Ear Tubes for Kids | Part 1

Today, I wanted to talk about ear
tubes. Does my kid need ear tubes? Usually, families come and see me when
there are concerns about recurring ear infections and at this point they’ve
seen their pediatrician multiple times. Typically, we’d say if there’s been
three or four infections over six months or five or six over a year, your pediatrician
will say, “Hey you know what? Let’s think about this,” and will have you go and see an ENT.
When families come to see me, they ask when do I need to get tubes? Do we need
to be considering it? We talk about the number of ear infections and how
symptomatic kids are typically with it. What’s the goal of an ear tube? The
most important reason is for ease and comfort of both the child as well as the
parent. What a tube does is, it’s designed to allow for ventilation. It allows
air to get into that middle ear space. It allows that pus or fluid that builds up
behind that eardrum to actually drain out. That tube now will stay for
about a year to 16 months. When there’s an ear infection in the future,
instead of that pus and fluid that has built up now it has a means to be actually
drain out. The second major benefit is instead of always needing to take an
oral antibiotic now you can use a concentrating antibiotic eardrop that goes right to the
source and it’s a lot easier. What you are hearing though is that tubes won’t
prevent all ear infections and it won’t prevent all the coughs and colds. We do
tend to see less ear infections after tubes have been placed so it does make
it easier in general. 80 percent of kids, 75 to 80 percent, will only need one set
of tubes. 20 percent may need a second set or more. We determine that based
on how they’re doing after those tubes fall out. In general we’re hoping that
tubes can make life easier and make it easier for what the child as well as the parent.

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