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If your child has undergone, or is about to undergo the grommets procedure, you may be wondering about the specifics of aftercare. Many ENT specialists will recommend that their patients wear earplugs during swimming or bathing to protect the site of the procedure whilst they’re healing, but recent studies have suggested that they aren’t necessary. Dr Ted Smith has performed countless grommets procedures; in this blog, he discusses the purpose of earplugs after grommets surgery.

What are grommets?

Grommet insertion is a procedure typically recommended for children – and adults, though less commonly – who experience frequent and painful ear infections or who have middle ear fluid (glue ear) with hearing loss. These tubes allow a normal pressure behind the eardrum, and stop fluid from building up again. Grommets will usually fall out naturally within 12-24 months of their insertion, but an ENT specialist will advise on the most likely timeframe for each patient. If you or your child are experiencing recurring ear infections or you are worried about their hearing, make an appointment with your GP and request a referral to an ENT specialist.

Why did my ENT specialist recommend earplugs?

Many people believe that allowing water to come into contact with the ears and eardrums immediately after having grommets inserted can cause infections. However, recent research has indicated that this may not be the case. In coastal Australia, where swimming and water sports are an everyday part of life, Dr Ted recommends ear plugs for most patients. Plugs are not necessary at bath time, but it is important not to submerge the head in bathwater, and to rinse the hair with fresh water from the tap or shower. If an infection does occur in your or your child’s ears, contact your ENT specialist for advice. You may be directed to purchase eardrops from a pharmacy. You should not submerge your head in water until the infection has cleared.

What type of earplugs are best?

If your doctor does advise that you purchase earplugs for your child, or for yourself, there are a few different options to choose from. Blutac works very well for most kids, when used in conjunction with a headband or swimming cap. If this is not effective then other options include Doc’s Proplugs, or a custom-made moulded earplug.

Learn more about grommets by speaking to Dr Ted Smith from Smith ENT, and get the most current advice about wearing earplugs after a grommets procedure. Contact us today.


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