Evidence-Based Interventions: grommets for glue ear in children
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Evidence-Based Interventions: grommets for glue ear in children

>>Jeremy Davies: I’m Jeremy Davies, I’m
a Consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at Medway NHS Foundation Trust and I’m going
to discuss the inclusion of grommets for hearing loss in the NHS Evidence-Based interventions
programme. Grommets are small tubes that we place in
the ear drum under a general anaesthetic and they allow air into the middle ear and any
fluid there to disperse to help hearing. However, in many cases of glue ear, which is what we’re
doing this operation for, the fluid will disperse on its own and so the hearing will come back
to normal without intervention. The use of grommets for glue ear is largely
carried out in children although occasionally we have to use it in adults. In children it’s
to help speech development and their hearing for those who’ve got persistent glue ear
for longer than a number of months. There are other reasons why we sometimes have to
use grommets and they are covered in the EBI documentation.
Grommets surgery does carry a risk of infection, a persistent hole in the ear drum and sometimes
the need to remove or replace a grommet so it’s not without a small degree of risk,
and so we should only be using it where its actually going to provide benefit for the
child. I specialise in the treatment of ear, nose
and throat conditions including head and neck cancer, for me it’s important that grommet
surgery for glue ear has been included in the NHS Evidence-Based interventions programme
as this will clarify which children should be referred to us as ENT surgeons and which
can be treated by the general practitioner. I and my colleagues in ENT UK strongly support
the inclusion of grommets surgery for glue ear in the NHS Evidence-Based interventions
programme to ensure we make the best use of scare resources.

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