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Myringotomy with P.e. Tubes in Children


A myringotomy is a procedure to put a tube through a hole in your child's eardrum. The eardrum protects your child's middle ear and helps him hear. Pressure equalizing (PE) tubes drain fluid out from inside your child's ear. Over time, the tube will fall out or be removed by a healthcare provider.

Ear Anatomy



  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: Your child may be given prescription medicine decrease pain. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Do not let your child's pain get severe before you give him more medicine.
  • Steroids: This medicine helps decrease pain and swelling in your child's ear.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.


Your child may be given medicine as eardrops. Ask how to put drops in your child's ear safely.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider or otolaryngologist as directed:

You may need to return to have your child's ear checked. He may need to return to have the PE tube removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care for your child's ears:

Gently use a tissue to remove fluid leaking from your child's ear. Do not use cotton swabs in your child's ear when he has a PE tube. Ask how to clean your child's ear after a myringotomy.


Your child may not be able to do certain activities, such as swimming. Ask how long he should avoid these activities.

Speech testing and therapy:

If your child has hearing problems, he may need his speech tested. A speech therapist may help your child with his speech.

Prevent ear infections:

  • Keep your child away from smoke: Do not smoke or let others smoke around your child. Tobacco smoke increases your child's risk of ear infections. Ask for information if you need help quitting.
  • Choose daycare carefully: Daycare increases your child's risk of getting a cold or ear infection. If your child attends daycare, choose a location that has fewer children.
  • Do not use pacifiers: These increase his risk of getting an ear infection.
  • Breastfeed your baby: Breastfeeding may help prevent ear infections in children.
  • Hold your baby when he drinks from a bottle: Hold your baby in a partially upright position when you feed him a bottle. Do not prop up a bottle and let your baby feed from it on his own.

Contact your child's healthcare provider or otolaryngologist if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has changes in his hearing.
  • Your child has pus leaking from his ear.
  • Your child is pulling on his ear, and is very irritable.
  • Your child has hearing loss or ringing in his ear. He feels dizzy after he gets eardrops.
  • You have questions about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child has blood or pus coming from his ear.
  • Your child has severe ear pain.
  • Your child has sudden hearing loss.
  • Your child has new trouble breathing.

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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.