Chronic Ear Infections: Tubes for Adults?

So I’m on of those poor folks who is prone to ear infections. I get a few every year. Not at all one of the happier things in my life.

Long have I been resigned to living with them. But now my GP tells me those tube things they put in kids ears to deal with them (one of my 16 year younger brothers had this when he was about 8) can now be done to adults. I had previously been assured that it was just a thing for the younger set and I was too old.

So what’s the skinny. Anyone know anything about tubes-in-ears for adults?


I’m not sure what that might be referring to based on the OP alone…but it sounds a little bit like the metal rods that are surgically implanted in the eustachian tube of the inner ear to help keep it from swelling up and closed at the slightest provocation.

We touched on them briefly in classes, but the professor and book made no distinction that they were only available for children and/or adults, so I just assumed anybody could get them.

I also had a doctor recommend them to me recently (I’m 35). I think they’re mostly for kids in that more kids get ear infections more frequently. You just happen to be one of the adults who might benefit from them.

IANAD either, but a website that had a “Ask the ENT” question on it about this topic did mention that an adult could have the small tube inserted into the middle ear if the infection was bad enough.

The tubes can be removed at a later date, but they eventually fall out. That I did not know.

That leads me to this question? Where do they go? Out the ear I hope!

Boy, me too.

I’ve got to admit, if there’s ANYTHING short of ear removal that would stop me from having 2-5 ear infections per year I’d pay a good amount to make that happen.

Effectively, anytime I get any water behind my eardrum at all I get an infection. Ugh.

Yes, they fall to the exterior of the ear.

The tubes I’m accustomed to are shaped like the head of a pop-rivet: a disk with a hole in it, leading through a short tube that extends out the other side. A small hole is made in the eardrum with a needle, with the tube threaded over it, The tube is inserted through the hole until the disk is flush with eardrum. It can’t go any further, because the disk is much larger than the hole.

Whether it is removed or falls out by itself, the small puncture quickly heals by itself.

It can be done on an adult or child with little difficulty. It’s actually easier on an adult.

I, too, had ear infections into my mid-30s - not every year, but several in some years. My last one was several months before my ENT surgical rotation in medical school (Medicine was a second career for me). I haven’t had one since. Coincidence? I think my skull or soft tissues just had some small bit of growth or adjustment left at that relatively late date in my life.

I wish you similar luck.