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What are Pressure Equalization (PE) Tubes?

Pressure equalization tubes, or PE tubes, are tiny cylinders that are surgically placed through the eardrum to allow air into the middle ear. These ear tubes may also be called tympanostomy tubes, myringotomy tubes, or ventilation tubes. These tubes help to normalize hearing and prevent recurring accumulation of fluid and infections.

PE tubes are made from various materials. They may be coated with a substance that’s intended to reduce the possibility of infection.

PE tubes typically stay in place for about a year before falling out on their own. Some tubes have flanges to secure them in place for a longer period of time and then they may fall out on their own. In some cases, removal by a healthcare provider may be necessary.