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Myringotomy with P.E. Tubes


  • A myringotomy is a procedure to put a tube through a hole in your eardrum. Pressure equalizing (PE) tubes are also called ventilation tubes, drainage tubes, tympanostomy tubes (T-tubes), or grommets. Your eardrum is a thin layer of tissue that divides the middle and outer parts of your ear. The eardrum protects your middle ear and helps you hear.
    Picture of a normal ear
  • During the procedure, a PE tube is put into a hole made in your eardrum in one or both of your ears. The tube drains fluid out from inside your ear. Over time, the tube will fall out, or be removed by a caregiver. You may need to have this procedure if you have had many ear infections. You also may need this procedure if you have fluid or pressure in your middle ear caused by a blocked eustachian tube. The eustachian tube helps keep the pressure the same on either side of the eardrum. A myringotomy and PE tube may help you hear better. With a PE tube, you may get fewer ear infections, and have less ear pain.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are given to prevent or treat an infection. You may get this medicine as ear drops or as a pill. Ask your caregiver how to put drops in your ear. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your caregiver. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Steroids: Your caregiver may give you steroid drops to help decrease inflammation (redness, pain, and swelling) in your ear.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • Your caregiver will check your ear to see if the PE tube is still in place. He will look for problems in your ear, such as infection. Your caregiver may test your hearing. If your PE tube is blocked, your caregiver may clean it. After several months, the PE tube may fall out on its own. If it does not, your caregiver will remove it.

Taking care of your ears:

Never put a cotton swab in your ears. If your caregiver wants you to remove fluid leaking from either of your ears, gently use a facial tissue to wipe the fluid away. Ask your caregiver how to clean your ear after your myringotomy.


Your caregiver may want you to avoid certain activities, such as swimming. Ask your caregiver what activities to avoid while you have a PE tube in your ear.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have bleeding or pus leaking from your ear.
  • You have new trouble hearing.
  • You have trouble tasting food, or cannot taste food at all.


  • You are using antibiotic eardrops and you have hearing loss, a ringing sound in your ear, or feel dizzy. Do not put more eardrops in your ear before your caregiver says it is okay.
  • Your ear is bleeding.
  • You have new trouble breathing.
  • You have severe (very bad) pain in your ear.
  • You suddenly cannot hear at all.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.