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View Full Version : Fluid behind the eardrum--WWYD?


ranthony
09-17-2008, 03:48 PM
I took my 3 yo DS to a ENT Dr. today because he has had fluid behind his eardrums off and on since March.

I noticed a slight hearing loss in the spring when he developed congestion. He was placed on antibiotic for sinus infection and things cleared up until mid-June when the same thing happened again.

Now, he's congested again (just started pre-school) and I am a bit concerned about how this hearing loss (although it seems to be mild) will affect him during his school days.

The ENT really down played the whole issue saying it's common--especially with kids in preschool and just observing him and letting it clear on it's own would probably be all that was necessary.

He then examined my son and said "yes, he's full...and it looks like it's been in there for a while since it's starting to turn brown". :eek: He then wrote him a script to have an Audiologist test him and depending on the findings of the Audiologist, tubes in the ears may be necessary.

I'm sure many of you have been there, done that. My older son had a similar issue at about the same age and we took him to a Chiropractor for treatment for a while and it either worked, or he grew tall enough that the tubes in the ears were more vertical and able to clear on their own.

So, I guess I'm looking for opinions on how necessary tubes in the ears really are. WWYD?

luvmy3jewels
09-17-2008, 04:05 PM
My son had constant ear infections and fluid in his ears almost from the day he was born. He also had hearing loss, and it affected his speech significantly enough that he ended up needing speech therapy. They finally referred him to an ENT when he was 3, and that Dr. immediately said that my son needed tubes (+ adnoids and tonsils removed). I can tell you that the surgery really changed his life. He went from being a very difficult child, to much happier and healthier. I'll never forget hearing him sing a song for the first time 2 weeks after the surgery. We never regretted it for a minute!! Every year since, when the tubes fell out he immediately started having problems again and would have to get new ones (3 sets total). I think he may finally be out growing his ear problems now that he is 6.

That being said, I think that decision is best made by you and your Dr. I would encourage you to get a second opinion if you have any doubts about what the 1st ENT has recommended. Having seen what my son went through (and having experienced it myself when I was a child) I can say that tubes are definitely worth it if the child is suffering from ear infections and hearing loss.

pls5286
09-17-2008, 04:06 PM
My son had to have tubes in his ears at 9 months old because of constant ear infections. They were very much worth it. When they put them in, he didnt even have to have an IV for the surgery. The entire procedure lasted less than 30 minutes. If I had to do it over again, I would. We were fortunate enough that we only required the one set. But I will defintiely say it was worth it.

ChelleinNC
09-17-2008, 04:15 PM
My son had constant ear infections and fluid in his ears almost from the day he was born. He also had hearing loss, and it affected his speech significantly enough that he ended up needing speech therapy. They finally referred him to an ENT when he was 3, and that Dr. immediately said that my son needed tubes (+ adnoids and tonsils removed). I can tell you that the surgery really changed his life. He went from being a very difficult child, to much happier and healthier. I'll never forget hearing him sing a song for the first time 2 weeks after the surgery. We never regretted it for a minute!! Every year since, when the tubes fell out he immediately started having problems again and would have to get new ones (3 sets total). I think he may finally be out growing his ear problems now that he is 6.

That being said, I think that decision is best made by you and your Dr. I would encourage you to get a second opinion if you have any doubts about what the 1st ENT has recommended. Having seen what my son went through (and having experienced it myself when I was a child) I can say that tubes are definitely worth it if the child is suffering from ear infections and hearing loss.

That could have been my post, except we waited (wish I hadn't) until DS was 4 before he got his tubes. He had chronic ear infections from the time he was 6mths old, amoxicyllin never worked, so he's been taking Augment, Keflex and so on since he was a baby. DS also had to go to speech therapy, because he had never heard the words correctly as a toddler :sad2:

Now he's 11, and I don't think he's had a single ear infection since he had his tubes put in :thumbsup2

eccobleu
09-17-2008, 04:21 PM
My DD started having ear infections at 4 months and they recommended tubes when she was 6 months. I put it off b/c I wasn't sure I wanted to put her throught that. Well, she kept getting infections and eventually developed an allergy to two antibiotics. We had tubes put in when she was 11 months in February and have not had any problems since (knock on wood). I think it really helped DD and I would do it again.

HTH

dijid
09-17-2008, 04:38 PM
I'd wait and see how things go with the audiologist. My DS never had ear infections, yet had chronic fluid in his ears. On a whim I had his hearing tested in preschool (the kid always was sooooo loud) and he failed. The audiologist declared it a moderate loss (he wasn't just ignoring us!) and we went with tubes. Had to re-insert them after the fell out (still had a loss) but he outgrew it at 6.

