Three Things To Know About Ear Tubes

Health & Medical Blog

Though ear infections are a part of childhood, recurrent ear infections can have lasting consequences. Children who suffer from frequent infections may suffer from hearing loss and speech delays. Ear tubes are one way to combat frequent ear infections. Tubes allow fluid to drain from the ears and promote healthy levels of pressure. Take a few moments to understand what to expect when your child gets ear tubes.

1. Ear Tubes are Not Permanent

Ear tubes are not intended to remain in the ears forever. How long the ear tubes are supposed to stay in the ears depends on what type of tubes your child gets and how effective the tubes are at decreasing the occurrence of ear infections.

Short term ear tubes are only supposed to stay in the ears for 6 to 18 months. Long term ear tubes may remain in the ears for years if needed. Surgery may be required to remove long term ear tubes. If they stay in the ears too long, they risk becoming embedded. 

Your ENT specialist, someone from a place like Melnick, Moffitt & Mesaros ENT Associates, can provide guidance concerning how long the tubes need to stay in the ears.

It is important to realize that the tubes may fall out earlier than intended. If this happens, the procedure to insert the tubes will need to be completed again. 

2. The Process to Insert the Ear Tubes Varies Greatly

The process to insert the ear tubes varies based on your child's age. Younger children cannot sit still for extended periods of time. As a result, they usually have to undergo general anesthesia when tubes are put in. They are able to go home a few hours after the procedure and usually feel like themselves by the end of the day.

Older children may be able to have tubes inserted as an in-office procedure. Your ENT specialist numbers the ear with a special drop before inserting the tubes. This procedure only takes 10-15 minutes.

3. Your Child is Free to Swim

In years past, parents were told that children with ear tubes should not get water in the ears. Kids were expected to forgo swimming or wear waterproof ear plugs.

There are currently no verifiable benefits to keeping the ears dry. Unless your ENT specialist says otherwise, your child is free to duck, dive, and swim in the water without ear protection.

Not only are constant ear infections painful, but the can affect your child's speech and hearing. Inserting ear tubes is a recommended way to decrease the prevalence of ear infections and restore your child's hearing. Understanding what to expect with the procedure helps you make an informed decision.


13 October 2016

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