What are Grommets
Grommets are ventilation tubes (air vents) inserted into the eardrum. They stay in place for about 9 to 18 months. The grommet extrudes as the eardrum heals behind the grommet and it slowly migrates out of the ear canal.
What do they do?
Grommets have a small hole in the centre ( like a cotton reel). The hole allows air to pass from the ear canal into the middle ear space therefore temporarily aerating the middle ear space. This is necessary for normal hearing.
Care of Grommets
It is important to keep ears dry while bathing, and hair washing, as soap and shampoo can change the surface tension of the ear canal allowing water to enter the middle ear through the grommet. A shallow bath is best for little ones, or in the shower use protectors. Also use protectors and covers for swimming - town pools, rivers. Follow the advice of you Surgeon. It is usually safe to swim in sea without covers, although diving and jumping is not recommended. It is important not to put the head under water in hot pools.
Complications of Grommets
Discharge - a discharging infected ear is not normal and should be treated by Doctor or Nurse Specialist.
This includes clearing the discharge and applying appropriate antibiotic eardrops.
Sometimes the grommet comes out too soon and a hole may be left.
Sometimes there is slight scarring on the eardrum but does not usually cause a problem.
Sometimes the ear eardrum is weakened at the grommet site and may retract inwards.
Some children require more than one set of grommets.