Ear tubes are tiny pieces of plastic or metal that create an opening in the eardrum.
The eardrum separates the middle ear space from the ear canal. The tube connects the middle ear and the ear canal. This allows fluid that builds up in the middle ear, including ear infections, to drain into the ear canal instead of causing fever, pain, and decreased hearing. The ear tubes are very small (1/20th of an inch) and cannot be seen from outside the ear (Figure). They are usually not permanent.
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Lawlor C. What Are Ear Tubes? JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021;147(1):116. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.2753
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