5 Signs You May Need Ear Tubes

Also known as a Tympanostomy tube, an ear tube often serves as a solution to chronic ear infections in children. While it can also help adults, it's far more common in young children. During ear tube surgery, a doctor will make a small incision in the eardrum.

Then, they'll insert an ear tube to balance out pressure and get rid of any trapped fluid. In most cases, ear tubes fall out on their own in about nine months. Sometimes, however, a doctor may need to remove it. Here are five signs your child may need ear tubes.

1 - Chronic Ear Infections

In a perfect world, your child's ear infections would go away through conservative measures like over-the-counter medications and ear drops. If they continue to persist, ear tubes may be necessary. Their ears may not be able to drain right and become susceptible to infection. A surgical procedure like ear tubes can resolve their condition and prevent hearing loss.

2 - Eustachian Tube Abnormalities

The Eustachian tubes start at the middle of the ear to the back of the throat. They provide the pressure that's needed to drain fluid. If the Eustachian tubes don't develop as they should, your child may face chronic ear infections and require ear tube surgery to treat them.

3 - Barotrauma

A change in air or water pressure that hinders the ear and leads to serious pain is known as barotrauma. If your child flies frequently or participates in an activity like scuba diving often, they are prone to this condition. Although decongestants may treat barotrauma effectively, ear tubes may be required if there is damage in the ear.

4 - Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common condition that can be treated with a hearing aid. In the event your child's hearing loss is the result of extensive fluid behind their ear, they may have trouble hearing. This is particularly true if the fluid was not discovered in their younger years.

5 - Balance Problems

Many people are surprised to learn that ear pressure in the middle ear may lead to balance problems. If your child is dealing with balance issues and a close exam reveals ear pressure is the cause, a Tympanoplasty may be the answer. In the event your child does require ear tube surgery, rest assured it's a short 15-minute procedure that comes with minimal side effects and downtime. If there are no complications, your child will be able to return home a few hours after the procedure.

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