LIS­TEN UP

Frus­trated that your tod­dler doesn’t do as she’s told? Ac­cord­ing to pae­di­atric con­sul­tant Dr Ber­nadette Borg­stein, she may have glue ear...

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

Be­fore you raise your voice at your tod­dler again, it could be glue ear

Exposure to smok­ing and a fam­ily his­tory of glue ear also height­ens risk.

Next time you hear your­self say­ing through grit­ted teeth, “Will you please come here and put your shoes on!” to your tod­dler, pause for a mo­ment, and con­sider if she might have glue ear. Glue ear is one of the most com­mon child­hood ill­nesses, with chil­dren un­der the age of five the most af­fected. What is GLUE EAR? The mid­dle ear is the part be­hind the eardrum that con­tains three small bones that are vi­tal for op­ti­mal hear­ing. It is nor­mally filled with air, but when a child de­vel­ops glue ear, it fills with liq­uid in­stead. This hap­pens when a nar­row tube link­ing the mid­dle ear to the back of the throat – the Eus­tachian tube – be­comes blocked. This leads to a build-up of thick, gluey fluid from cells in the eardrum lin­ing. This fluid stops the eardrum mov­ing nor­mally and pre­vents vi­bra­tions be­ing passed along those three bones. The re­sult? Dulled hear­ing.

The Eus­tachian tube in ba­bies and young chil­dren is nar­row and eas­ily blocked, es­pe­cially when your lit­tle one has a cold or is suf­fer­ing from an al­lergy. It can also be blocked by en­larged ade­noids – these glands, sim­i­lar to ton­sils, are sit­u­ated close to the exit of the Eus­tachian tube at the back of the throat. If large ade­noids are to

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