Ear Infections

What Are Ear Ventilation Tubes?

Ear Infections

Vent tube


Fluid trapped behind the eardrum is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. An ear ventilation tube (or vent tube) is a very small tube that’s placed in the eardrum. It’s also called a myringotomy tube, tympanostomy tube, or pressure equalisation (PE) tube. Vent tubes let fluid trapped behind the eardrum drain, which helps prevent ear infections (otitis media).

A vent tube in the eardrum allows fluid to drain and helps prevent infection.

The operation to insert a vent tube is very safe, simple, and quick. The ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist or ear specialist makes a very small cut in the eardrum and puts a vent tube in one or both ears. The vent tubes cause no pain or hearing loss.

In children, a vent tube operation is usually done under general anesthetic at a hospital or surgery center. In adults, it may be performed in an office visit.

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.