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
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
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.
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.