What Are Ear Tubes?
Ear infections. They can be frequent, and for many, they can be painful. This, for those who are parents already know too well, can be especially true for children.
Though viral ear infections tend to go away on their own and bacterial ear infections can be treated by way of antibiotics, chronic ear infections often lead to more severe complications. Speech complications, hearing loss, and even behavioral issues can be caused by persistent ear infections.
How Ear Tubes Can Help
ENTs specialize in these cases, and our recommendation is often ear tubes. Ear tubes are very small tubes that allow air to pass through the eardrum and into the middle ear to reduce the risk of infection.
There are two basic kinds of ear tubes:
- Short term tubes—tubes intended for six months to a year. These tubes are designed to fall out of the ears without professional intervention.
- Long term tubes—as their names describes, these are intended to stay in place for a longer period of time. Their specialized design keeps them in place. They may fall out on their own, but in some cases removal by an ENT is required.
Candidates for Ear Tubes
Though children most commonly need them, adults can benefit from ear tubes as well. You or a loved one may need ear tubes if your experience:
- Reoccurring middle ear infections
- Fluid in your middle ear
- Balance problems
- Hearing loss
- Speech difficulties
- Sleep problems caused by ear infections