Procedure Helps Kids With Recurring Ear Aches

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Story Updated: May 23, 2013

If your child has recurring ear infections or problems with speech or hearing due to pressure or fluid in the middle ear, the insertion of ear tubes could be the answer.

Two year old Lily Tovar and her big sister, Sophia, suffered from numerous ear infections when they were babies.

Their mom remembers many sleepless nights.

"With my oldest, we had an eight week period where she just had back to back ear infections. We tried multiple antibiotics. With the little one, we  had at least six weeks where she had back to back ear infections," said Jennifer Tovar.

For both girls, relief came at about age one when temporary ear tubes were surgically implanted to allow air to enter the middle year and fluid to drain out until the ear more fully developed. 

Ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. William Harmand says the surgery is very simple and only a mild anesthetic is needed.

"The procedure itself takes about five, ten minutes total. We make a little incision in the ear drum and suck all the fluid out and then pop in the tube. This tube has an inside shaft of a millimeter so that nothing gets in other than air," said Dr. Harmand.

For both Lily and Sophia, it did the trick.

The tubes remain in the ears for about six to twelve months and fall out on their own. 

In about half the cases, reinsertion is necessary.

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