Sunday, October 18, 2015

Glue Ear: With Otovent & Dr Ranj

Without a doubt the worst thing about being a parent is having a poorly child. Some things are easy to deal with and are obvious to spot, but some lurk beneath the surface so you can't see them. I've recently been learning about a condition called 'Glue Ear'. I was aware of this problem as my elder brother had it pretty bad while we were growing up and ended up having an operation to have grommets put in. My husband has always had ear issues and it looks like our son now struggles too, I'll come back to that later.

I thought I would share a little about Glue ear, some brilliant advice from the one and only Dr. Ranj, as well as those vital symptoms to look out for. It's horrible thinking your child may have some kind of behavioral problem - when actually they may be really suffering!

Dr Ranj’s Top Tips for Spotting Glue Ear

Parents get used to dealing with a range of ailments, but problems with a child’s hearing can be one of the most distressing conditions to deal with, as it can cause everything from pain and trouble sleeping, to a delay in learning development and social engagement.

One of the main causes of hearing loss in children is glue ear - a common condition that’s caused when a sticky, glue-like fluid fills the middle ear and causes the child to develop hearing difficulties. Approximately 80% of children in the UK suffer with glue ear, with the majority of those under the age of ten.

It can be particularly problematic after a cough, cold, or ear infection when extra mucus builds up, so as we head into cough and cold season, I’ve teamed up with top TV paediatrician Dr Ranj Singh, to put together his top tips on spotting glue ear in a child, as well as handy advice on how best to treat it.

Dr Ranj says:

1. Selective or loss of hearing

One of the most obvious ways to assess whether your child is suffering from glue ear is to look out for signs of hearing loss. For example, they may stop responding to instructions or struggle with conversation in a busy room unless you are face-to-face. In fact some people mistake hearing loss for disobedience, when in fact the child isn’t ignoring instructions – they just can’t hear them. You may also notice that they turn up the volume on the TV or that they become less responsive to everyday sounds such as the phone ringing or music on a radio.

2. Changes in behaviour

Another sign to look out for is any big changes in behaviour. Hearing loss can cause children to become angry and frustrated if they can’t keep up with conversations or understand what’s going on and they may even begin to isolate themselves from others or seem easily distracted and ‘zone out’. Keep an eye out at school and in the playground to see whether they may be struggling to hear over background noise.

3. Trouble communicating

General problems communicating or a delay in the development of your child’s communication skills may also be a sign of glue ear. Excluding hearing problems is important in any child with speech and language issues. Look out for changes in your child’s voice and language, especially if they are falling behind their peers at school or having difficulty in social situations.

4. Tiredness

It can be exhausting trying to strain to hear people all the time, so it’s no wonder that your child may become tired and more irritable if they are suffering with glue ear. It’s usually quite normal to be tired after a long say at school or after attending a birthday party, but just be aware of any change in patterns that could be a sign that your son or daughter is having to work extra hard to keep up.

5. Ear pain

If left untreated, glue ear can become painful for some children. Not everyone will suffer from this, but if your son or daughter is complaining of frequent earache and has problems sleeping, it could be a sign that they are suffering from glue ear. However, if the pain is severe or persistent, this could be a sign of an ear infection or something else, so you should always check with a healthcare professional.

Treating glue ear:

  • A child suffering with glue ear may present any combination of the above symptoms. In the first instance, it’s always sensible to speak to a healthcare professional to get them assessed and referred for further testing if necessary.
  • Sometimes your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, particularly if there is suspicion of infection, and if the problem persists grommet surgery may also be advised.
  • Unfortunately, despite the potentially significant consequences on development, there has traditionally been little in the way of definitive treatment for glue ear, other than surgery. However, there is now a real alternative that has clinically-proven results. 

  • Auto-inflation devices provide a relatively non-invasive and low-cost option for helping to treat glue ear, potentially avoiding surgery & the use of antibiotics. They give parents an easy-to-use and effective treatment option for their children.’
Since putting this article together and reading the brilliant advice and things to spot above, I have taken A to the doctors and he actually does has fluid in his middle ear and has been diagnosed with glue ear as we suspected, luckily with no infection - but lots of discomfort. We will be using this little device from Otovent to help A get some much needed relief. 
Otovent costs £7.84 and is the only clinically proven, non-surgical and drug free treatment for glue ear. Available from pharmacies nationwide and online at

Thanks for reading,