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Trying Otovent for glue ear

Published Date: 11 May 2023

Isaac has always had a mixed hearing loss as he has had glue ear at times. We’ve previously gone through two grommets operations, once when he was two and once when he was four. The first one showed a significant improvement in his hearing levels, whereas the second one didn’t.

Isaac currently has a severe to profound hearing loss, and his hearing aids are working at max strength. We’ve been through the cochlear implant assessment process twice. They concluded the hearing aids were working better for him at the moment and that was better than the risk of cochlear implants not working for Isaac due to the shape of his cochleas. It may be something we may consider trying in the future if his hearing deteriorates, but for now he’s progressing well with hearing aids.

Last week at his hearing test, there was a significant drop in some frequencies, and after doing more tests, it was clear Isaac has more glue on each side. His school had noted the odd day where he struggled with his ‘ling’ sounds, and we sometimes got more than the usual 'huh' or 'what?', but nothing of any great concern.

I was adamant I didn't want to put him through another surgery, so now we’re trying the Otovent method. He has to blow up a balloon with his nose twice a day on each side. With regular use, this will help open the Eustachian tube and allow the fluid stuck behind the ear drum to drain over time. He found it tricky the first couple of times but has soon got in the swing of it, and it's now a regular part of his routine.

I also had a go myself, and it certainly isn't easy! But I felt the sensation and could see how it would hopefully work: it felt a bit like when your ears pop. So now we continue to use it and hope it makes a difference at his next test in three months’ time, reducing the amount of work his hearing aids are currently doing.


Emma is mum to Isaac (8), who has a severe hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She also has Ethan (3), who is hearing.