Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Glue ear is a condition that occurs when fluid accumulates in the middle ear behind an intact eardrum, without signs of an acute infection.


This usually develops after an acute middle ear infection (acute otitis media) and/or accompanies an upper respiratory tract infection. With this condition, there is a general tendency towards spontaneous recovery, though the fluid remains in the middle ear for a small percentage of children. This leads to poor hearing and, in the long term, to developmental delays in speech and language.


Some children have no symptoms of glue ear; others experience a feeling of pressure and/or have noticeable hearing loss.

Diagnosis and treatment


For pronounced hearing loss or if the condition does not resolve spontaneously within a few months, ear tubes can be placed after which hearing will be restored.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Latest publication date: 11/08/2021