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If the tests are all confirmed, an appointment will be made for your child to have grommets inserted into the ear drum. 'It is a very quick procedure, typically lasting between ten and 15 minutes,' says David Mc Kiernan.Your child will be given an anaesthetic and then surgeons will use a microscope to look down the ear canal.
'Grommets are a minuscule piece of plastic tubing that you would need a microscope to see properly,' says David. Grommets are tiny plastic tubes that are inserted into the ear drum.They help equalise the pressure in the ear so your child can hear properly again.The ear is made up of three parts and to be able to hear properly, the 'middle ear' - the bit between the ear drum and the small bones which make up the inner ear - needs to be filled with air.The ear is connected to the nose by tiny tubes called the Eustachian tubes which open into the back of the throat.If these become blocked - normally through an ear infection - the middle ear fills up with fluid rather than air and your child will not be able to hear properly. The most common ages to see glue ear in children are at two and five years of age.'If glue ear happens at a critical stage in their development, the child can be deprived of normal sounds,' says David Mc Kiernan, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London.
'Not being able to hear affects their educational, social and motor development.It can also lead to behavioural problems.'How can you spot it?If your child has glue ear they may have had a succession of ear infections which cause the fluid to build up.They will have painful ears and may also have a temperature.You may notice that your child's hearing is not the same as normal and their speech may be developing more slowly than their brothers or sisters.Experts believe 17 out of 20 children will have had glue ear at some time before they are six years old.