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Almost every child  by the age of five has at least one ear infection, which usually resolves on its own or with antibiotics. But, if your little one suffers with frequent, painful ear problems, you may consider another solution for long-term relief.

At Three River’s Medical Center, the board-certified ENT on our medical staff specializes in ear tube insertion, or tympanostomy—a highly common, safe and reliable procedure. Tubes not only help reduce chronic ear infections, but may also eliminate hearing loss, speech development problems or other complications due to fluid build-up.

About the Tympanostomy Procedure

Before considering ear tubes, your ENT at Three Rivers will talk with you about your child’s specific symptoms and health history. Together, you might decide on a wait-and-see approach or treatment with medication, or agree that ear tubes are best for persistent ear infections (four or more in a year) that are impacting your child’s life.

Before the procedure, your child will be given light anesthesia to go to sleep, so they won’t experience any discomfort. The ENT then gently cleans the ear canal and places tiny, plastic or metal tubes in the eardrums through a small incision. The tubes help air flow into the ears, which alleviates pressure and promotes better drainage of fluid.

The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete for both ears.

Benefits of tympanostomy often include:

  • Reduced risk of ear infections
  • Restored or improved hearing, almost immediately
  • Improved speech, behavior, balance and sleep if ear infections were causing problems

Recovery & Follow-Up Care

Three Rivers usually performs ear tube insertion as an outpatient procedure, allowing you to go home the same day.

Immediately following surgery, our skilled nurses will care your child in recovery as they awake from the anesthesia. Your ENT and dedicated team will provide detailed instructions on caring for your child’s tubes. Most tubes fall out on their own within six months to a year, and the holes heal shut on their own.

We will monitor your child’s progress through regular follow-up visits, and are always available to answer any questions you may have.

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