home
RSS
Should your child get ear tubes?
July 1st, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Should your child get ear tubes?

Parents of young children may be all too familiar with the ear aches, ear infections, and middle ear fluid build-up that can plague their little ones.

For many of these children, ear tubes, known clinically as tympanostomy tubes, may be the best treatment. But until now, there has been no clinical guideline to advise doctors and parents on which children should - or should not - receive them.  A multidisciplinary panel associated with the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (also known as AAO-HNSF) has changed that, releasing new guidelines on Monday.

"You've got the number-one ambulatory surgery in kids, the number-one reason they are given anesthesia, and no national society has ever published evidence-based guidelines about the best way to do this," said Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, a professor and chairman of otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

"It seemed like a huge deficit," said Rosenfeld, who chaired the AAO-HNSF panel.

Who should get ear tubes?

The guideline addresses ear tubes in children ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years. It was written by a panel of specialists that included pediatricians, a nurse practitioner, an anesthesiologist, a speech pathologist, consumer advocates and ear, nose and throat specialists, among others.

According to the guideline, children who have very frequent ear infections and who also hold on to fluid - meaning their infections don't clear up quickly - are candidates for ear tubes. However, the guideline says tubes should not be given to children who have frequent ear infections but who do not have fluid build-up - a major deviation from what typically happens in clinical practice.

"This is one of the most new and significant things being recommended," said Rosenfeld. "You have to distinguish between the kids whose infections clear up completely and the ones who hold on to fluid."

That means parents should question doctors on whether their child's ears contain fluid, Rosenfeld said. If they do not, according to the guideline, ear tubes should be avoided.

In addition, children who have had fluid build-up in both ears for more than three months and are experiencing difficulties such as not hearing well in loud group situations or listening to someone speak who is not looking at them - a teacher writing on a chalkboard, for example - should also be offered tubes, according to the guideline. That also goes for children who have had fluid build-up for more than three months in only one year, but whose quality of life is being affected by it, Rosenfeld said.

"There's an effect on gross motor skills, on a child's balance," he explained.  "Fluid that is affecting your equilibrium benefits from tubes."

Children who are at higher risk for fluid build-up-related developmental delays should also be given tubes. That includes children diagnosed with autism, permanent hearing loss, Down syndrome or any other developmental delay.

How they work

The small tubes, about 1/20th of an inch, are placed at the end of a child's ear canal while the child is under light general anesthesia. They're designed to alleviate any fluid build-up by allowing air to pass into the child's middle ear to ventilate and eliminate the pressure inside that space.

Children with tubes are able to play in the water, swim, and bathe without wearing ear plugs - something that isn't common knowledge, according to Rosenfeld. Children swimming in water at least six feet deep are the only ones who should be concerned with wearing ear protection, he said.

"That advice is given under the common-sense pretense that water can get in to the tube ... but that's not the case," he said. "Water simply does not pass through a hole that small easily."

Children should not be able to feel the tubes while they have them and over time, they should fall out on their own as wax and debris build up inside the ear.


soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Shawnee

    Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend
    your site, how can i subscribe for a weblog web site?

    The account helped me a applicable deal. I had been tiny
    bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent idea

    Also visit my web-site – faux cuire

    November 24, 2020 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Reina

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any
    interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did,
    the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Have a look at my web site; carding shop

    November 25, 2020 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Shelton

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and
    sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours
    and my users would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

    Review my web page Flats for Sale in Nigeria

    November 25, 2020 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Hung

    That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing
    this one. A must read article!

    Check out my web site: Middle East University

    November 26, 2020 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Straight Tube

    It’s going to be end of this day, but before it ends I am glad to be reading this impressive blog

    https://straighttubebong.wordpress.com/2020/10/12/example-post/

    November 28, 2020 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dong

    Wonderful work! That is the kind of information that should be shared across the internet.
    Shame on Google for no longer positioning this put up upper!
    Come on over and consult with my website . Thank you =)

    Check out my webpage – dFe6kbSLxf B0uh5KAUts

    November 30, 2020 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Taren

    Hi there, I do believe your blog might be having web browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine
    however when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that,
    wonderful blog!

    my web site spanish school

    December 2, 2020 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Read Full Article electrician san diego

    Hello there, You have performed a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg it and individually suggest to my friends. I'm sure they'll be benefited from this web site.

    https://BobJohnsonblog398.com/

    December 2, 2020 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Leave a Reply to Leena


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.