Novel approach to treating glue ear could save children from surgery

A new trial is underway to determine if a short course of oral steroids can improve the hearing of children suffering from glue ear.

Glue ear is the most common reason for childhood surgery, with approximately 25,000 operations carried out each year in the UK. Also known as otitis media with effusion (OME), the condition is caused by an accumulation of sticky fluid in the middle ear and affects around 80% of children by the age of four.

For most children, glue ear gets better by itself. But for thousands of children each year it results in deafness that can affect speech, social development and learning. This in many cases leads to depression, as well as behavioural and attention disorders.

With a substantial award from the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme, researchers from Cardiff University