Have you ever wondered how ear tubes can prevent ear infections, fluid buildup, and other issues? Our Maysville, KY, ENT, Dr. Paul Conrad, can explain how ear tubes work.
What are ear tubes?
Ear tubes are small hollow cylinders inserted into the eardrum during a minor outpatient surgical procedure. More than 500,000 ear tube surgeries are performed on children every year, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Although children most often receive ear tubes, they may also be beneficial for adults in some cases.
How do ear tubes work?
Infections and hearing loss can occur due to fluid buildup or poor ventilation in the ears. Because children have shorter, narrower eustachian tubes than adults, they're more likely to experience problems with fluid drainage and ventilation. When the ears are properly ventilated, fluids drain easily, and the ears receive a constant supply of fresh air. Tubes not only ensure that the ears receive a steady supply of fresh air, but also equalize air pressure in the ears.
When are ear tubes recommended?
We may recommend ear tubes during your visit to our Maysville office if you or your child have:
- Frequent ear infections
- Pain in the ears
- Fluid buildup in the ear
- A torn eardrum due to frequent infections
- Eardrum malformations
- An injury caused by pressure changes in the ear during a flight or diving trip
- Problems with speech, hearing, or balance due to fluid buildup
Ear tubes are usually recommended if ear infections occur more than three times in six months, if fluid remains trapped in the ear longer than three months and affects hearing, or if the eardrum has collapsed.
How long do tubes remain in the ears?
Short-term ear tubes generally remain in place for six to 12 months before falling out on their own. In some cases, long-term tubes may be recommended. These tubes have flanges that hold them in place and generally remain in place for two to four years.
Do you or your child suffer from chronic ear infections? Ear tubes may relieve your symptoms. Call our Maysville, KY, ENT, Dr. Conrad, at (606) 759-4852 to schedule your appointment.