Glue ear

Glue ear occurs when sticky fluid or ‘glue’ collects behind the ear drum.

Your child may appear to be ‘naughty’ because they do not listen to you. If the glue ear is not treated, their hearing may be affected and speech may be slower to develop.

Research has found that the risk of glue ear is reduced if you:

  • keep your child in smoke-free areas
  • breastfeed
  • feed baby in an upright position if bottle feeding (being fed lying down or propped up can cause milk to enter the middle ear and make it inflamed)
  • treat ear infections quickly
  • encourage older children to blow their nose rather than sniff. Teach your toddler how to blow their nose
  • keep your home warm and dry.


For help and advice call PlunketLine 0800 933 922, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If your child is sick please call Healthline, 0800 611 116, New Zealand's 24-hour telephone health advice service. All calls are answered by registered nurses.
In an emergency phone 111.
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