Childhood otitis, when is a drainage in the ears necessary?

Allergies, catarrhs, infections, otitis ... There are various disorders that affect the ears of children during the first years of life. Sometimes, these ailments become recurrent, which leads professionals to perform a small surgical intervention to help alleviate them, as is the case with ear drains.

What are the drainages of the ears and when should they be put?

Bathing in beaches and pools increases the number of otitis in summer. When they are very recurrent, an ear drain is usually necessary. And is that when recurrently the middle ear is blocked by mucus, continuous infections such as otitis, which lead to hearing loss are generated. It is, in these cases, when specialists advise the placement of drains.


Drains are small tubes that enter the ear and allow air to enter and facilitate the continuous discharge of mucus accumulated in the recesses of the middle part of the ear, where there really should only be air.

What are the drainages in the ears for?

This system is placed on the eardrum with the following purpose:

- allow aeration of the middle ear

- eliminate the mucus present for more than three months in the ear

- recurrent serous otitis (with mucus) (between four and six otitis in less than a year)

- eliminate noises in the ears or dizziness

- solve hearing loss (as long as it is due to accumulation of mucus in the middle ear)


What is the placement of a drain in the ears?

The intervention, of ambulatory type, and with general anesthesia in the case of children and local in adults, is of short duration. The specialist places the tube or drainage through the tympanic membrane, communicating the middle ear with the external one so that the drainage remains the necessary time to solve the disorder, which generally ranges between six and twelve months.

At the end of that time, the drainage comes off naturally thanks to the healing of the area.

How to take care of the drainage of the ears?

According to Dr. Pablo Ortiz, head of the Otorhinolaryngology Service of the Hospital La Milagrosa, the child does not feel the drainage left in the ears, so it allows him to lead a normal life. Only, care must be taken that water does not enter the outer ear, because this could reach the middle ear and cause suppuration or infection.


It is advised that children and parents take special care in the pool, on the beach and in the bathtub, avoiding, at all costs, submerging the head.

Today there is a wide variety of items on the market to protect the ears from water, for example, earplugs. We recommend using those that are made to measure for each patient, also called silicone molds. The use of a plastic cap for showering or bathing is also recommended.

Dr. Pablo Ortiz. Head of the Otorhinolaryngology Service of La Milagrosa Hospital

Video: Treating Childhood Ear Infections | Children's National Health System


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