Post-Op Instructions for Ear Tubes

Ear Tubes are placed in the patients eardrums to allow airflow into the middle ear. The most common reason for ear tube placement is recurrent infections and persistent fluid behind the ear drum. The ear tubes ventilate the middle ear thus reducing infections and possibly improving hearing.

What to expect after surgery: Your child will be irritable for the remainder of the day, but will have very little pain. Children’s Tylenol is usually adequate enough to treat the pain. A slight fever of 99°-101° is normal and is to be expected. For fever over 101°, call your doctor. You will be given antibiotic ear drops to put in the ears for one week after surgery. There may be a small amount of drainage form the ears for up to one week. The antibiotic drops will help with the drainage. If there is drainage form the ears beyond that time, is excessive, or has blood in it, please contact our office. The drainage should be brown after surgery. It will turn clear and then the ear should stop draining. If the drainage turns yellow, green mucusy, or foul smelling this is a sign of infection. Please call our office. If the patient has had hearing loss due to the ear infections prior to the ear tube placement, the patient may be sensitive to sound especially loud noises. This will be a temporary sensitivity and will go away as the patient adjust to hearing normally.

Water Precautions: It is very important to keep water out of the ear to prevent bacteria from getting into the middle ear and causing an infection. Please keep water out of the ears for the first two weeks after surgery. After that, avoid submerging the ear in soapy water. When the patient showers or baths and washes his/her hair, the ears should be protected from soapy water. This can be done by covering a small piece of cotton with Vaseline and placing it in the ear canal. Make sure there is enough cotton to seal off the ear canal and can be easily removed after the patien is done showering or bathing. A sill putty like substance can be obtained from a pharmacy which will also work to seal off the ear. Custom fitted ear molds can be made by an audiologist. Water sports maybe participated in, but diving or swimming under the surface should be avoided. Another method ot avoid infection is to place one to two drops of the antibiotic drops in each ear after surgery.

Follow Up: Dr. Pearson generally sees patients three weeks after surgery to check and see how the patient is doing and to check ear and the tube. If the surgery facility has not already made you an appointment to see Dr. Pearson, please call Dr. Pearson and schedule that follow up appointment. Ear tubes should be examined at four to six month intervals after that until the tubes fall out. The tubes will usually fall out in eight to twelve months. If tubes are still present two years after insertion, Dr. Pearson recommends the tubes should be removed to lessen the chance of leaving a hole in the ear drum. Most of the time, the hole in the ear drum left by the tube will close on it’s own. However if the hold does not heal, another surgery maybe required to close the hole.