A myringotomy with ear tube insertion is much less common in adults than it is in children. While the procedure may be performed for a recurrent ear infection, this is less likely in adults because of structural changes in the ear canal as it grows.
In most cases, a myringotomy is performed on adults because of barotrauma. Barotrauma results from a significant difference in pressure inside the ear (behind the eardrum) and outside of the ear. Major differences in pressure can occur with altitude changes, such as riding in an elevator in a tall building or flying. Scuba diving can also result in barotrauma.