Tympanic effusion treatment

In most cases, the fluid in the ear disappears on its own. If there are no health problems apart from the tympanic effusion, those affected can therefore initially wait several weeks to see whether surgical treatment is necessary at all.


As a rule, it is sufficient to promote ventilation of the ears with the help of various measures (e.g. nose drops). In the case of allergic rhinitis, topical treatment with glucocorticoids may also be useful: This acts against the inflammatory processes that promote effusion in the ear.

In addition, in the case of a tympanic effusion, there are various methods that sufferers themselves can use to ensure better ventilation of the ears, such as:

  • Increased chewing and swallowing movements
  • Valsalva maneuver (i.e., inhale deeply, hold your nose, and then exhale against the resistance for about 10 seconds with your abdominal muscles tightened and your mouth firmly closed).
  • Politzer balloon (a special balloon that can be inflated through a nostril)

However, if a tympanic effusion does not improve for months and in children with risk factors (such as malformations in the craniofacial region, pre-existing sensorineural hearing loss or significant speech development disorders), the tympanic effusion should be treated surgically.

Surgery of the tympanic effusion

As a rule, surgical treatment for tympanic effusion is possible on an outpatient basis. Depending on the causes, various (mini-)operations may be considered. For example, tympanic effusion surgery may involve gently puncturing the eardrum to drain the fluid in the ear.

In addition, we can insert a so-called tympanostomy tube into the ear so that secretions can drain away and the ear is well ventilated. Tympanostomy tubes are 1.2 to 1.5 millimeters thick and are usually made of plastics such as silicone or polyethylene.

If a tympanic membrane incision and/or a tympanostomy tube insertion are not sufficient, it may be necessary to remove the adenoid if it is severely enlarged.

In certain patients, tube dilation is useful. In this procedure, under general anesthesia, a balloon is inserted through the nose into the Eustachian tube and inflated for 2 minutes. This leads to dilatation of the Eustachian tube and better patency.

For patients

As a patient, you cannot register directly for a consultation. Please get a referral from your primary care physician, specialist, or outpatient clinic.

For referrer

University Hospital Zurich
ORL clinic
Gynaecological clinic street 24
8091 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 255 58 33
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