Glue ears

Glue ears is the condition where the fluid accumulates in the middle ear and with the period of time becomes viscous. This condition causes deafness as it hinders the movement of the chain of bones (ossicles) responsible for generation of impulse for hearing. This conditions occurs due to the blockage of the tube (eustachian tube) which connects the middle ear to the back of nose. This happens due to the following :

  • enlarged adenoids
  • chronic cold and runny nose
  • chronic sinusitis


Diagnosis of Glue ears:

The deafness caused by the glue ears is diagnosed by clinical examination and investigations include audiometry(hearing tests), Tympanometry or the impedence tests. At times the hearing loss is reported by the school teachers because the child is not attentive in the class room. This is due to the fact that the impaired hearing is slowly and gradually developed in these children.


Treatment of Glue ears:

Treatment of the Glue ear is to remove the glue and insert aa ventilating tube whci is called grommet. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. First the ear drum is incised (this part of the procedure is called Myringotomy). After the incision of the ear drum the glue is sucked out and the grommet ( ventilation tube) is inserted. See the sketch below:

Glue ears-1      Glue ears-2



Glue ears-3     Glue ears-4


Ear drums is incised under general anesthesia and a ventilating tube is inserted in the ear drum. This tube remains in the ear for 3 months to more than one year depending on the shape of the ventilating tube.

Sometimes the glue ears occur with enlarged adenoids and one has to perform the grommets surgery for ventilation of  the middle ear. The glue ears if not treated properly will lead to a condition known as chromic adhesive otitis media, where the tympanic membrane becomes adherent to the promontory and the deafness becomes permanent.