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Tubes in the Ear Not Beneficial

Sunday, 02 November 2008 12:03

Whether or not to give a child tympanostomy tubes.... tubes in the ears... is a debate that has raged in medicine for two decades.  One of the major arguments in favor of tubes is that if children have fluid behind the middle ear it can cut down on their ability to hear and potentially lead to learning problems.  But a report in the New England Journal of Medicine says this is not the case.  According to the report, in children younger than 3 years of age who have persistent otitis media, prompt insertion of tympanostomy tubes does not measurably improve developmental outcomes.  The procedure has little long-term benefit with respect to hearing behavior or learning and development.

Paradise JL, Feldman HM, Campbell TF, et. al.   Effect of early or delayed insertion of tympanostomy tubes for persistent otitis media on developmental outcomes at the age of three years   N Engl J Med 2001 (Apr 19);   344 (16):   1179-1187