Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ENT

Yesterday we went to see the ENT (ear nose and throat) physician for a consult for Stephen's ears. We talked to him about the benefits and risks of getting tubes placed in Stephen's ears. I now have a lot of information on the subject (if anyone is actually interested). But the
short answer is that Stephen is now eligible because he's had four ear infections in less than a year and he's been through 5 different antibiotics.

The tubes are actually little grommets. They provide a little opening for the fluid to drain out of his ears (and therefore not get infected). Basically, it gives him the chance to grow some more and have his eustachian tubes angle (adult's tubes angle, kids are horizontal - this is why kids get more ear infections than adults).

The tubes would be in his ears from about 8-18 months or so. They would most likely fall out on their own, but if they didn't, they would require surgical intervention to take them out. It's a common procedure although he would need to undergo anesthesia. However the whole process should only take about 10 minutes. He would need to wear ear plugs in the bath and in non-chlorinated water (like a lake), but he could still learn to swim (that's what I took from it anyway).

The main reasons I've read for putting in the tubes are:
  • -Stephen's comfort (ear infections hurt)
  • -concerns about hearing loss (this could delay his speech and language development, although it's not permanent)
  • - balance (the doctor told us sometimes older kids had trouble walking because of the fluid)

I must admit, I just don't really want to unless I have to.

And there's my ear update.

1 comment:

Jenniffrm said...

I know exactly what you are going threw. My middle son had the same problem since he was six months old. He was getting ear infection from 6 months til the age of 1. He was getting 2 per month which adds up to 12 ear infections in 6 months. He was almost deaf in his left ear.

The best thing we did was have the tubes put in his ears. They did not fall out on their own. The doctor took them out in the office. He did not require surgical intervention. Things have changed since my son had them put in.

He is now 9 yrs old and no problems. Thank goodness. So good luck with your decision and remember it is hard but sometimes that is the best intervention.