ZocdocAnswersWhat is Glue ear?

Question

What is Glue ear?

My daughter, who's seven years old, was having trouble hearing things in her left ear. The pediatrician looked at her and said she has glue ear, but said she didn't need any treatment now. I don't understand ? if glue ear is a problem, what are we waiting for? Why can't we treat it now?

Answer

Questions about your child's health are best answered by a pediatrician. Depending on the circumstances, a pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists may also be consulted for an issue involving the ears. 'Glue ear' is a term used to refer to a collection of fluid in the middle ear space of a child with chronic ear infections. The small bones of the ear which aid in hearing are separated from the external ear canal by the ear drum. When repeated infections occur in a child's ear, it is possible for fluid to accumulate in this space between the ear drum and the inner ear. Over time this fluid can become very thick and sticky and can impair a child's hearing, hence the name 'glue ear.' The majority of cases of glue ear will clear up on their own, without medical intervention. However, in some cases clearing the fluid in the ear and preventing it from returning may require surgical intervention. This usually involves placing a small tube into the ear drum to help drain the fluid inside. Deciding when to proceed with surgery for glue ear is a decision best made after discussing the situation with a pediatrician. Some physicians may prefer to wait to go to surgery to see if the condition will resolve on its own. Determining what is best for your child's particular circumstances can only be done in consultation with a physician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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