Tympanostomy tubes (commonly known as "ear tubes") are small tubes that is inserted through the eardrum to treat persistent middle ear effusion (fluid behind the eardrum) or serous otitis media (middle ear infection) in children.
Threre are two types of tubes. Temporary tubes are made of a soft, plastic type material. They are designed to fall out in 6 months – 2 years. The small hole in the ear drum heals naturally in almost all cases. For those with chronic or recurrent problems, “permanent” tubes made of metal can be inserted and will stay in until surgically removed.
The tube equalizes the pressure on both sides of the eardrum, permitting drainage.