Autoinflation for otitis media with effusion helpful in the short term

Clinical question: 
Is autoinflation effective for hearing loss in adults and children with otitis media with effusion?
Bottom line: 
Evidence for the use of autoinflation in the short term (up to 3 months) is favourable. Given the low cost and absence of adverse effects it is reasonable to consider autoinflation whist awaiting natural resolution of otitis media with effusion.
All of the studies were small, of limited treatment duration (3 weeks to 3 months) and short follow-up. The long-term effects of this treatment cannot be determined.
Otitis media with effusion (“glue ear”) is the most common cause of acquired hearing loss in children, and can lead to problems of language, development and behaviour. Although there are a number of treatment option (steroids, antibiotics, decongestants, antihistamines and grommet insertion), the best treatment strategy remains controversial as the condition often resolves spontaneously within a few months. Autoinflation is a technique whereby the Eustachian tube is reopened by raising pressure in the nose, encouraging drainage of the fluid.
Review CD#: 
November, 2007
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy