Ear Tubes in Tuscaloosa
What are Ear Tubes?
Ear tubes are small cylinders placed through the eardrum to help air pass into the middle ear. These tubes can be made out of many materials, and are available in short-term and long-term types. Short-term tubes are meant to stay in place for 6-18 months before they fall out on their own. Long-term tubes are larger and are secured into place for long periods of time. Long-term tubes may fall out on their own, but removal by a physician may be needed.
Who is a Good Candidate for Ear Tubes?
Individuals who experience repeated middle ear infections or hearing loss caused by middle ear fluid may benefit from ear tubes. Children commonly experience these symptoms, which can lead to problems with speech, balance, hearing loss, changes in the structure of the eardrum, and poor performance in school. Other, less common conditions that may call for the placement of ear tubes include malformation of the eardrum or eustachian tube, cleft palate, Down Syndrome, and barotrauma.
The Ear Tube Procedure
An outpatient procedure called a myringotomy is done to insert ear tubes. A small incision is made in the tympanic membrane (eardrum), and any fluid is suctioned out. An ear tube is then placed in the hole to help keep it open. This allows air to reach the middle ear. While some young children may require general anesthesia, most adults can tolerate the procedure without it. The procedure is quick, usually only lasting 15 minutes.
In some cases, it may be recommended to remove the adenoid tissue in the case of reoccurring middle-ear fluid. This treatment can be done in children four years or older and is considered when repeated tube insertion is needed.
Ear Tube Recovery
Following the procedure, ear drops may be prescribed for a few days. There is no downtime required, so recovery is immediate. Patients should try to keep water out of their ears if holes or tubes are in the eardrum, as this can cause infection. Tubes often stay in place for several months, and will gradually come out on its own as the eardrum heals. It is important to listen to your ENT physician’s specific recovery instructions to avoid any possible complications.
If you are located in the Tuscaloosa, AL area and believe you may be in need of ear tubes, contact Tuscaloosa ENT today. We would be happy to schedule an appointment for you.