Many children experience an immediate improvement in hearing after the fluid is removed from the middle ear and PE tubes have been inserted. This may cause the child to be frightened by normal sounds because they will seem loud. Children usually adjust quickly to these louder sounds.
PE tubes will prevent ear infections from developing most of the time. However, some children with tubes develop an ear infection despite the tubes.
Children with tubes will usually have drainage from the ear with an infection. The drainage may be clear, yellow, orange, green, brown, pink, or bloody. Your doctor will give you a prescription for ear drops to keep on hand. If your child develops ear drainage, use the drops as directed and notify our office the next business day, so that we may update our records.
If needed, pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may be given. If you do not have a prescription or have run out of drops, call the office nurse during normal office hours (Monday through Friday 9 to 5) for a prescription.
Over the weekends and on holidays, the doctor on call can be reached through the hospital operator from 9 to 5. Please call the office nurse if the ear drainage does not resolve in 7 days, or if there is significant pain or any swelling of the ear or ear canal.
Rejection of the Tubes
Because the PE tube is a foreign material to the body, the tube will eventually be rejected or pushed out of the eardrum. Depending on the type of tube, this will most often occur six to 12 months after the tubes have been placed.
Most children will not need a second set of PE tubes. Usually by the time the tubes have fallen out, the child has outgrown the need for tubes. Approximately 15 percent of children will need another set of tubes to be inserted.