Glue ear can be treated initially medically or conservatively or surgically. If they fail medical treatment which include trying to teach them to blow their nose or to auto inflate their middle ear using an auto-band device, yawning, chewing or even using medication such as decongestants in forms of steroid sprays to open up the incision tube, if they all fail and they’ve had the glue ear for at least 3 to 6 months and it’s affecting their learning and internal hearing, then you resort to putting in a grommet which is a small plastic device in most cases.. which enables the mid ear pressure to be the same as the external ear pressure.
It’s a short operation which can be done endoscopically as well as with microscope where they make a little cut on the drum and place the grommet in.
The operation itself lasts about five minutes and has a very little ill effects on child or even adults in some cases, but it enables the patient to hear because the middle ear space which was otherwise reducing pressure, or contained a lots of fluid, is now freed of all those encumbrances and the ear drum is able to move freely and enables the patient to hear.
The grommet lasts about 6 to 18 months in the ear, although it can come out sooner that than. In some cases, they stay in for much longer in which case the surgeon would consider removing it only if it’s causing problem in the patient’s ear.
Most of the time we don’t notice if there’s a problem or not. Potential problem is arise from the grommet could be infection, which is treated very effective with antibiotic drips.
The other problems could be that the hole that’s created when putting in the grommet may not close but that’s rare, but if it’s does, but if it’s appropriate and the child is much older, then the surgeon would consider closing that hole with another operation. But more often than not, the hole heals on its own after the grommet falls out.