Baby and Toddler Sickness: Glue Ear

What glue ear is, the symptoms of it, and treatment options.

Glue ear is a condition of the middle ear where the space behind the eardrum becomes filled with fluid – it can affect one or both ears.

The main symptom of the condition is hearing difficulty which, if left for long periods, may affect speech and language development in your child’s early years. If your child is asking you to repeat what you say, seems to not hear you, doesn’t answer when you speak to them, wants the TV or music up louder, they may not be hearing very well. For a child with glue ear, sounds can be muffled. If your child seems to have challenges with their hearing or their language isn’t developing as expected, see your GP for an examination.

Glue ear typically gets better without treatment, but it can take weeks or months to improve on its own. If your child is diagnosed with the condition, your GP may recommend regular check-ups to monitor it. Some children may need grommets fitted if it doesn’t get better on its own.

For more advice on keeping kids healthy, visit kidshealth.org.nz.

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