Pediatric Ear Infections and Ear Tubes
Middle ear infections are common in children ages six months to two years old. Some children are more prone to middle ear infections due to environmental or lifestyle factors, like exposure to secondhand smoke or attending childcare. Although ear infections are often easy to treat, children who experience recurrent infections may be at risk for hearing loss or speech problems.
Signs that your child may have an ear infection include:
- Fluid leaking from the ear
- Trouble hearing
- Pulling or rubbing the ear due to discomfort
If you believe your child may have an ear infection, our ENT physicians can examine the ear and determine which treatment option is right for them.
The Ear Tube Procedure
If a child is experiencing recurrent middle ear infections and antibiotics have been proven unsuccessful, they may be a good candidate for a myringotomy with tube placement. Tubes can help to prevent future ear infections, as well as keep fluid from building up behind the eardrum.
The pediatric ear tube procedure is an outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia. Plastic ear tubes will be placed through a small opening that is made in the eardrum. The tube allows air to flow into the middle ear and allows fluid to flow out of the middle ear.
Recovery is usually quick, and children rarely experience any pain or side-effects after surgery. It is important that water is kept out of the ear during swimming or bathing, and this may cause complications. Follow-up visits to the doctor will be required to check whether the tubes are working and if the child’s hearing has improved. Tubes commonly remain in the ear for six to twelve months, and will often fall out on their own. If the tubes do not fall out, they may need to be surgically removed.
If your child is experiencing recurrent ear infections, an examination at Tuscaloosa ENT can help to determine if ear tubes may be a solution. Contact us today at 205-758-9041.