Benefits and Risks – Ventilation Tubes

The risks and benefits of an ear ventilation tube (vent tube) are different for each child. It’s important to get the answers you need from your paediatrician and ENT or ear specialist.

Benefits

Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of future ear infections.
  • Restored hearing in some children who’ve had hearing problems.
  • Allows time for the child’s Eustachian tube to mature and work more effectively. As a child grows, the Eustachian tube gets longer and wider so it can provide better drainage of fluid from the ears.
  • It’s a very common and quick procedure.

Risks

Some of the risks include:

  • Some children may continue to get ear infections, in spite of a vent tube.
  • The tube may come out. A vent tube usually falls out in about a year. If it falls out sooner, it may need to be replaced. Occasionally, the vent tube becomes stuck in the middle ear. When this happens, it has to be removed by your doctor.
  • If the vent tube doesn’t fall out on its own, a surgeon may have to remove it.
  • It may leave a small scar on the eardrum, which could cause some hearing loss.
  • After the vent tube falls out, a small hole may remain in the eardrum, which might have to be repaired by your doctor.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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