What is Glue Ear?
Glue ear (also known as otitis media,) is a very common condition among children. It is where the empty middle part of the ear canal fills up with fluid. This can cause temporary hearing loss, and It usually clears up within 3 months.
Below is a list of possible symptoms evident in glue ear in children:
Problems with speech, language or social interaction
Clumsiness or balance problems
Turning up the volume on the television, or radio, or often saying 'what' or ‘uh’? a lot
In the case of babies, being less responsive to sounds
If you suspect your child has glue ear, you need to visit your GP. Your GP will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history and then carry out a short ENT examination of your child focusing on the ear drums to evaluate whether an ear infection is present and if a referral to an ENT doctor is needed.
Why is Glue ear common in children ?
Their auditory tube is 2.5 times narrower than in an adult and its angle is more horizontal which reduces drainage from gravity.
It can become chronic when the middle ear effusion persists for more than 3 months. This occurs usually between 6months - 6 years old .
How is it treated?
The bacterial infections of the middle ear are treated with antibiotics while no-bacterial-otitis are treated with paracetamol, decongestant nasal and Otovent nasal balloon to restore ventilation. In recurrent otitis your Gp may recommend your child to have grommets or adenoidectomy .
Osteopathy can help to improve the mechanics of drainage from the middle ear.
Using different techniques such as massage and cranial osteopathy , it helps in releasing neck and throat tension, draining sinus, and improve breathing mechanism.
Essential simple advices
- Avoid milk bottle in bed ( the horizontal position won't favorise the drainage and the cow milk protein can increase the mucus production )
- Probiotics might help boost the immune system and prevent infection
- Your child should sleep on the side
- Play with your child to make clicking noises with tongue on roof of mouth
- Chew a sugar free chewing gum.
- Investigating the possibility of a food intolerance or allergy.
- Increase intake of fruits and vegetables ( the antioxydants can prevent the inflammation to settle)