Ear Tube Q&A

How common is ear tube insertion?

It is the most commonly performed ear operation. 

How soon will will hearing improvement come?

Usually, immediately! Most of the fluid from the middle ear is removed at the time of ear tube placement. In severe cases, the middle ear may need some extra time to dry up and for infection to clear. Hearing is tested 3-4 weeks after placement. 

How long do tubes last?

The tubes remain in place for about 6-12 months and typically come out on their own. Occasionally, a tube will come out prematurely which is usually do to weakness or collapse of the eardrum. Infection weakens the holding power of the eardrum and in severe cases the infectious drainage pushes the tube out (especially if the drainage is thick). Premature rejection of the tube may require replacement. 

Can you swim after ear tubes are placed?

Absolutely! Chlorinated pools are safe for most kids with ear tubes! Let them swim and have fun!

Are there any complications?

Ear tube surgery is extremely safe and effective. Complications are minor and usually in the form of infection, which is typically treated with topical antibiotic drops. Occasionally the eardrum fails to heal after tubes have come out. The resulting perforation will often close on its own, but some cases do require surgical repair. 

Are there risks of anesthesia?

Of course! But anesthesia for tubes is very short and very safe! Most complications of anesthesia come from longer anesthetics or underlying health risks. Be sure to discuss with the anesthesiologists any family history of problems with anesthesia. Short term effects from anesthesia include nausea and grumpiness - but these pass quickly. 

What are the advantages of ear tubes?

Check out my video on You Tube