Glue ear is considered as a normally pain-free condition where adhesive fluid accumulates in the middle or inner ear right behind the eardrum. In most circumstances, this condition clears up without requiring treatment. On the other hand, it is important to note that glue ear is considered as a common reason why some children are required to undergo surgery. This ear condition can affect individuals of all ages, but it is quite prevalent among small children below 2 years old. The indications linked with glue ear can be subtle or not even present at all.
Loss of hearing
Since glue ear does not evidently cause ear pain, the symptoms are usually overlooked. The usual indication of this ear condition is no other than hearing loss that occurs along with a stuffiness or full sensation in the ears. In some cases, those who have glue ear describe the hearing impairment as muffled. Take note that a single ear or both can be affected. As for children, they end up with recurrent episodes of middle ear infections.
The hearing loss linked with glue ear can appear to subside or worsen from one day to the next. The degree of impairment has a tendency to vary due to certain factors such as the thickness of the fluid in the ear and if the child has common cold. The standard time frame in which the fluid stays in the ear is about 4 weeks. In most cases, the fullness in the ear must clear up within 3 months.
What are the physical symptoms?
Oftentimes, there are no other symptoms linked with glue ear other than the loss of hearing, including the drainage of fluid from the ears. Take note that glue ear can also cause a headache or fever in some individuals. In addition, this ear condition can also disrupt with the usual sleeping habits.
Even though pain in the ear is not common, the symptoms of glue ear might occasionally manifest. If a young child develops this ear condition that is unable to express pain, he/she might tug on the affected ear.
In some circumstances, the only evident indication of glue ear is behavioral changes. If a child develops the ear condition, he/she can become tired, irritable and frustrated. The child might appear sluggish in his/her attempt to walk, talk or comprehend when he/she is being spoken to.
As for older children, they can express verbally that he/she is unable to hear properly. The child might say “what” repeatedly or turn up the volume of the TV or radio louder than usual. In addition, school-age children who have glue ear can start to experience issues at school due to the hearing loss.