Grommets are ventilating tubes which are inserted into the tympanic membrane [ear drum] and allow air to enter the middle ear. The general indications for the insertion of grommets include:

  • Recurrent acute otitis media [middle ear infection] > 4 per year or 3 in 6 months
  • Otitis media with effusion in both ears for 3 months or one ear for 6 months
  • Speech delay

After children have had grommets inserted they may have an immediate increase in their response to sound as well as improvement in the quality of their speech due to improved hearing.

Insertion of grommets is a safe procedure. In children it is done under a general anaesthetic and they are able to go home approximately one hour after the operation. In adults it is possible to insert the grommets under local anaesthetic in the rooms.

Grommets are designed to stay in the tympanic membrane for 6 – 9 months and they fall out of their own accord. Patients don’t normally notice the grommets falling out and the hole then closes over of its own accord.

To further discuss grommet insertion make an appointment with our surgeons.

Grommets post operative instructions

What to expect

Immediately post op – Your child may be in some discomfort. This usually does not last longer than a few minutes and is associated with disorientation from the anaesthetic. You will go home 1 hour after the operation.

Day 1 – 7 – Your child may have some discharge of blood and pus from the ear. This is normal. Use the drops if they are prescribed and if your child is in pain either panadol or nurofen are usually all they will need. They can have a shower but can’t go swimming.

After day 7 – Recommence swimming lessons with ear plugs and a swimming cap. Don’t allow your child to put their head under water in the bath.

If your child gets discharge from their ears, it is usually due to an upper respiratory tract infection. Your child should be placed on antibiotic drops if it continues for more than 24 hours. This can be prescribed by your GP.

If the discharge continues for more than one week then contact our rooms as your surgeon will need to see you and likely suction out your child’s ears.

When do I follow up with the Doctor

Initial follow up is one month after surgery then again approximately one year after the operation with a repeat hearing test.

What if the grommets fall out? Grommets are designed to fall out. There is no need to worry. After the grommets have fallen out your child should have a repeat hearing test and you should return to see your surgeon.


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