What Are Tympanostomy Tubes?

Tympanostomy tubes are small tubes implanted in the eardrum of patients with recurrent ear infections, allowing fluid in the middle ear to drain. A small hole is made in the eardrum and tubes are inserted while the patient is under general anesthesia.

Tympanostomy tubes are more commonly used in young children than adults because their Eustachian tubes are horizontal, making it more difficult for fluid to drain from the ear. When fluid builds up in the middle ear, it can get infected, cause pain and interfere with hearing.

Tympanostomy tubes can benefit children with recurrent ear infections by:

  • Minimizing ear infections
  • Improving hearing and speech development
  • Reducing pain and fussiness
  • Improving sleep and behavior