Ever heard of “glue ear”?
If you’re thinking it has something to do with DIY slime-making mishaps, you’re not even close. It’s actually a common ear condition among children that can lead to hearing loss, behavioral problems and even deafness – and now some experts say it might be avoided with a certain type of “good” germ in your child’s system.
Namely, healthy “nose bugs” could be the key to preventing glue ear in kids, Newshub recently reported.
How the bacteria helps
Glue ear in kids happens when thick fluid gathers behind a child’s eardrum. It’s a far-reaching issue, experts say, with up to 80 percent of kids experiencing it before they even start school, the article explains.
But the new study, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, found that kids with higher levels of “bad” or harmful bacteria in their noses had more cases of glue ear than children with high levels of non-harmful, diverse bacteria in their noses.
“It was a really surprising result, because most people think of the bacteria as being invasive,” lead researcher Rebecca Walker says in the article.
Those “good” bugs in the nose canal have been found to be beneficial in other studies, too. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the “good bacteria” in the nasal passages can fight infections by preventing bad bacteria from colonizing and causing illness.
In the future, this research could help scientists to manipulate nasal bacteria and perhaps one day help prevent conditions like glue ear, the researchers noted.
Handling glue ear
Until that happens, you might be wondering about glue ear in kids and how you can prevent your kids from getting it.
Symptoms include hearing difficulty, talking louder than usual, turning up the volume on media devices or complaining about a ringing or buzzing in the ears.
“Glue ear that persists longer than a few months can cause permanent hearing damage,” Healthline explains. “Young children with chronic glue ear are also at a higher risk of delayed speech and language.”