There has been a comprehensive amount of research conducted that has demonstrated medicine is often ineffective at resolving otitis media with effusion (OME) also known as glue ear. After children have been diagnosed and assessed on the severity and potential risks of their condition there will be a ‘watching and waiting’ period. Generally, almost half of glue ear cases will resolve themselves within three months. *

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However, there is also something parents can do during the ‘watchful waiting’ period in order to potentially stop the requirement for surgery. You can speak to your GP about Otovent, a clinically effective, glue ear treatment designed to reduce the need for surgical intervention. The treatment improves recovery time, is non-invasive and is convenient. Additionally, you can purchase Otovent over the counter.

Using Otovent

Otovent is a small balloon which the child blows up using their nose. Otovent balances the pressure and eases the symptoms in the middle ear when blown up and fluid in the Eustachian tube can then easily drain from the middle ear. Otovent is best used three times a day (morning, midday or after school, and evening), After one week it should be used at least twice a day (morning and evening). Then normal duration of treatment is 2-3 weeks, after which a physician should decide whether or not to continue with the treatment. Each Otovent medical balloon may be inflated a maximum of 20 times.

  • The latest study on Otovent®, conducted by the University of Southampton**, has shown that children using the Otovent® device experienced fewer days with any glue ear related symptoms compared to those that didn’t at both one and three months. Read more about the study here.


Watch the following video produced by the resaerchers from the University of Southampton and learn how to use Otovent® Glue Ear Treatment (also known as nasal balloon autoinflation):


Download Otovent lealfet here: download pdf document about clinical trial on Otovent Otovent® Glue Ear Treatment

Grommet surgery

Currently, a grommet surgery is the most effective treatment for glue ear however, results are more likely to be effective with children who have a history of severe or prolonged glue ear. Surgery is conducted under general anaesthetic and usually takes about 15 minutes. During the surgery, a very small ventilation tube called a grommet is inserted into your child’s ear through a small incision (cut) in their eardrum. The surgical procedure will help flush fluid away in the middle ear, while maintaining air pressure in the middle of the ear cavity. Your child should be allowed to go home the same day.

The grommet will help keep the eardrum open for several months. In most cases, the grommet will eventually fall out once the eardrum has healed, this is usually 6 to 15 months after it was inserted. Occasionally, some children may require another grommet surgery to fully alleviate glue ear.

You should also talk to your surgeon about potential risks and careers that may be prohibited after grommets surgery.

Other treatments

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends that antibiotics, antihistamines or decongestants should not be taken for glue ear as they are not effective at treating the condition and can be harmful.

How to Buy
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** Williamson I, Vennik J, Harnden A, Voysey M, Perera R, Kelly S, Yao G, Raftery J, Mant D, Little P. Effect of nasal balloon autoinflation in children with otitis media with effusion in primary care: an open randomized controlled trial. CMAJ, July 2015 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.141608.