Children who have cleft palates are at a greater risk of developing ear infections because a cleft palate can often impact the function of the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.
Sometimes small ventilation tubes are inserted in the eardrum to permit drainage and improve air circulation. Caregivers should discuss this with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. This is a procedure that can be done during the cleft palate surgery or afterwards. Above all, it is important for children with cleft lip and/or palate to receive proper treatment of ear infections and periodic hearing evaluations by an audiologist. If ear infections go untreated, children can experience long-term hearing loss.