Inexpensive nasal balloons can help cure "glue ear," a recent clinical trial suggests. The researchers believe that nasal balloons can eliminate the excessive costs of using ineffective antibiotics for the treatment of the condition.

Glue ear, or otitis media, is a common condition that affects the middle ear and results in an infection. In this condition, a thick fluid settles down in the middle ear, subsequently leading to a loss of hearing in children. The Medical Daily reports that an increased number of children are diagnosed of otitis media with effusion in recent years. A serious form of the condition may even lead to permanent ear damage and hearing loss.

Researchers from the University of Southampton conducted a study of 320 children between 4 and 11 in the U.K. All of the children were recently diagnosed of otitis media with effusion in one or both ears. The researchers then divided the children into two groups: the control group and the one that received nasal balloon treatment, along with the standard care.

The first group received only the standard treatment for a period of one to three months. The children in the second group were asked to inflate the nasal balloon three times a day for the same time period. The researchers found that the second group of children were more likely to have normal middle ear pressure within a month as compared to the control group.

“We have found the use of autoinflation in young, school-aged children with otitis media with effusion to be feasible, safe, and effective in clearing effusions, and in improving important ear symptoms, concerns, and related quality of life over a three-month watch-and-wait period,” the study authors concluded in the study.