A: During an ear infection, fluid gathers in the middle ear, which can affect your child’s hearing. Sometimes, even after the infection is gone, some fluid may remain in the ear. The tubes help drain this fluid and prevent it from building up. The most common ages are from 1 to 3 years old. The insertion of ear tubes may be recommended by your child’s physician and/or an ear, nose and throat physician if one or more of the following conditions are present: fluid in the ears for more than three or four months following an ear infection, fluid in the ears and more than three months of hearing loss, changes in the actual structure of the eardrum from ear infections, a delay in speaking or repeated ear infections that do not improve with antibiotics over several months
It is important to discuss pros and cons with your child’s physician and surgeon. The following are some of the possible benefits that may be discussed:
Ear tubes may help to reduce the risk of future ear infections.
Hearing is restored in some children who experience hearing problems.
Speech development is not harmed.
Ear tubes allow time for the child to mature and for the eustachian tube to work more efficiently. (By the age of 5 years, the eustachian tube becomes wider and longer, thus allowing for better drainage.)
Children’s behavior, sleep and communication may be improved if ear infections were causing problems.
Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, www.medicap.com.