FAQ

How common is Glue Ear?
1,000,000 children are diagnosed with Otitis Media (ear complaints) annually in the UK alone. About 200,000 of these children are suffering from Glue Ear. Over 7 in 10 children will experience at least one episode of glue ear before their fourth birthday. Boys are more commonly affected than girls and it is common in children who:

  • Live in a home with smokers
  • Were bottle fed rather than breast fed
  • Have frequent colds, coughs or ear infections
  • Have a sibling who had glue ear
What are the general symptoms associated with glue ear?

The key symptom associated with glue ear is dulled hearing. Pain is not usually associated with the condition, however it is possible to feel a mild discomfort or stuffiness in the ear. See Glue Ear in Children or Glue Ear in Adults for further information.

Is there anything I can do for my child if they are suffering with glue ear?

Talk clearly and more loudly than usual as your child will probably be suffering with dulled hearing. Always try to get their attention before beginning a conversation so that they can look at your whilst you talk. Do not allow anybody in the same house to smoke around your child.

What causes glue ear?

The exact cause of Glue Ear is unknown though it is likely linked to the Eustachian tube not working properly. The balance of fluid and air in the middle ear may become altered if the Eustachian tube is narrow, blocked, or fails to fully open. Ais in the middle ear may gradually pass into the nearby cells if it is not replaced by air coming up the Eustachian tube. A vacuum may then develop in the middle ear. This may cause fluid to seep into the middle ear from the nearby cells. Some children develop glue ear following a cold, cough or ear infection because of the extra mucus produced. The mucus may build up in the middle ear and not drain well down the Eustachian tube. However, in many cases glue ear does not begin with an ear infection. See Glue Ear in Children or Glue Ear in Adults for further details.

Can glue ear be prevented?

In most cases there is no way of preventing glue ear as the cause is not fully understood. However, the risk of developing glue ear is less in children who live in smoke free homes and have been breastfed. Avoiding the use of dummies also reduces the risk.

What is the first step I should take if I think my child is suffering from glue ear?

If you think your child may be suffering from glue ear, the first thing you should do is visit your nearest GP who will be able to do a full examination of your child’s eardrum to ensure there is no infection in the ear. Typically, if glue ear has been diagnosed, you will be asked to return in a month to see if the condition has improved. This is called the “watchful waiting” period.

Can I use a normal balloon with the Otovent device?

You should only ever use an Otovent inflation device, which is a medical instrument specifically designed to apply pressure on the Eustachian tubes. If you use a balloon you run the risk of the pressure causing damage or the pressure may be insufficient to alleviate glue ear.

Can I just purchase extra Otovent balloons?

Whilst we are exploring the option of inflation device only packs, the Otovent kit can currently only be purchased in its entirety with nozzle and carry case.

Can using Otovent damage my ears?

No. Otovent has undergone rigorous and comprehensive clinical trials and tests to guarantee its safety. Please click on the following link to access Otovent clinical trial PDF downloads and key quotes.

Should my child continue to use Otovent if suffering from a cold?

No. Otovent should be avoided if your child is suffering from a cold or nasal congestion.

When my child first tried Otovent they found it uncomfortable and did not like the sensation. Is this normal?

Like anything that is new to some children, they find using the Otovent device uncomfortable to begin with. One way of overcoming this obstacle as a parent is to try the Otovent device yourself in order to demonstrate that the device is safe and pain free to use. Quite often, a child may experience a ‘clicking’ sensation or movement in their ears, which means the “glue” is moving and that the device is working.

How can I help my child inflate the Otovent device?

You can either stretch the inflation device to help them get started or inflate the device for them.

Can we take the Otovent on an airplane if we go on holiday?

Yes. You may use the Otovent on an airplane with complete confidence. The device can be used as normal when your child feels discomfort in their ear. Otovent has also undergone clinical trials which prove it is effective for treating some ear problems caused by flying.

What does using Otovent feel like?

The Otovent applies pressure to the Eustachian tube that connects the inner ear with the back of the throat. When air travels through the Eustachian tube it equalises the pressure behind the eardrum with the pressure outside. This causes a popping sensation similar to what you experience when ascending or descending in an aeroplane. If you are suffering from glue ear you will feel the “glue” move. This is as a result of it starting to drain away and is a sign the Otovent is working.

Why are there five Otovent inflation devices in a pack?

The Otovent inflation devices are made of natural latex and they stretch as they are used (max 20 inflations per device). Each device should last for three or four days.

Is Otovent available on prescription?

Yes. It is available on prescription from your healthcare provider.

How much does the Otovent kit cost?

If you have a prescription for a child less than 16 years of age it is free on the NHS. Otovent can also be bought over the counter or online.

How often should I use Otovent?

The use of Otovent is best spread three times a day or at least twice a day if that is not possible. The manufacturers recommend initial treatment for two to four weeks after which your GP practice should decide whether or not your should continue treatment.

Who can use Otovent?

Adults and co-operative children – some as young as three years of age – can use Otovent.

How long has Otovent been available in the UK market?

Otovent has been available in the UK since 1993 and gained prescription status in 2001.

My pharmacy is not familiar with Otovent, how do they order it in?

In a pharmacy each product has a unique identifying code. If you quote PIP code 102889 (Otovent’s code) they will be able to order it in for you. This process normally takes 24 – 48 hours. You can also buy Otovent online.

If you have any other questions that are not covered here please feel free to contact us.
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