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Should your child get ear tubes?

Parents of young children may be all too familiar with the ear aches, ear infections, and middle ear fluid build-up that can plague their little ones.

For many of these children, ear tubes, known clinically as tympanostomy tubes, may be the best treatment. About 667,000 ear tubes are put in each year, and by the age of 3, one out of 15 children will have tubes in their ears.

Should your child get ear tubes?

Ear tubes are recommended if

  1. The child has three or more ear infections within six months, especially if they retain fluid in between the episodes.
  2. The child is suffering from hearing loss caused by the persistent build-up of fluid in the middle ear (otitis media with effusion). Ear tubes can help kids who have fluid that is always present over a period of three months and causes diminished hearing.
  3. The child has a collapsed ear drum, a condition known as atelectasis. A collapsed drum that is draped onto the middle ear bones causes decreased hearing. It can also erode the bones in the ear.

Benefits of ear tubes

  1. Reduce the risk of future ear infections and the need for repeated courses of oral antibiotics.
  2. Improve hearing or correct hearing problems caused by the presence of either fluid or negative pressure.
  3. Improve speech development.
  4. Correct balance issues.
  5. Improve behavior, sleep and communication problems caused by chronic ear infections.
  6. Decrease the pain of an ear infection by eliminating the pressure (either positive or negative) that occurs during a middle ear infection or fluid build-up.

How they work

The small tubes, about 1/20th of an inch, are placed at the end of a child's ear canal while the child is under light general anesthesia. They're designed to alleviate any fluid build-up by allowing air to pass into the child's middle ear to ventilate and eliminate the pressure inside that space. The procedure usually takes eight to 15 minutes, though your child will need more time to recover from general anesthesia.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to see if tubes are right for your child, please schedule an appointment today by calling (502) 995-5525 or clicking the button below.

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