Grommet insertion (Ventilation tubes)

Grommets are small, hollow plastic tubes which are placed into the eardrum. They allow air to enter the middle ear space. They are used to treat 'glue ear' and recurrent ear infections. Over time grommets fall into the ear canal. If recurrent ear problems arise after the grommets have fallen out, a new set may be required.


Grommets are placed into the ear drum under a brief general anaesthetic in children and local anaesthetic in adults. Your child will be able go home an hour or two after surgery.

After Surgery


Paracetamol (Pamol) will be adequate pain relief. This should not be required anymore a day after surgery.

Washing Hair / Swimming

Keep your child's ears dry. Use earplugs or cotton wool with vaseline to keep the ears dry when washing the hair, showering or bathing. Your child should not jump or dive into a swimming pool. Your child should not swim in hot pools. Get your child used to wearing earplugs and a swimming cap.

Use of Ear Drops

Treat ear discharge (not wax) with ear drops prescribed by your GP or Specialist. Lie down with the ear upwards. Put drops into the ear. Massage in front of the ear.

Follow Up

If your child has problems after surgery, please get in touch with your Specialist or your family doctor. There will be a grommet check shortly after surgery and at yearly intervals until grommets have extruded.


Let your child lie down in the bath. Keep the ears dry.

Put cotton buds in your child's ear.

Bottle feed when your child is lying down.