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Ear Infection/ Ear Tube Surgery

Middle ear infections (otitis media) are common among young children. Middle ear infections often result after a child has a cold or other respiratory infection. Bacteria or viruses enter the middle ear and it fills with fluid or pus. As fluid pushes on the eardrum, it can cause pain and decreased hearing ability. Long periods of decreased hearing can lead to delayed speech development for young children.

Why might my MMG ENT recommend ear tubes?

Your child may be a good candidate for ear tube surgery if:

  • He or she has many ear infections that don’t clear up easily
  • The ear infections seem to cause hearing loss or speech delay

What happens during ear tube surgery?

Ear tube surgery is also called myringotomy. A myringotomy occurs in an operating room while your child is under general anesthesia.

Ear tubes are tiny plastic or metal tubes. During surgery, a small hole is made in the eardrums to insert the tubes. The opening to the middle ear (the area behind the eardrum) lets air flow in and out. This keeps air pressure even between the middle ear and the outside, and helps to drain fluid that builds up behind the eardrum.

This simple procedure only takes about 15 minutes and ear tubes usually fall out on their own between 6 and 18 months, depending on the types of tubes your doctor uses.

Hearing Loss

Hearing slowly deteriorates with age and the majority of elderly adults have some hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises when not using hearing protection often accelerates hearing loss including:

  • Concerts
  • Firearms
  • Power tools
  • Heavy machinery

Is my hearing loss serious?

We recommend visiting with an MMG ENT if you:

  • Have difficulty following conversations due to hearing
  • Must watch other people’s faces intently when you listen to them
  • Feel irritated and/ or tired from the effort needed to follow conversations
  • Receive complaints about your TV or music volume
  • Feel that others don’t speak as clearly as they once did
  • Experience dizziness, ear infections, or ringing in the ears

What causes hearing loss besides aging?

Hearing loss that results from problems with the structures in the ear are less common but includes:

  • Birth defects
  • Heredity
  • Wax blockage
  • A hole in the tympanic membrane
  • Ear infections

Impacted Ear Wax Removal

Earwax helps keep your ears clean and germ-free. Most often, it passes out of the ears unnoticed. At times though, it can build up and block the ear canal.

What causes earwax build-up?

Some people regularly get blocked ears because they naturally produce excessive earwax.

Other factors include:

  • Producing naturally hard or dry earwax
  • Hairy and/ or narrow ear canals
  • Drier earwax (This often occurs with age.)
  • Bony growths in the outer part of the ear canal
  • Frequently inserting objects into your ear canals, such as earplugs, hearing aids or cotton swabs.

What are the symptoms of ear wax build-up?

Earwax buildup can cause:

  • Hearing loss
  • Itchiness in or around the ear
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Earache/ ear infections
  • Vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • These symptoms often improve once the excess earwax has been removed.

How will my MMG ENT perform an impacted ear wax removal?

Your doctor can diagnose an impacted ear with an otoscope (an instrument that lights and magnifies your outer and middle ear).
Impacted ear wax removals are simple procedures that can take place in your doctor’s office. To remove excessive wax buildup, your MMG ENT will use a small, curved instrument (curet) or by using suction.