Ear infections are unfortunately rather common in American children and babies. In many cases, children grow out of the problem, but some kids continually suffer with persistent infections and problems with their inner ears.
If your child regularly suffers from these problems, your doctor may recommend ear tube surgery. Find out why children are so susceptible to these issues, and find out why doctors will sometimes propose ear tube surgery as a solution.
Kids are prone to ear infections
Children regularly suffer from bacterial infections that start as a cold or sore throat. Bacteria from the cold can spread to the inner ear and develop a secondary infection. Germs can also cause problems in the Eustachian tube, which is a tiny passageway that links the middle ear to the top of your throat.
First, a child's immune system is often weaker than an adult's. As such, germs from a cold or viral infection can more easily spread to other parts of the body. Also, a child's Eustachian tube is narrow and small. Fluid from the ear sometimes finds it difficult to pass through this part of the body. This problem can lead to congestion and swelling, which also allows a secondary infection to set in.
Studies also suggest that babies are more likely to develop ear infections if they use pacifiers. Researchers are unsure why pacifiers cause this problem, but some scientists believe that constant sucking can disrupt the pressure inside the ear.
Doctors often avoid antibiotics
If you spot the symptoms of an ear infection, you should always take your son or daughter to a doctor. He or she will recommend different treatment options after considering the type of ear infection, the severity of the problem, your child's age and any other side effects. Many infections clear up without assistance, and a doctor will generally only recommend antibiotics for more serious bacterial infections.
Antibiotics don't always help deal with ear infections. These medications cannot deal with viral infections, and the antibiotics won't get rid of fluid in the middle ear. As such, kids remain prone to repeat infections. What's more, antibiotics can become less effective because children can become resistant.
As such, if your child suffers persistent recurring ear infections, your doctor may start to discuss surgical solutions with you.
Doctors may discuss other reasons they recommend ear tube surgery
Aside from recurring infections, doctors may also recommend ear tube surgery if your child has:
An ENT specialist may also recommend ear tube surgery for kids who have Down Syndrome or a cleft palate. Children with Down Syndrome often have narrower Eustachian tubes than other kids, which can cause problems with fluid in the middle ear. Without treatment, these kids could suffer long-term hearing problems.
Children are linked to barotrauma
Barotrauma is a condition that can cause discomfort in your child's ear. Differences in pressure between the inside and outside of the eardrum can cause the problem, which some doctors refer to as Eustachian tube dysfunction. Most people experience the issue from time to time when their ears pop, but recurrent symptoms can cause long-term damage.
This condition commonly occurs with changes in altitude. For example, kids who regularly fly may suffer recurring symptoms. Colds and upper respiratory infections can make the problem worse, and the problem is also sometimes congenital. As such, if a child is at higher risk of barotrauma, a doctor will sometimes suggest ear tube surgery.
Ear tube surgery is a relatively common procedure that doctors recommend for many American kids every year. For additional info, talk to your doctor or an ENT specialist today.
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