At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 115
that contains three tiny bones that
carry sound vibrations. The fluid
prevents these bones from moving
freely, which in turn affects hearing.
So what causes glue ear? Medical
opinion is divided, but glue ear could
result from a previous ear infection,
smoke irritation or an allergy. What
doesn't cause glue ear is a build-up of
ear wax or getting water in the ear
after swimming or showering.
Very often the condition will clear
up on its own within three months.
If it doesn't, your GP may recommend
antibiotics followed, if necessary,
by grommet surgery. That's where a
grommet (tiny tube) is inserted into the
child's ear to drain the offending fluid.
But which parent wants to put their
child through surgery - especially
one involving a general anaesthetic
- if it isn't totally necessary?
Moreover, which parent wants to
wait the suggested three months
before taking any action at all?
Fortunately there is now a drug-free,
non-surgical alternative for treating glue
ear - Otovent® from Kestrel Medical.
It consists of a small nasal device
attached to a balloon that the child
inflates through their nose. The act of
blowing up the balloon helps to open
up the ear's tube, making it easier for
the fluid to drain away. This needs
to be done three
times a day until the
glue ear is cured,
which could happen
The fact that
Otovent® can be
used at home is
as is the fact that
young patients can
operate the device
which is far less
scary for them than
having a parent
or nurse doing it.
If a clinician isn't
available to show
how to use the
there are a number
of instructional videos
THE SCIENCE BIT
Otovent® is a proven effective
form of treatment for reducing the
symptoms of glue ear (otitis media
with effusion). It is the only clinically
effective, non-surgical and drug-free
treatment for glue ear.
It is a small balloon that the
child inflates through their nose
three times a day until the fluid has
The act of blowing air into
the balloon helps to open up the
Eustachian tube, making it easier for
fluid to drain from the middle ear.
The Otovent® balloon equalises the
of the middle
1 Autoinflation opens
up and forces
air through the
pressure to relieve the symptoms
in the middle ear and results can
often be seen after just a few days.
The Otovent® method is a clinically
proven first-line treatment option
to help avoid the need
for grommets. This
treatment has been
ENT specialists for
the past 20 years.
available on the internet, or you
can contact manufacturers Kestrel
Medical in Dorset.
The National Institute for Health and
Care Excellence (NICE) wrote of
Otovent® in their innovation briefing
(15 March 2016): 'Four randomised
controlled trials, all in children, have
shown that using the device causes
significant improvements, compared
with standard care, in middle-ear
function; one of the trials also reported
a significant reduction in the need for
grommet insertion surgery.'
The report reviewed four randomised
clinical trials on Otovent®, involving 565
children. All trials showed significant
improvements in middle-ear function
with Otovent®, compared with those
receiving standard care and no serious
adverse effects associated with using
the balloons were reported. And the
latest trial of 320 children, aged four-10
years, conducted at the University of
Southampton, found children using
Otovent® experienced fewer days with
any glue-ear related symptoms at both
one month and three months, compared
to children who didn't use the device.
Paediatrician Dr Ranj Singh says: 'Glue
ear can be problematic and frustrating
for children and their parents. For
decades, there has been little in the way
of treatment other than surgery. But
now, for the first time, there is a real
alternative that has clinically proven
'By using an auto-inflation device,
parents have a relatively non-invasive
and low-cost option for helping to treat
their child's glue ear, before thinking
about surgery or antibiotics. It's a
long overdue treatment!'
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Call 01202 658444
Otovent® is available
from pharmacies and
online. A kit with
applicator and five
balloons costs £7.85