Using the nose to inflate a balloon helps heal glue ear, University of Southampton research suggests. The act increases the pressure in the ear to clear it of sticky mucus.
Three times a day, 320 children with glue ear used nasal balloons. A month later, 47% were clear of the condition, compared with 36% of those untreated. Glue ear affects about four in five children by their 10th birthday. Antibiotics, steroids, decongestants and antihistamines are all ineffective.
The Eustachian tube carries air from the back of the nose to the middle ear. This space, just behind the eardrum, contains three tiny, delicate bones critical for passing sounds waves through the ear.Glue ear stops the bones moving and impairs hearing.