Painful ear infections are actually common to almost all children. Some cases actually resolve on their own but others may require treatment. There are also those that can be chronic and will require thorough inspection and treatment. The more chronic situations are those infections in the middle ear. This can lead not just to hearing loss but also to speech and even behavior problems. In this case, the use of ear tubes will be necessary. Before even knowing if you child needs one, it will be good to note a few facts about ear tubes.
What are Ear Tubes?
Ear tubes, or myringotomy tubes, are mini cylinders which ENT doctors place through the tympanic membrane in order to allow air to flow right into the infected area, the middle ear. They come in two basic types. First on the list are the short-term tubes which are usually smaller and are termed as such because they are used for a shorter time, typically between six months and a year before they eventually fall out. The other type are the long-term tubes which come with flanges that secure them in place specifically because they have to be used for longer than a year. These ones may have to be removed by an otolaryngologist after they have served their purpose though some may also fall out on their own.
Why are Ear Tubes Needed?
Ear tubes are needed to provide treatment for recurring middle ear infections, also known as acute otitis media. It is also required when hearing loss have already resulted from otitis media with effusion or that case when the middle ear seems to have persistent fluid in it. These tubes will also be needed in case the ear drum has malformed. It is also recommended for those suffering from cleft palate, Down syndrome and when the middle ear suffers air pressure reduction or barotrauma.
Does Your Child Need Ear Tubes?
The reasons behind why ear tubes are needed already explain whether your child needs one or not. In short, if your child suffers from these conditions, then you are asked to seek the help of an ENT doctor. Do not forget the fact that the infections enumerated above commonly occur in children and when they have one, it can result to speech as well as balance problems. It can also change the structure of the ear drum and at its worst can lead to hearing impairment or even loss.
What to Know for Your Child’s Ear Health
Ear tubes are necessary to help your child cope with the gruesome situations that may be a result of an ear infection. Every year, more than 500,000 children undergo ear tube surgeries. These surgeries are commonly performed on children under three years of age. Your child will need these in order to restore hearing loss, reduce recurring ear infection and improve behavior, sleep, speech and balance problems.
It is therefore very important to make an appointment with an ENT doctor right away once you suspect that your child’s middle ear is infected. You should not wait for the situation to worsen before seeking the help of experts.