Ear (Myringotomy) Tubes - Home Care

After the insertion of myringotomy tubes, it’s important to follow these home care instructions until your doctor tells you otherwise.


Drink clear liquids after surgery and gradually resume a regular diet, as tolerated. Avoid milk products and greasy or fatty foods for at least four hours after the procedure to avoid stomach upset.


Children may play quietly, with adult supervision. The day after surgery, they may resume normal activities, including returning to school.

Swimming is not allowed without your doctor’s approval.

Ear care

Keep the ear clean and dry. Water in the ear can cause infection. To keep it dry when around water such as during bathing or showering, coat a cotton ball with petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) and place it into the ear. You can also use ear plugs or wear properly fitted swimmer ear molds.

Apply ear drops, if prescribed. Hold the bottle in your hand for five minutes to warm the drops before inserting them into the ear. Use one of the ear drop application techniques listed below.

Stop using the ear drops if they cause severe pain or if you can taste them after they are placed into the ear.

Ear drop application techniques

  • Adult: Place the drops directly into the ear canal and allow several minutes for the drops to reach the ear drum.
  • Children: Place the child on his or her back or side with the affected ear facing up. Pull the ear upward and back, then insert the drops.

Special concerns

  • Drainage: If there is drainage from the ear, contact your doctor. Don’t put a cotton ball into the ear unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Discomfort: Ear popping or cracking is common after this procedure. There also may be pain when burping, yawning, or chewing. This discomfort will disappear as the ear heals.

Follow-up care

Arrange follow-up visits with your doctor.


If you have other questions, call:





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