Glue Ear: Guide

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Hearing Aids

In some cases a child with Glue Ear may benefit from a low-powered hearing aid. Hearing aids can be worn for many months while waiting for Glue Ear to clear itself and may be preferable to surgical treatment.

Child with hearing aids

Nice guidelines (2008: 14) state:

  • 1.6.3  Hearing aids should be offered to children with persistent bilateral OME and hearing loss as an alternative to surgical intervention where surgery is contraindicated or not acceptable.

Hearing aids may not always be appropriate and this will need to be discussed fully with the children’s hearing centre.

Two types of hearing aids may be considered, a post aural (behind the ear) hearing aid and a bone conduction aid.

Post aural hearing aid

Once a decision has been made to issue a post aural hearing aid, an impression of the concha (outer ear) will be taken for an ear mould to be made.  To get the best performance from a hearing aid it is vital that the earmould fits well.  As a child’s ears grow, the earmould will become too small and new impressions will need to be taken for replacement ear moulds.


Further information about supporting daily hearing aid use can be found here.



Bone conduction aid

A bone conduction hearing aid works by vibrating bone on the child’s head to send the signal straight to the inner ear.  The sound does not pass through the middle ear as is the case with a conventional hearing aid.  The transducer, which vibrates, can be on a hard or soft band.  There are many different makes and models of all hearing aids and audiologists are skilled at recommending the most appropriate aid. This leaflet provides more information about one model of bone conduction aid and instructions for use.

Another type of bone conduction aid involves surgery to implant an abutment which the external part of the aid connects to.  Due to the fact that Glue Ear is temporary, this would not be used for the treatment of Glue Ear.

The NDCS produces a book ‘Hearing Aids: Information for families’.  



NDCS (2020) ‘Hearing Aids: Information for families’.  [Online] [Accessed: 27 May 2021].

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Otitis media with effusion in under 12s: surgery.’ [Accessed: 27 May 2021].