Grommets

Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find the answers to many of your questions about the insertion of grommets. Learn how it works, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

To see how it’s done view our animation below. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, procedure and recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for insertion of grommets, and learn how your choice of doctor and hospital affect that cost.

 

See costs

Learn about the procedure

This short animation explains how the ear works and why grommets may be needed. It also shows how an incision is made in the eardrum (known as myringotomy), so grommets can be inserted.

The basics

What are grommets?

Grommets are tiny plastic ventilation tubes that are rimmed at the end. They’re inserted into the eardrum to equalise pressure in the ear.

Why is it done?

Glue ear or recurrent middle ear infections are the most common reasons that grommets are inserted. Children are most often affected, but adults can be too.

Because grommets allow air in from the outside, enabling fluid and mucus to be absorbed normally, they improve hearing immediately and help to prevent repeated ear infections.

Glue ear 

Glue ear is a chronic ear condition, common in young children, in which thick mucus collects within the middle ear. Because the middle ear is normally filled with air instead of fluid, hearing is often affected.

Where is it done?

As a day patient in either a day surgery or hospital.

How long does it take?

Usually around 10-15 minutes.

Who's involved?

  • Your ear, nose and throat surgeon
  • Anaesthetist 
  • Nurses 

The details

CONSIDERING THE PROCEDURE

Treatments to consider before opting for grommets

Non-surgical options that may delay the need for grommets.
Learn more

Results vs risks of the procedure

The benefits and potential complications of grommets.
Learn more

Choosing a specialist

How to find a surgeon who specialises in your procedure.
Learn more

PREPARATION

Questions for the surgeon and anaesthetist

What you should be asking before going ahead with the procedure.
Learn more

Preparing for the procedure

Pre-operative tests and how to prepare your child for grommet insertion. 
Learn more

Anaesthetic options

The type of anaesthetic you may be offered.
Learn more

PROCEDURE

Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of the procedure.
Learn more

Your procedure

What happens in the operating theatre.
Learn more

 

RECOVERY AND AFTERCARE

After the procedure

Pain relief and more.
Learn more

Aftercare

Precautions following grommet insertion.
Learn more

Patient experiences

HCF members who've had grommets talk about their preparation, procedure and recovery.
 
View videos

Coping with hearing impairment

Children with a hearing impairment talk about how they deal with it at school and in their everyday lives.

View videos

Give us feedback

Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you liked or what we can do to improve it. We'd love to hear from you.

To provide feedback, email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au.

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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.