Though most children will have an ear infection at some point in their lives, ongoing ear infections are not normal. Although most ear infections are nothing to be overly concerned about, ongoing pain caused by fluid and infection in the ear can lead to problems with hearing, speech and behaviour. When a child is suffering from chronic ear infections, pediatricians often refer their patients to see the surgeons of Allen for ENT for ear tube placement.
Ear tubes are tiny cylinder tubes that are placed through the eardrum and into the middle ear. This allows air to be able to enter in the middle ear so the fluid accumulation is less of problem and ear infections are reduced. There are two basic types of ear tubes, short-term and long-term. Short-term tubes are smaller tubes that are meant to stay in place for a year or less. Over a period of time, the tubes will eventually loosen and fall out on their own.
Long-term tubes are made to stay in place for a longer period of time. These tubes have special projections that help them to stay in place. Though long-term tubes are less likely to fall out, they can. If these tubes do not fall out on their own, they will need to be removed by the surgeons of Allen for ENT.
Ear tube placement is typically done under general anesthesia for small children. Teens and older adults may have numbing drops administered so the procedure can be done without discomfort. General anesthesia is mainly used in children so they will remain still during this delicate procedure.
Once ear tubes are in place, they can help to prevent fluid accumulation so hearing, speech, and balance are improved. Although ear tubes cannot guarantee the person will no longer suffer from ear infections, they do help to dramatically reduce the chances of infections developing.
If you are experiencing chronic ear infections that are affecting your life, consider asking your doctor about ear tube placement. Though this procedure is most often performed on younger children, people of all ages may need ear tubes to overcome debilitating ear infections.
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