What is Glue Ear?
Glue ear is the term used to describe the middle ear filling with mucus and fluid. Between 15-20% of children between 2 -5 years are likely to have glue ear at some time. It can fluctuate and may affect the child differently at different times.
Why might it be a problem?
The mucus stops the sound travelling through the ear and can cause temporary deafness. If a child is unable to hear speech sounds and words clearly, he will be unable to copy them which may delay speech and language development.
What can cause glue ear?
- Family history
- Bacteria from colds, flu, sore throats
- Passive smoking
- Cold weather
- Allergies to pets/pollen/dust
- Using a dummy
How can I prevent or reduce the risk of Glue Ear occurring?
- Breastfeed your baby
- Give your child a balanced diet
- Create a non-smoking environment
- Reduce dummy use
How can I spot a child with Glue Ear?
If it is acute (sudden onset) a child will experience the following:
- Severe earache
- High temperature
- Discharge of puss/blood
- Very unwell – possible sickness and diarrhoea
- Frequent pulling at their ears
Behaviours that frequently accompany Glue Ear
- Pain (earache) with or without discharge
- Wake at night
- Frequent colds
- Breathing through their mouth
- Hearing difficulties
- Socially inept
What can I do if I suspect glue ear?
- Keep a log of when your child is responsive or when they are having a ‘bad day’
- Visit the G.P. and ask to be sent for a hearing test.
If you know a child has Glue Ear
- Be patient
- Reinforce everything visually
- Always get their attention by using their name and only give the instruction once they have made eye contact with you
- Give instructions as close to them as possible
- Reduce background noise as much as possible
- Facilitate their social relationships
- Keep speech clear at all times
- Position them at the front during circle time
- Be ready to repeat things