Grommets and swimmers ear
Acute otitis media (AOM) is one of the most common childhood illnesses. While many children experience sporadic AOM episode, an important group suffer from recurrent AOM (rAOM), defined as three or more episodes in six months or four or more in one year. In this subset of children AOM poses a true burden through frequent episodes of ear pain, irritation, restlessness, pyrexia, general illness, sleepless nights and time lost from nursery or school. This group of children will suffer from poor language and school progress and will require temporary transient relief with ventilation tubes (grommets) or tympanotomy tubes can be offered for rAOM. Myringotomy with tympanostomy tubes is the most common otological surgery.1,2,3
Most surgeons advise that the child’s ears be kept dry during the immediate post-operative period when grommets are still in situ. Some surgeons will permit swimming or bathing or playing water sports (games). Others will recommend preventions earplugs, headbands and avoidance of water exposure to reduce ear infections. However a range of differing conclusions exist regarding the need for water prevention precautions, with wide variation in clinical practice.