Ear infections are not an uncommon occurrence and are most of the time easily fixed. In fact, most children have had to deal with an ear infection by the time they enter school, and they heal just fine on their own or by using antibiotics. Unfortunately, some ear infections require more treatment than just antibiotics. If a chronic ear infection is left untreated it can cause many other serious problems like hearing loss and speech issues in young children. For those dealing with more severe infections, the use of tympanostomy tubes, more commonly known as ear tubes, may be needed.
What are tympanostomy tubes (ear tubes)?
Ear tubes are tubes that can be made out of several different materials. They are placed through the eardrum and are intended to provide a path for air to enter the middle of the ear. Depending on the situation, the child may need long term or short term tubes placed to battle their chronic ear infections.
How can ear tubes help?
- Stop chronic infection
- Reduce and possibly repair some hearing loss
- Improve behavioral issues caused by ear infections
- Improve speech issues caused by ear infections.
What does tympanostomy tube placement involve?
Ear tube placement must be done through a surgical procedure and a general anesthetic is administered in younger children. The surgeon will create a small hole in the ear drum using a microscope and scalpel or laser. The ear tube is then placed in the hole and air is able to flow.
Once the procedure is over, most patients can go home very quickly on that same day. The procedure usually does not cause much pain afterwards. The surgeon will give special instructions on how to care for the tubes after the surgery.
Do You Think That You or Your Child May Need Ear Tubes?
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