Ear Tubes for Ear Infection Treatment in Southern California

Ear tubes are small devices commonly used to treat chronic ear infections in young children, but may also be used to address the same issues in full grown adults. These tubes are typically comprised of metal or plastic materials, and are placed by our ENT specialists during a routine surgical procedure.

Typically, ear tubes will remain in place for 6-18 months. These tubes may need to be removed during another procedure, or replacement ear tubes may need to be continually placed for ongoing treatment of various ear complications and conditions.

Common Uses for Ear Tubes

As mentioned, ear tubes can be an excellent solution for those that suffer from frequent ear infections. These tubes are also quite effective at relieving other conditions and complications of the ear, including:

  • Fluid buildup and drainage
  • Painful air pressure imbalances (barotrauma)
  • A reaction to seasonal allergies
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Speech delays
  • Cleft palate
  • Malformation of the eardrum or Eustachian tube

Hearing and speech may easily be affected as a result of an issue within the ear. If the individual is unable to process speech from others due to fluid or pressure in the ear, it can result in development delays in kids, or symptoms that may mimic hearing loss. For this reason, it is important to contact Southern California Ear, Nose & Throat in Southern California right away if you notice any strange occurrences that relate to your or your child’s hearing abilities.

What to Expect from Surgery

Patients will be prepped for the placement of ear tubes using general anesthesia so that they remain comfortably asleep during the entire procedure, which typically lasts for only 15 minutes. During surgery, your specialist from our office will make a very small incision in the eardrum. At this point, any trapped fluid behind the eardrum will be gently suctioned out and removed, and then the ear tubes will be carefully placed between the inner and outer ear structures.

Once the procedure is complete, patients will be relocated to a private room in our facility to rest before they wake up from the anesthetic. It is common for there to be mild pain or irritation within the first 1-2 days following ear tube placement, though these symptoms should not be severe and will normally dissipate quite quickly. We can also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatories that can help to manage any discomfort during this time.

Potential Risks and Complications

As with any type of surgical procedure, there are a limited number of risks associated with implementing ear tubes. While the chance of encountering any one of these side effects is considerably low, patients should still be made aware that the placement of their ear tubes may cause:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring of the eardrum
  • Blockages forming within the ear tubes
  • Bodily rejection of the ear tubes
  • Failure to resolve ear infections
  • Hearing impairment
  • Side effects from anesthesia

Many parents and patients worry about the possibility that the ear tubes will fall out after surgery. In a large number of cases, this is actually a desired result, as the ear tubes are only meant to remain in place temporarily. Tubes that are specially designed to stay in the ear for longer stretches of time usually require a follow-up procedure to have them manually removed by our office, or to be replaced with new tubes if necessary. Ideally, the opening created by the tubes will gradually close on its own.

Questions to Ask Our Office Before Surgery

Before undergoing surgery to place ear tubes, be sure to consult with your ENT specialist at Southern California Ear, Nose, & Throat to be fully informed about the procedure, how to prepare, and what to expect after surgery. It is important that the physician receives a comprehensive list of all current medications taken by the patient, and that their personal as well as family health history be thoroughly reviewed to identify any medical conditions that may affect the success of the ear tubes.

Follow-up appointments will be scheduled so that our office has the chance to review how well the patient’s ear tubes are working to relieve painful symptoms and chronic complications, though patients are encouraged to contact Southern California Ear, Nose, & Throat if they begin to experience any abnormal side effects that they feel are cause for concern. Specifically, individuals should call to schedule an appointment immediately if they notice a yellow, brown, or bloody discharge from the ear shortly after ear tube placement surgery. Persistent pain, hearing problems, and trouble with balance are other common signs that a problem may be present.

Schedule your appointment with Southern California Ear, Nose, & Throat by calling (562) 427-0550 today or you can request an appointment online using our secure form.

 

To our patients and families,

We at Southern California Ear Nose & Throat hope you all are staying healthy and safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.  As your physicians, your health and safety are our primary concerns, and we encourage everyone’s compliance with relevant instructions from our government and physician leaders.

We are happy to report that we are in compliance with state and federal regulations and recommendations at this point in time to protect both you and our staff. We are not scheduling routine elective surgeries at this time; however, if there is a surgery that is necessary, we are available 24/7 as usual, and the surgery will be performed.

At our offices, we are scheduling routine patients at intervals such that those patients who wish to, may remain in their vehicles until it is time to be placed in an exam room.  Rooms will be treated between each patient with disinfectant. We will be taking temperatures of patients who want to be seen in the office, and screening questions will be asked.

Along with our continuing to see patients in our office, we are available by teleconference. While not every visit can be done via telemedicine, we will make every attempt to accommodate those who desire a telemedicine visit. It may well be that you are not sure if an in office visit is necessary; some visits are (like a child born with tongue tie who has feeding difficulty), while many visits can be postponed (like a routine check on ear tubes).  If you have any questions, please call the office so that we may guide you.

As usual, please do not hesitate to contact the office for refills and prescriptions as necessary.

As many of you may have heard, there is new data to suggest that the initial symptoms of COVID-19 may be a loss of taste and smell. In the event that you develop loss of taste or smell, please contact the office of your primary healthcare provider if you have these symptoms, as they are more able to determine if COVID-19 testing is appropriate. We will be available by teleconference to assist your primary healthcare provider should the need arise.  

In terms of audiology, Hearing aid fittings and adjustments will continue to be done. A separate entrance to the office in Long Beach will be used for these patients, and some patients may be seen at out Los Alamitos office so as to separate them in time and space from other patients, maintaining social distancing to the best of our abilities.

In general, we urge all our patients to get as much sleep as necessary and drink plenty of fluids. It is important to wash your hands with regular soap and water Try not to touch your nose and mouth.

If you are able, please consider blood donation at your nearest hospital as there is a national shortage!

We must all work together during these stressful times! 

Sincerely

SCENT

Nina Yoshpe MD, Ayal Willner MD, Namrata Varma DO, Christy Beranek PA, Garrett Sherman NP, Susan Eckhardt AuD