Sometimes people have recurrent ear infections or have a build up of fluid behind the ear drum. Children are at particular risk of these problems. A doctor might recommend that they have grommets fitted. But what exactly are ear grommets for?
A grommet is a tiny tube with flanges at either end which makes it look like a cotton reel. http://zenplugs.com/molded-earplugs/An ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist makes a tiny hole in the ear drum and places the grommet in the hole. This stops the hole closing up and ventilates the middle ear. By doing this it stops the fluid building up and so prevents infections. Ear infections are a common problem for young children. They cause discomfort, pain, discharge, muffled hearing and time off school.
Sometimes people have fluid in their middle ears for a long time. This is called glue ear. Hearing aids are sometimes used if deafness is more of a problem than infection. Liquid doesn't transmit sound vibration energy as well as air. This means that when the middle ear becomes filled with liquid then deafness may ensue. Hearing aids treat the problem without the need for an operation. Eustachian tube dysfunction is a common reason for the fluid build-up. That's another story...
Next time; 'What Is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?'