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A child’s Eustachian tubes sometimes can't drain fluid away from the middle ear into the throat very well. If fluid builds up behind the eardrum, bacteria can grow. This is how ear infections begin. After an ear infection is gone, fluid often remains behind the eardrum.
A very small ear ventilation tube (vent tube) is put into the eardrum to allow fluid drainage and help prevent further infections.
The Eustachian tube is a canal that runs from the middle part of each ear to the back of the throat. It does two things. First, it keeps the air pressure inside the middle ear the same as the air pressure outside the ear. This helps a person hear better. Second, it helps fluid from the middle ear drain into the throat.
In young children, the Eustachian tube is smaller, narrower, and more horizontal. This makes it easier for germs to move from the throat to the ear and for the tube to become blocked. Most children stop having ear infections around age 6 because their Eustachian tubes are more fully developed.
Yes, a grommet is a generic term for a ventilation tube.
A vent tube is usually recommended if a child has several of the following conditions:
Any further questions should be discussed with a doctor or ENT specialist.
Patients & caregivers: This information is designed to provide you with helpful educational information but is for information purposes only, is not medical advice, and should not be used as an alternative to speaking with your doctor. No representation is made that the information provided is current, complete, or accurate. Medtronic does not assume any responsibility for persons relying on the information provided. Be sure to discuss questions specific to your health and treatments with a healthcare professional. For more information please speak to your healthcare professional.