Ear tube questions
1. Is anesthesia needed? Tubes are placed in children under a brief general anesthesia in an operating room setting. Adults may be done in the office under a topical anesthesia, so they can drive themselves to the office.
2. How long do tubes last? They last for 6-12 months and fall out on their own. The eardrum heals behind the tube extrusion 99% of the time.
3. Is water exposure bad? Water precautions are advised in that some children get infections with tubes if water is allowed in the ears. Water shedding over the ears in the bathtub is generally not a problem, but immersing the ears in the bathtub or pool can lead to infections. Tubes tend to last longer if they do not get infected. Ear molds can be made by our audiology staff to help to prevent water exposures.
4. How will i know if there is an infection after tubes? An infection with tubes is usually manifest by drainage and may not be accompanied by pain. It requires treatment with at least prescription ear drops and may require an oral antibiotic. Suctioning of ear canal debris and drainage is often needed to speed the ear recover and open up the tube.