What is glue ear?

Glue ear is a common condition where fluid collects in the middle ear behind the eardrum (see figure 1). It can cause deafness and repeated earache or infections, resulting in a discharge from the ear.

Glue Ear

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Figure 1

What are the benefits of surgery?

A grommet (small plastic or metal tube) allows air to enter the middle ear, preventing fluid build-up.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

The condition almost always gets better but it is not possible to say when this will happen.

Surgery is recommended if the glue ear continues for longer than three months and is causing problems with poor hearing, slow speech development, repeated ear infections, slow school progress or behavioural problems.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 20 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a small hole in the eardrum and remove the fluid by suction. This is called a myringotomy. They will place a plastic or metal grommet in the hole.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding

2 Specific complications

  • Fluid leaking from the ear
  • Ear discharge
  • Small hole left in the eardrum after the grommet falls out
  • Repeated build-up of fluid in the middle ear

How soon will my child recover?

Your child should be able to go home the same day.

Other than swimming, your child should be able to return to normal activities after one to two days.

The grommet will fall out of your child’s ear by itself, after 6 to 18 months, depending on the material and design of the grommet.


Author: Miss Ruth Capper MD FRCS (ORL-HNS)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

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How long does it take?

Expected length of hospital stay

Day Case

Fixed prices

Private Glue Ear treatment prices.

Option In London Outside London Under 16's
£2000.00 £1890.00 £2250.00

Glue Ear - where does it take place?

HCA Healthcare UK hospitals offering ENT - Ear, Nose and Throat treatments

See below for the HCA hospitals that offer private Glue Ear treatment.

Glue Ear - consultants

Consultants offering ENT - Ear, Nose and Throat treatments

Some of the country's top consultants choose to practice in our World-Class Private Hospitals and private units. See below for the consultants available for this procedure.

Only Mr Nico Jonas performs the paediatric procedure at The Portland Hospital.

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