Editor's Rating

I noticed my daughters hearing wasn't as it should be, there were times when I would speak to her or call her and she wouldn't answer, she was only three so it was difficult to tell if it was a real problem as she was always picking up colds at nursery. A similar thing happened to me as a child and as a result I had my tonsils removed so I decided to get it checked out. Her hearing test picked up that she had hearing loss and I was worried that she would need grommets or tonsils out so I was surprised that I was given a prescription for an Otovent. Just after her 4th birthday we starting using the balloon and a few months later we returned for another test, this time her hearing was greatly improved. We continued again for another three months and today the results came back that she would not need any kind of surgery or further appointments. We will continue to use the balloon for another couple of months as the pressure behind the ear drum is still a little low but her hearing was perfect. It is certainly worth trying and am very grateful that her consultant recommended this as a solution over invasive surgery.


NICE Issues Technical Guidance on Otovent Balloon that Could Reduce Childhood Surgery and Save the NHS Millions

An auto inflation device could be used as a first-line non-surgical, drug-free treatment option for glue ear according to a new report published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.


Otovent, from Kestrel Medical, offers a non-invasive alternative to antibiotics and surgery for the 80% of children in the UK that suffer with Otitis Media with Effusion and should be used as a first-line treatment during or after the period of active observation following diagnosis, according to the report. Otovent works by using pressure from a balloon to help drain fluid that gets trapped in the middle ear and causes subsequent hearing problems.

As pointed out by the specialist commentators, parents are often disheartened when told to wait for three months to see if the symptoms of glue ear improve. They are therefore keen to try this treatment as it may reduce the need for grommet surgery and does not require high level monitoring as opposed to hearing aids. Otovent will also allow parents to initially treat children in the home environment, without having to rely on antibiotics or surgery.

According to the report, Otovent can easily be incorporated into NHS clinics, along with information on the effectiveness and instruction on the method. If no clinician is available to show how to use the device correctly, there are a number of instructional videos available on the internet.

The report reviews four randomised clinical trials on Otovent involving a total of 565 children. All trials showed statistically significant improvements in middle ear function with Otovent compared with standard care. The improvements were determined by pneumatic optometry and tympanometry. No serious adverse effects associated with using the Otovent balloon were reported.

The latest trial of 320 children aged 4 to 11 years, undertaken by Dr Williamson at the University of Southampton, found that children using Otovent experienced fewer days with any glue-ear related symptoms compared to those that didn’t at both one (47.3% and 35.6%, respectively) and three months (49.6% and 38.3%, respectively). Otovent also produced greater improvements in ear-related quality of life assessed using the validated tool, a 14-point questionnaire on the impact of OME (OMQ-14).

Paediatrician Dr Ranj Singh said: ‘Glue ear can be problematic and frustrating for children and their parents. Despite the potentially significant consequences on development, there has traditionally been little in the way of treatment, other than surgery. Now for the first time, there is a real alternative that has clinically-proven results.

‘By using an auto-inflation device, parents have a relatively non-invasive and low-cost option for helping to treat their child’s glue ear before thinking about surgery, potentially avoiding antibiotics. Such an easy-to-use and effective treatment has been long overdue!

It goes on to suggest that this treatment should be used more widely in children over the age of four to manage Otitis Media with Effusion and help treat the associated hearing loss.

Otovent consists of a small nasal device attached to a balloon which the child inflates through their nose. The act of blowing up the balloon helps to open up the Eustachian tube, making it easier for the fluid to drain from the middle ear and if used properly, the child’s hearing can improve in just a few days.

Otitis Media with Effusion, commonly known as Glue Ear, is a widespread condition that affects around 200,000 children every year in the UK and is most common in children under the age of ten. It’s caused when a sticky, glue-like fluid fills the middle ear and causes the child to have problems hearing. Ongoing hearing loss or pain often results in a grommet operation, which is the most common reason for general anaesthetic in children.

About Otovent

Otovent is a proven effective form of treatment for reducing the symptoms of glue ear (Otitis Media with Effusion). It is the only clinically effective, non-surgical and drug free treatment for glue ear.

Otovent is a small balloon which the child inflates through their nose. The act of blowing up the balloon helps to open up the Eustachian tube, making it easier for fluid to drain from the middle ear. The Otovent balloon equalises the pressure to relieve the symptoms in the middle ear.

Otovent needs to be used three times a day until all the fluid has drained away. Results can often be seen as early as a few days into using it.

The Otovent method is a clinically proven first-line treatment option to help avoid the surgical insertion of tubes into the eardrum. It is a non-surgical, drug free treatment for glue ear, and has been recommended by ENT specialists for the last 20 years. The child inflates a small balloon using their nose, and at the same time equalises the pressure and relieves the symptoms in the middle ear. Blowing up the balloon helps to open up the Eustachian tube, making it easier for fluid to drain from the middle ear. Otovent should be used 2-3 times daily until all the fluid has been drained a day.

Who can use Otovent

Adults and children from 3 years of age can be treated with Otovent. Children can use Otovent at home under parental supervision. It is painless, harmless and takes only a matter of seconds to perform.

Where to buy Otovent

Otovent is available on prescription, Boots stores, pharmacies and online from www.gluear.co.uk.