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Problems with the ears and nose often lead to a diagnosis of PCD. Otitis Media with Effusion (OME) or Glue Ear is almost universal in PCD. This is due to mucus collecting in the Eustachian tube and not cleared as the cilia there are not working properly.
This means air does not get to the middle ear from the nose, fluid taking its place. This causes hearing loss as the sound has to travel through the liquid. In younger children there may be ear infections. Technically, the problem is just lack of air.
The normal management of a child with hearing loss due to glue ear is insertion of grommets (ventilation tubes). When grommets are put in the ear is no longer waterproof, so care must be taken when hair washing and swimming.
The tube can get infected and ear discharge may result. PCD patients with grommets tend to have persistent ear discharge.
The discharge mitigates any benefits from the grommets and makes wearing hearing aids not possible. For this reason normally grommets are not inserted in children with PCD except in special situations such as if the ear drum looks in danger of collapsing.