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 Ear Tubes and Water


Ear Tubes and Water

Jane Emanuel, M.D.


Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute


Back when tubes were first being used, which was back actually in the 60s and 70s, since air can go in, we knew water can go in, and puss can come out if you have an infection with the tubes in, logically we thought we needed to keep water out of kid’s ears.

There was a lot of ear plugs, headbands and that kind of thing. Studies since then have shown that being a religious ear plug user or keeping water out of the ears actually doesn’t make a significant difference.

Actually, I’ve gone from advising kids to use ear plugs to hardly ever.

Once in awhile there is a child that we will have use them especially if they’re diving and they don’t like how it feels, but that’s the exception.

So, most times no restrictions on water activity, no ear plugs. Now that varies a little bit with different ENTs but that’s really what the studies show at this point.

How to Protect Children’s Ear While Swimming or Playing in Water

Dr. Jane Emanuel, Board Certified Otolaryngologist at the Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute, discusses the guidelines for protecting your child's ear tubes during water activities.