Lots of children — especially babies and toddlers — get middle ear infections. But when kids keep getting these infections or they cause hearing loss or a delay in speech, doctors may suggest myringotomy (ear tube surgery).
Nemours Children's otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat/ENT) see a lot of kids with ear infections. We do ear tube surgeries every day. We’re here to help kids feel better when their ears keep hurting.
The middle ear is a space behind the eardrum that’s filled with air. When kids get a cold or other respiratory infection, bacteria or viruses can enter the middle ear through the eustachian tube (a small passage leading from the middle ear to the back of the nose). This can cause a middle ear infection ("otitis media"), which makes fluid or pus build up behind the eardrum. Pressure from this buildup pushes on the eardrum and causes pain. When kids keep getting middle ear infections it can sometimes cause hearing loss. And hearing loss over time may cause a delay in their speech.
Because most kids have had infections in both ears, children often get surgery in both. The operation to insert ear tubes in both ears is called “bilateral myringotomy with tubes” (BMT). A surgeon inserts the tubes to ventilate (let air into) the area behind the eardrum and to keep the pressure equalized to atmospheric pressure in the middle ear.
This procedure helps kids have fewer ear infections. And, if they do still get them sometimes, they should be less severe. It also restores any temporary hearing loss caused by fluid building up behind the eardrum.
At Nemours, we have one of the largest ENT programs in the country. Many of our board-certified ENT specialists are named “Best Doctors in America®,” year after year. Our seasoned teams use state-of-the-art, child-friendly equipment. And our board-certified ENT surgeons are skilled in the latest surgery techniques and procedures. We’ll take the time to explain your child’s ear tubes operation and answer all your questions.
Services, programs and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.
We offer ear tube surgery at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware (Wilmington) as well as select Nemours Children's Health satellite locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
We offer ear tube surgery at Nemours Children’s Health, Pensacola.
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