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Grommets for children

This is a surgery for children who cannot hear well because of a build-up of fluid called glue ear in their ears.

During the surgery, a tiny tube is inserted in the ear to drain this fluid. 4 out of 5 children suffer at one point from glue ear, but the condition goes away on its own, without treatment.

Read the Grommets for Children checklist for further information.


Does it work?

Glue ear isn't always treated. Your GP will usually wait and see if the symptoms get better on their own. This is because there's no effective medicine for glue ear, and it often clears up on its own within 3 months. They may still monitor you for up to a year in case the symptoms change or get worse.

We recommend that doctors only prescribe this surgery in special cases, when several different conditions are met, like very acute loss of hearing that impacts their development.

How can I be referred?

To make sure that you get the best treatment for your condition your GP, hospital consultant or nurse specialist will discuss the different treatment options with you.

Some operations or treatments will only be recommended for some patients and your doctor will assess whether or not you meet the clinical conditions or criteria. Please click here to look at the criteria for Grommets.

If you meet the criteria then this will be the best treatment option for you and the procedure will be arranged.

If you don’t meet the criteria then you will be offered the most effective treatment for your particular condition.

If you don’t qualify for the treatment, but your doctor or nurse thinks that there are exceptional clinical circumstances in your case then they may submit an Individual Funding Request (IFR) to an independent panel for consideration.

The IFR panel meets weekly and aims to consider cases within 14days. The panel’s decision will be communicated to you by letter if you are an adult or by letter to your GP if you are the guardian of a child applying for funding.

If your IFR application is rejected (meaning that your surgery will not be funded by the NHS), then you or your GP has the right to appeal to the IFR panel against this decision within 90days. The panel is independent to your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).