows the results of two types of treatments that were carried out on 320 children (aged between 4 and 11) who had glue ear. One group of children followed a typical treatment regime, while the other tried “Autoinflation” with a nasal balloon three times a day.
During Autoinflation, a child uses his or her nostril to blow up a nozzled balloon.
The study showed better results for kids who used the balloon treatment. After one month, 36% of kids on standard care had “normal” middle-ear pressure, compared to 47% of those children who used Autoinflation. After three months, 38% of kids in the first group had improved, versus 50% of children in the group using the Autoinflation.
Children on Autoinflation also showed more symptom-free days than other children studied.
So is glue ear over? Not so fast. Experts say more research is needed, and like standard treatments, Autoinflation may lead to side effects. In addition, nasal balloons aren’t recommended for children under age 4.
Common Glue Ear Symptoms
If you think your child may have glue ear, it’s best to check with a doctor. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Dulled hearing
- What seems like “selective hearing” (kids seeming to ignore or disobey verbal commands)
- Showing less response to sounds
- Asking for people to repeat themselves
- Turning up the volume on the TV, phone or radio
- Speech problems
- Trouble with social interaction
- Balance problems
Our expert team is here to help you and your child get to the bottom of hearing trouble. For any questions or to book an appointment, just give us a call.