Nose balloons can 'alleviate glue ear' in children
Blowing up a nose balloon can reduce hearing loss and pain in children affected by "glue ear" without resorting to drugs or surgery, a study has shown.
Inflating the balloon by blowing through each nostril in turn opens up the Eustachian tubes and promotes drainage of thick fluid filling the middle ear.
Researchers tested the "autoinflation" technique on 320 children aged four to 11 from 43 family doctor practices across the United Kingdom. All had a history of otitis media with effusion, or glue ear, with fluid confirmed in at least one ear.
After three months, nearly half the treated children had normal middle-ear pressure compared with 38.3% of those who did not undergo the procedure.
They also experienced significantly fewer parent-reported symptoms including hearing difficulty, earache, and sleep disturbance.