Grommets are used in the management of glue ear. Glue ear, also known as otitis media with effusion, is a common cause of hearing loss. It is a condition where fluid build up behind the ear drum impacts the conduction of sound from the external environment to the inner ear. It is more common in children than adults and can have an impact on speech development and educational performance. It can be associated with recurrent ear infections (acute otitis media) and adenoid enlargement (See Adenoid Surgery).
We can assess for glue ear through history and examination including otoscopy. We can also use pure tone audiometry alongside tympanometry to determine the impact on hearing.
When indicated, glue ear can be managed surgically using ventilation tubes/grommets as a day case procedure under general anaesthetic. When appropriate it may be combined with adenoid surgery. Alternatives to surgery include watchful waiting and hearing aids. Options can be discussed at your consultation.