Ear tubes are known by several names: tympanostomy tubes, ventilating tubes, pressure equalizing tubes, or most frequently, PE tubes. They are tiny hollow tubes made of a soft material.

PE tubes decrease the frequency of ear infections by allowing air in and helping fluid to drain into the throat. Preventing fluid from staying in the middle ear can help to restore and preserve normal hearing. The small tubes that are used do not cause hearing loss or long-term damage to the eardrum.