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“The age of the children in the study … coincides with what is believed to be a sensitive period for speech and language development,” Cosette said.
She explained that, unlike antibiotics, ear tubes “may provide immediate relief from hearing loss Relevant to middle ear fluids – whose value may be difficult to determine in the current study. “
For Sobol, the study emphasizes “the importance of creating a one-on-one approach to management”.
The trial included 250 children, ranging in age from 6 months to nearly 3 years, who had suffered frequent middle ear infections – at least three within six months, or four within a year.
Hubermann’s team randomly assigned them to either have an ear tube placed surgically or receive oral antibiotics when new infections occurred.
The children who were given ear tubes also received antibiotics when a new infection appeared – but via eardrops. If that doesn’t work, they are switched to oral antibiotics.
Hubermann noted that one of the potential advantages of ear tubes is that they allow antibiotic ear drops. This can reduce the risk of bacteria developing elsewhere in the body Antibiotic resistance.
However, over the course of the two-year study, there was no clear advantage to ear tubes when it came to new infections, or antibiotic resistance.
The average ear infection recurrence rate was approximately 1.5 annually in the ear tubes group, and 1.7 in the comparison group. Infection decreased in the second year in both groups.
The study found that children with ear tubes spent fewer days taking oral antibiotics.
But the two treatment groups showed no difference in the likelihood of harboring antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the nose or throat.
However, Sobol noted that there are some other benefits to the set of ear tubes.
For example, they tended to remain infection-free for longer before their first recurrence. They also have fewer days overall with symptoms of infection – except for drainage from the ear.
At the same time, ear tubes carry risks, albeit small, Huberman said. During the procedure, there could be bleeding or reactions to the anesthesia. In the long term, it can block the tube or cause structural changes in the eardrum.