This animation explains what glue ear is.
Glue ear is most common in children. Click the navigation arrows below the animation
screen to play, pause, rewind or fast-forward the animation. This animation
contains sound. To understand the cause of glue ear, it’s
helpful to know how the ear works. Your ear consists of three parts: the outer
ear, the middle ear
and the inner ear. These all work together
to pass the sound from your ear to your brain. Here we show how the sound waves pass through
your ear. First, the sound waves pass through your ear
canal, to your eardrum. Your eustachian tube controls the pressure
in your middle ear, to make sure that your eardrum can vibrate
properly. Your ossicles amplify the sound,
which then passes through a small window into your cochlea.
In the cochlea, the sound waves are converted into electrical signals
that travel to your brain. Sometimes, the eustachian tube becomes blocked.
This may happen because of an infection or an allergy.
It’s most common in children. A blocked eustachian tube can cause fluid
to build up in the middle ear. This is often known as ‘glue ear’ because
sometimes the fluid is sticky like glue. The fluid makes it much more difficult for
the sound waves to pass through your ear canal. It also prevents the eardrum and ossicles
from vibrating properly. So, a child with glue ear may have some hearing
loss. Glue ear will usually get better on its own.
If it doesn’t, your doctor will advise you on the best treatment for your child.
This is the end of the animation. Click on the animation screen to watch it