What Causes Ear Infections?
An ear infection is caused by bacteria in the middle ear. This is commonly caused by colds, flu, or allergies. This causes congestion and swelling and blockage in the nasal passages throat and eustachian tubes. This leads to bacterial fluid buildup behind the eardrum. The eardrum will need to be drained to reduce inflammation and get rid of the infection. Draining the fluid also helps with the relief of pain and pressure. Unfortunately, children are much more likely to get ear infections than adults.
Ear infections are a frustrating symptom to deal with. There are many alternatives and cures ranging from ear drops to antibiotics. Unfortunately, children are more likely than adults to get ear infections. But for children who experience frequent ear infections, a more effective treatment is ear tubes for kids.
What are the Symptoms of a child with an Ear Infection?
- Ear Pain
- Fluid Coming from the ear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fussiness and crying more than normal. Especially when lying down or taking a bottle.
- Clumsiness or trouble with balance
- Tugging at ear
- Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
Learn more about how to tell if your child has an ear infection.
What Are Ear Tubes?
Ear tubes are tiny cylinders made from plastic or metal that are surgically put into the eardrum. This creates an airway that ventilates the middle ear and prevents the fluid buildup behind the eardrum.
Ear tubes are surgically inserted by an Otolaryngologist (ENT doctor), using anesthesia. The ear tube prevents the collection of bacterial fluid, by creating a hole in the middle of the ear that provides an air passage and allows the fluid to pass through. Ear tubes for kids are usually recommended because their eustachian tubes are much smaller and that causes them to clog easily more frequently. They can seriously change the quality of life for children prone to ear infections.
Ear Tube Procedure and Recovery Process
There are a variety of different options of ear tube styles. Designers have created plastic, metal, and slowly dissolving tubes. The style has no effect on the purpose that the tube is there for. These tubes can also help kids with hearing loss and speech delay. The procedure generally only takes 15 minutes.
The surgeon makes a quick incision, removes any accumulated fluid, then inserts the ear tubes. The healing process is usually short, with minimal discomfort. As an outpatient surgery, after about 2 hours your child can resume their regular routine.
What Are the Benefits of Ear Tubes?
There are plenty of benefits to this minor surgery. A tube is a convenient option, so you will no longer have to worry about your child having an allergic reaction to a prescription or other issues with antibiotics. This can also prevent long-term hearing problems in the future for your child. The tubes can last from a few months to a few years, depending on what type of ear tube is chosen. This preventative measure is one of the most effective methods to keep our kids healthy without having to invest as much into prescriptions while worrying less about side effects.
Most ear tubes fall out within four to 18 months, and the holes heal shut on their own. Some tubes need to be removed, and some holes may need to be surgically closed.
Colorado ENT & Allergy is the regional leader in Colorado Springs for pediatric ENTs or ear, nose, throat, and allergy care, providing a full range of the highest-quality, patient-centered services. Please Contact Us Today for a Consultation.