Ear wax is normal among people, but when you think it’s already to excessive, and you start feeling other sensation, like loss of hearing or pain, you might have another ear condition, known as glue ear. This ailment occurs when fluid builds up behind the ear drum, and although it goes away on its own, you can also get rid of it with some easy methods.
What Is Glue Ear?
Glue ear, also known as otitis media with effusion (OME), cloudy ear drum or fluid in the ear, is a condition where your middle ear is filled with fluid instead of being filled with air. The exact cause of glue ear is not yet known, although many doctors believed it’s because of an improperly functioning auditory tube. In most cases, only one ear is affected, although there are instances where both ears become clouded. As the middle ear’s density changes, going from low to high, vibrations made by the sound is saved in the ear drum and the bones are dampened. This results in low volume signals received by the cochlea.
Glue ear is common among children, although there are also adults that get this condition. Some risk factors for this condition are:
- Second-hand smoke. If you live in a place where people smoke, then you might get glue ear.
- Genetics. Some people, who have parents or siblings who get glue ear, also become more prone to getting this ailment.
- Recurring cold and cough.
- Children who are bottle fed and not breast fed.
Glue ear has several symptoms:
- Pain. It isn’t very common, but some children experience mild ear ache from time to time. (Learn how to get rid of ear aches)
- Dulled hearing. The affected person becomes mildly or severely deaf. If it occurs in children and persists, it can affect his or her normal intellectual development.
- Behavioral problems in children. One example is slower speech development.
Glue ear isn’t dangerous, but it can be very uncomfortable and annoying. To get rid of it, here are several tips you can try.
The Wait-and-See Approach
According to studies, almost half of all glue ear cases clear up on their own. Most physicians will recommend patients to wait and see if the problem will go away by itself. Wait for a few weeks or at least three months before trying any treatment options. If the condition persists, then it’s time to seek help from a qualified physician.
Medications are very helpful when dealing with glue ear, especially if pain comes with it. Consult your physician, so he will prescribe the most ideal medication for your condition. Here are several that are often advised.
- Antibiotics are prescribed by a physician if there are already severe symptoms felt, such as pain, infection or hearing loss.
- Antihistamines are for patients that have seasonal allergies. This helps remove the swelling that causes fluids to form in the ear. Make sure to read the package instructions, so you’ll know the right dosage.
- Decongestants work to open the eustachian tubes, allowing the ear to properly drain and curing the condition. Buy the right decongestant according to the patient’s age and condition.
This procedure is used to drain the fluid from the middle ear. It works by making a small incision in the eardrum. So the fluid will drain. Recovery may take about a week or two, so the ear drum will properly heal. If the doctor thinks this is the best possible remedy, then you should already undergo this treatment. It can be expensive, but the relief will be worth it.
Inserting Ear Tubes
If the doctor thinks it’s necessary, myringotomy might be performed so small tympanostomy tubes or grommets are inserted in the ear drum. When positioned these, tubes let air flow and help drain fluid better. Here’s how it’s done.
- You need to go to a hospital. The procedure will take only a few hours, although if the patient is an infant, he or she might need to stay overnight.
- You will be brought to an operating room and will be given general anesthesia. You will be unconscious for ten minutes.
- The surgeon then reaches your ear drum by going through your external ear canal opening. He will not cut the skin.
- A small hole will be made in the eardrum, to take away any fluid from the middle ear.
- A small plastic or metal tube will be inserted in the hole and in the ear drum. This allows the fluid and any remaining bacteria to drain from the ear canal.
- After positioning the ear tubes, the hearing goes back to normal, and chances of getting another glue ear is reduced greatly.
These grommets will stay in the ear for a year. When the eardrum closes, they will fall out on their own.
Should You Try Ear Candling?
Ear candling is one alternative remedy recommended by many people, and is said to help the tubes open by allowing the air to circulate in the middle ear, removing fluids. While many people find this effective, it’s better to stay away from it. Ear candling offers potential danger instead of actual curing ability. It doesn’t have any suction capabilities, and could cause severe burns to the user. Opt for scientifically-proven treatments above, instead. (Tips on how to use ear candles)
Glue ear can be a cumbersome condition, but it can go away. Just remember these treatment options, and your hearing will clear up in no time.
Click here for more information on how to get rid of glue ear.