Having grommets fitted is a minor operation that is an effective treatment for glue ear and for improving your hearing.

Grommets are small plastic ventilation tubes that help the air to flow into the middle ear and prevent fluid from collecting. The middle ear will now be able to function properly, so normal hearing is restored.

At The London Clinic, we offer surgery to fit grommets. The procedure is performed by one of our surgeons who specialise in the treatment of conditions affecting your ear, nose or throat.

Having grommets fitted – what to expect

In most cases, having grommets fitted is a minor operation that takes between 15 and 30 minutes. This means you will have them fitted and be able to leave the hospital on the same day. The procedure is usually done under general anaesthetic, so you won’t be conscious during the operation. Typically, you won’t be allowed to eat or drink for a few hours before the operation.

During the operation, your surgeon will make a small incision into your eardrum before inserting a small tube to draw out the fluid that has collected. Once this is done, they will fit a grommet into one or both ears, if both are affected. After this has been done, your surgeon may apply steroid eardrops into the ear to prevent swelling and infection.

Effects of having grommets fitted

Once you’ve woken up from the operation, you’ll need to rest for a few hours while the effects of the anaesthetic pass. Side effects to the operation are usually mild and can include slight earache and bloodstained discharge from your ear which your doctor may prescribe painkillers to help you cope with. You’ll also be given advice for caring for your ears, and will usually be asked to come back so that the doctor can check that the operation was successful.

Recovering from the operation

You should stay at home for a day or two after the operation so that you can avoid coming into contact with germs that may cause coughs or colds. Your doctor will usually advise you to avoid immersing your head in water for at least two weeks after the procedure. After that period, you’ll usually be recommended to wear earplugs if you have a bath or go swimming.

Once your grommets have been fitted, they will usually fall out of your ear after around 6 to 12 months. The hole in the eardrum that has been made for the grommet heals naturally very quickly once the grommet has fallen out. Occasionally you may need more than one set of grommets to be fitted if you have recurring bouts of glue ear.