Ear tubes


Ear tubes are tiny, hollow cylinders, usually made of plastic or metal, that are surgically inserted into the eardrum. An ear tube creates an airway that ventilates the middle ear and prevents the accumulation of fluids behind the eardrum. Ear tubes can also be called tympanostomy tubes, ventilation tubes, myringotomy tubes or pressure
equalization tubes.

Ear tubes are often recommended for children who have persistent fluid buildup behind
the eardrum, especially if the condition causes hearing loss and affects speech
development. Your child’s doctor may also recommend ear tubes if your child gets
frequent ear infections.

Most ear tubes fall out within six to nine months, and the holes heal shut on their own.
Some tubes need to be removed, and some holes may need to be closed surgically.

Standard follow-up care:
If your child has no complications:
• An initial follow-up appointment will be scheduled within the first two to four
weeks after the procedure. At that time, Dr. Dagan will check for appropriate placement and function of the tubes. Other follow-up appointments will be scheduled at four- to six-month intervals.
• If the child had hearing loss before the procedure, the doctor will also order a hearing test (audiogram) to assess hearing outcomes afterward.
• Your child will likely not need to wear earplugs while swimming or bathing unless Dr. Dagan suggests them. Older children who dive more than a foot or two under water should wear earplugs, as should those who soak in a tub with their ears under soapy bathwater.
• Dr. Dagan may supply the patient with drops, Apply 3 drops in each ear that had surgery, 3 times a day, for 3 days after surgery to dissolve any old blood and crusts in the ear canal and prevent infection. Continued drainage from the ear even after you stop the drops is common for up to a week.
• Showering is permitted the day after surgery but avoid getting water into the ear for a week by placing a small ball of cotton into the outer part of the canal.

Will there be pain?
Some mild to moderate ear pain is common for a few days after surgery. For pain use
Extra-Strength Tylenol (Acetaminophen).

Will hearing be immediately restored?
Some persistent mild hearing loss/plugged sensation for a few days after surgery is not

When will I be able to resume normal activity?
Fatigue is normal for a few days after surgery. Regular walking and light activity are encouraged starting the day after surgery. Avoid strenuous physical activity including bending, straining, heavy lifting, or rigorous exercise for 1 week after surgery.

What can I expect while the tubes are in place?
During the life of the tube (4-12 months for the typical “short acting” type), any time an infection reaches the ears, you may see drainage. This is normal, and is one of the reasons for placing tubes in the first place. The drainage looks like what comes out of a runny nose, and may smell bad or have blood in it. Do nothing for the first 3-4 days
except for wiping the outside of the ear with a soft cloth. If the drainage persists, make an appointment.

Can my child travel by air with the tubes? How soon?
One of the benefits of ear tubes is that the pain with flying is completely eliminated (as long as the tubes are open and working). There are no restrictions on flying with tubes, and children can travel as soon as they leave the hospital- the tubes do not require any time to heal into position.

**Tubes can also be performed in adult patients who have chronic otitis media. In adult patients, ear tubes do not require general anesthesia and can be performed in the office. Postoperative instructions are the same.

Notify our office immediately or go to the nearest Emergency Room if any of the
following occurs:
– intense pain from the ear
– persistent active bleeding from the ear (not just old blood and clots)
– you have a fever more than a day after surgery which is higher than 101 Fahrenheit –
you have any other serious concerns