Each year around half a million children, many between the ages of 1 and 3, get tubes implanted in their ears to remove fluid buildup from a common condition called otitis media with effusion (OME). Experts have long believed that OME can cause long-term problems with hearing, language skills, and more. But a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that ear tubes aren't always necessary. "Kids who waited several months or skipped the surgery altogether turned out just fine," says Jack Paradise, M.D., lead author of the study. Turns out that most children with OME need nothing more than checkups to monitor the condition until it resolves itself.