Myth #2: The ear tube “magic number”

If you are a parent, you’ve likely been through it. Ear infection on top of ear infection. Tubes or no tubes? What’s the magic number?

Contrary to popular belief there is no magic number when it comes to ear infections prompting the need for ear tubes. The guidelines I referred to Monday (“Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery” journal article) deals with ear tubes in children ranging 6 months to 12 years of age and assert children having frequent ear infections and persistent fluid behind the ear as a result (meaning the fluid does not clear between ear infections) should consider tubes. On the other hand, tubes are not needed for children with reoccurring ear infections but DO NOT have fluid accumulation.

The chairperson of the panel, Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, a professor and chairman of otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, said when commenting about the new guidelines, “This is one of the most new and significant things being recommended,” said Rosenfeld. “You have to distinguish between the kids whose infections clear up completely and the ones who hold on to fluid.”

An additional important variable you and your doctor should consider is hearing loss with diminished language development.

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 6.24.12 PM

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Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.

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