Moms First: When to get ear tubes for kids


During childhood, most kids will experience ear infections, but how many are too many before ear tubes should be considered? WSBT 22's Darla Hernandez looked into it.

As many as 670,000 kids get ear tube surgeries each year from chronic ear infections.

"It was right at his fifth ear infection and it was when he was on his third round of antibiotics to treat the same ear infection, it was just becoming harder and harder to treat," said mother Kimberly Brewster.

The infection is caused by too much pressure or fluid in the middle ear, and your child may give you signs to indicate they're in pain.

"Symptoms can be pulling at the ears, fever, irritability, not sleeping well," said Dr. James Thomsen, a Pediatric ENT Specialist.

For children with repeat infections, ear tubes may provide longer term relief.

"Ear tubes are small plastic or Teflon tubes that act to ventilate the ear. The tube goes in the ear drum and acts to bring air in and fluid out across the ear drum membrane," Dr. Thomsen explained.

Inserting the ear tubes is a quick procedure and there's minimal recovery time.

Follow-up appointments will also be necessary for the next year -- that's about the time it takes for the ear tubes to fall out on their own.

Experts say to expect about an 80 percent reduction in ear infections after your child gets ear tubes, and for some, it's well worth it.

More than four ear infections in six months can mean it's time to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, also known as an ENT, for evaluation.

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