Michael Crawford, M.D. Otolaryngologist
Ear tubes are usually something made of plastic that create an equalization of pressure between the outer ear and the middle ear. That’s what our Eustachian tube does. It replaces the air that has leaked out into the surrounding tissue and then equalizes that pressure. If it doesn’t equalize, then the relative negative pressure that is produced tends to bring in fluid from the surrounding tissue and leads to infection. This is a very common problem, especially in children 1 through age 5.
How do you place ear tubes?
We make a hole in the ear drum and that hole will usually heal in about 3-5 days. That’s not long enough for the middle ear and the nose to correct the problem so these tubes are placed in the ear drum to keep the hole open.
When is it time to get ear tubes?
If the child has had some recurring infections, we do have criteria that stipulate three infections in three months. That’s a lot of time being spent sick and on antibiotics. If the child is not sleeping well at night, not walking, not talking properly, or you’re not getting communication established.
How will ear tubes help my child?
First of all, you would like to remove the source of his infection and the need for his antibiotics. If he’s having speech delays or speech articulation problems, then this should reestablish his hearing as accurate as possible and will then give you a leg up on treating those kinds of problems. Sometimes the changes after tubes are miraculous and not only does the personality change, but all the other indications have changed for the better as well.
Placing ear tubes is a common procedure performed on children. Dr. Michael Crawford, Board Certified Otolaryngologist at Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute, explains what ear tubes are, when they should be placed and how ear tubes can help a patient.