glue ear

Online community

There are various online forums for Teachers of the Deaf and parents of deaf children, in the UK and other parts of the world.  BATOD manages an email forum.

You are welcome to join the online community here to keep in touch.

To keep in touch with other developments, please register to join the MESHConnect general online community.


Areas for further research

A Swedish study trialled a new inflation device that could be used with younger children (Bidarian-Moniri et al. 2014).  The teddy inflation device consisted of a mask covering the mouth and nose and a separate pump.  It was found to improve middle ear pressure and hearing thresholds after four weeks of treatment.  A moniri otovent has been developed for the use with children from the age of two years.


Editor's comments

Glue Ear affects young children at a time critical for developing speech and language.  If a child is unable to convey their needs they can become frustrated and this will impact on their behaviour and social skills.  Despite the prevalence of Glue Ear in the early years, staff training to work in nurseries and pre-schools are not provided with information about the symptoms of Glue Ear and strategies that can be used to help.   



Studies suggest that Glue Ear is experienced by children around world.  Protocols and funding for treatments will vary, however an awareness that a child has Glue Ear is vital.  Strategies can be used to minimise the impact of a temporary hearing loss and steps can be taken to improve the listening environment to promote speech access.


Strength of evidence

Epidemiology studies for Glue Ear took place in the 1980s and 90s and the high incidence of Glue Ear in the early years was well documented.  More recent studies in the UK have confirmed these findings and the seasonal variation of Glue Ear is evidenced in research and attendance at hearing assessment clinics.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation, which provides national guidelines to promote good health.  The NICE guidelines for Glue Ear are based on research and professional advice.



Anderson, K. & Smaldino, J. (2000) ’Children’s Home Inventory for Listening Difficulties’  Designed by Oticon 2007 [Online] [Accessed: 9 Sept. 23]

Bupa (2013)  How Glue Ear develops [Online animation]  [Accessed: 9 Sept. 23]


What it sounds like to have Glue Ear

Listening with Glue Ear will result in speech sounding quieter and muffled.  The NDCS (2017: 7) compares it to ‘listening to the world with your fingers stuck in your ears’.   Listening will be hard work and tiring.  A child’s auditory neurological network is not fully developed so they are unable to make sense of misheard words in the same way as adults (Cole and Flexer 2011).   They do not have the knowledge of language to understand unclear speech.  Listening in noisy environments will be even more challenging.


Additional information

Glue Ear Together works with families, education and health, to provide clear, up-to-date information that promotes positive outcomes for children with glue ear.



An otovent consists of a nose piece and a balloon and is considered suitable for use for children over 3 years of age.  The nose piece is placed against the nostril whilst the other nostril is held closed and the balloon is inflated by blowing with the nose.  This procedure helps to open the eustachian tube, equalise the air pressure and allow the fluid in the middle ear to drain down the back of the throat.  It is recommended to be used 3 times a day with 1 inflation through each nostril on each occasion.


Listening environment

A study by Klatte et al, (2010) showed that background noise had a greater impact on children’s speech perception and listening comprehension than adults, with high levels of classroom noise adversely impacting attainment.

Children are not able to make sense of words they have missed, as their auditory neurological network is not fully developed (Cole and Flexer 2011).



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