The Otovent balloon is a treatment for Glue Ear. It sends a bubble of air up the Eustachian tube, encouraging the Eustachian tube to work better, and clear the Glue Ear. The Eustachian tube in children is smaller and flatter than in adults, it doesn't work properly and this predisposes children to Glue Ear.
Otovent is a recognised and recommended treatment for Glue Ear. Although it may not cure everyone, it helps many children, and is worth trying at least.
Who can use Otovent?
Otovent is used as a treatment for Glue Ear. Usually it will be tried during the three month observation period. If it's helpful, it can be continued longer, or restarted again in the future if Glue Ear comes back.
To use the Otovent the child need to know how to blow their nose. If your child doesn't yet know how to blow their nose then they are unlikely to be able to blow a balloon up using their nose. Therefore, Otovent isn't usually possible in children younger than three. From three onwards, it can be used if your child can blow their nose.
How do we use Otovent?
To help get your child started, show them how to use the device. This will also blow up the balloon, making subsequent inflations easier.
Ask child to apply the nozzle to one nostril, block the other nostril, and then inflate the balloon. Then repeat on the other side. This video shows how.
Otovent should be used three times per day for best results, or at least twice.
It is not clear how long Otovent use should continue. The manufacturer advises 2-4 weeks, then to be guided by medical advice. Continued use is likely to be safe, but some clinicians advise use for a couple of weeks, then a one week break, then restart if symptoms seem to be returning. Regular breaks make sense, as this allows you to see whether the device is doing anything: if child is better, but hearing deteriorates when you stop, then you know that the device is helpful.
Your child may experience popping or clicking, this is OK. But if they experience severe pain then stop. Also, don't use it when your child has a cold or is unwell.
Please note that you cannot just use an ordinary balloon, as this won't have the right pressure needed. Also, the balloons wear out after 20 uses, so you will need to get new ones.
The beauty of Otovent is that it could help clear Glue Ear without needing surgery. It is therefore recommended as a treatment for Glue Ear, at least during the three month observation period, if not for longer.