What is Glue Ear?

Deafness and reduced hearing in babies and small children can be caused by accumulation of fluid behind the ear. In babies, the consistency of the fluid is watery and thin. If the fluid grows progressively thicker, this can result in a condition called glue ear, otitis media with effusion or serious media (SOM).

Glue ear is not an infection, as the fluid behind the ear does not contain bacteria or any other harmful organisms. The most crucial, obvious symptom of this condition is hearing loss, but there are a few other tell-tale signs:

  • Earache
  • Preference for the radio or television to be at very high volume
  • The child routinely asks, “What?” or asks for people to repeat themselves
  • Behavioral problems
  • Frustration due to falling behind with group activities or lessons

Ear ache is common in children who suffer from glue ear, but it is not as serious as pain associated with acute middle ear infection. Doctors often have difficulty identifying the cause of ear ache, as it could be an acute infection or glue ear that has progressed over a long period of time.

If you see signs and symptoms of glue ear in your child, it’s best to contact your family doctor. An antibiotics treatment may be prescribed if there is an ear ache that cannot be controlled by over-the-counter drugs.

Finally, if you are an adult and you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, please contact us today! We’ll schedule an evaluation to determine if further action is needed.