Glue ear is one of the most common childhood illnesses. Children under the age of five are the largest group affected, though for some it can persist into adolescence. Some adults may also be affected.
Glue ear is often, but not always, linked with ear infections. However, it can sometimes develop unnoticed. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, air cannot enter the middle ear. When this happens, the cells lining the middle ear begin to produce fluid. This can be like a runny liquid which can get thicker as it fills the middle ear, which can affect hearing.
A prolonged period of time with reduced hearing can affect the way in which a child’s speech develops. Children with glue ear may also fall behind at school and become disruptive if they do not have extra support. Changes in behaviour, becoming tired and frustrated, lack of concentration, preferring to play alone and not responding when called may indicate glue ear.
More information can be found in the patient information leaflet linked to on this page.