What Are Grommets For?

 What Are Grommets For?

What Are Grommets For?

Grommets are tiny plastic tubes which are placed in a hole made in the eardrum to hold it open and prevent it healing up. They are shaped like a cotton bobbin having flanges at either end and a tube joining the two ends. They are usually only a few mm long and are used to prevent recurrent ear infections.

Your doctor may recommend them if you are getting repeated ear infections.  This is likely if they are caused by Eustachian Tube Dysfunction or enlarged tonsils and adenoids. The Eustachian Tube usually drains and aerates the middle ear space. If it becomes blocked the air in the middle ear is absorbed and replaced with fluid. This situation is called glue ear. The fluid can repeatedly become infected leading to recurrent otitis media. It also stops the eardrum from vibrating properly in response to sound so deafness ensues. This is reversible.

The grommet is placed in a tiny hole in the eardrum made by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. It holds it open and stops it from healing closed, allowing fluid to drain and air to remain in the middle ear. The ear should be kept dry when the grommet is in place, ear plugs should be worn when exposure to water is a possibility. The grommet maintains hearing and prevents the infection recurring. If hearing loss is the main problem then hearing aids may be considered to treat the deafness.

The grommet will usually remain in place for a month or so before falling out on it's own and the hole closing up.

In otitis media pus builds up in the middle ear space leading to rupture of the eardrum on some occasions. Bursting treats the condition as the infected fluid leaves the middle ear. The hole allows air into the middle ear, ventilating it and killing germs. Antibiotics by mouth may be required to treat the condition.

Always visit your doctor for a consultation if you think you may have an ear condition.