How to care for ear tubes

Doctors often receive questions about ear tubes, which are surgically put in place to help with recurrent ear infections. Maithilee Menezes, MD, a Washington University pediatric otolaryngologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, talks about three important pieces of information you need to know when your little one has ear tubes.

  • Ear tubes are pretty low-maintenance, but your child should use ear plugs when swimming in freshwater areas like ponds, lakes and rivers, which have higher bacteria counts.
  • Tubes typically last 12 to 16 months. The ear canals will slowly push out the tubes. Because they’re so small, it’s likely you won’t see them when they fall out.
  • Your ENT will continue to follow up with your child until the tubes fall out. Your child will have a follow-up after surgery, usually a month after the procedure, and another hearing test. 

If you have any concerns about your child’s ear tubes, talk to their doctor. Read more MomDocs content.