Ear Tubes: Which Kids Really Need Them?

5:31 PM, Jul 1, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS) -- Its the number one reason children get surgery in the U.S. Ear tube insertion procedures are preformed on more than 600,000 children in the U.S. and up until now, there were no set guidelines to aid doctors in recommending on who should or shouldn't get the procedure.

"Fluid is in both ears for three months or longer with some hearing difficulties, those are really good kids to get ear tubes." says Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, chief of otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

The new guidelines state children with recurrent ear infections who do not have fluid buildup behind the eardrum should not receive ear tubes surgery.

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld states, "If they show up at the ear doctor and the ears are clear, it really doesn't help to put in tubes even if they've had a ton of ear infections before that."

Each of these tiny drainage tubes is approximately the size of a grain of rice and sits in the ear drum for about a year or two. It usually falls out on it's own. Hearing and speech can be improved dramatically in children who have had hearing difficulty because of recurrent infections.





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