LisaNJ25
09-17-2008, 05:04 PM
My 3yo son has tubes, No history of ear infections.. got a cold April 2007 and his tonsils swelled up. Than never went down. Finally after going round and round with his dr I went to an ENT. He also had fluid in his ears and enlarged adnoids. He had his hearing tested and he had hearing loss. I will say in inpacted his speech big time. He was talking great at the time. Nice and clear.. he has 3 older siblings and picked everythign up fast. He was 17months a the time. He had surgery in Otober 2007.Tubes put in, tonsils and adnoids out. Tubes are still in and he speech is still affected. He is also very high pitched but that was because of the tonsils/adnoids.

I would wait to see what the audioligist says and if it is affecting his hearing have the tubes put in.

My 9yo just went though it also. She failed the hearing test last year at school. She had one tube put in August 2007. It just came out last month adn her hearing is back to normal. Thankfully since she was older it didnt affect her speech.

ps..not sure what part of Jersey you are in but if you are up north I can give you the name a of great one and he has an audiologist right in his office

ranthony
09-17-2008, 05:18 PM
Well, at least he's never complained about ear pain. He's mostly been congested and then the fluid builds up...no pain, no fevers and this didn't start until close to his 3rd birthday.

His speach is fine. I just notice a bit of a hearing loss but sometimes I wonder if it isn't 'selective', kwim?

I've been trying to make an appointment with the Audiologist since my original post and it looks like I'm going to have to travel 50 miles to get someone in my network that will test a 3 yo. :sad2:

Well, his hearing is worth it, obviously, but gosh...how can they all not test little kids?

ranthony
09-17-2008, 05:23 PM
ps..not sure what part of Jersey you are in but if you are up north I can give you the name a of great one and he has an audiologist right in his office

I'm near the Delaware Water Gap...it looks like I'm going to have to go to Morristown for an Audiologist. I just called my insurance co. BC/BS and we went down the list together. Most of them are saying no kids under 4 or no kids under 5.

The ENT was the same. There was someone right in his office and they said they only test kids 4 and up. My son is only 3 1/2.

2Kds2K9
09-17-2008, 06:25 PM
Been there, done that, and on the third set of tubes. My DS is exactly like your DS. No chronic ear infections, just fluid. We discovered it by having his hearing checked and found a hearing loss. He may out grow this, or we may just keep doing tubes. Who knows. He's currently 14 and is 5'7"!

The tubes helped his hearing significantly. I would do the tubes again in a heartbeat!

Good luck.

LisaNJ25
09-17-2008, 09:01 PM
I'm near the Delaware Water Gap...it looks like I'm going to have to go to Morristown for an Audiologist. I just called my insurance co. BC/BS and we went down the list together. Most of them are saying no kids under 4 or no kids under 5.

The ENT was the same. There was someone right in his office and they said they only test kids 4 and up. My son is only 3 1/2.


I have BC/BS also. See if Dr. Brian Lebovitz is on your plan.He used to be with the North Jersey ear nose and throat in Denville and moved over the spring to parsipanny on rt 46. Here is a direct link :http://www.entandallergy.com/doctors/b_lebovitz/b_lebovitz.html

Really really nice dr and great with kids. My son had his done in St.Clares because of his age and tonsils and adenoids he stayed overnight.He did my daughters tubes at the surgical center on Ridgedale Ave in Cedar knolls. Same road that will take you into Morristown.

Pikester
09-17-2008, 09:10 PM
I just wanted to stop in and add my DS7 experience with tubes. He had alot of fluid build up and the ENT told me that it would be like trying to hear somebody talking to you under water. He has had 3 or 4 sets of tubes and earlier this spring had his adnoids removed. He always sounded like he had a stuffy nose and would have to chew with his mouth open. He does alot better now. He needs speech therpy but is doing great. I'll never forget what the nurses told me he said as soon as he woke up from having his first set of tubes put in. "I can hear!" Made me tear up!:sad1:

Aristomommy
09-17-2008, 09:52 PM
My DS3 had the same situation, and we put tubes in his ears in August. We repeated his hearing test from before the procedure, and he went from hearing loss to normal hearing.

While it's true that as kids grow their eustacian tubes will develop where they will start to drain properly (in most cases), I didn't want DS to suffer from hearing loss and speech deficits. Ear infections are painful and I wanted to avoid unnecessary antibiotics. This procedure is routine, minimal anesthesia and it is not painful. I would do it over again based on the results I had with DD9 and DS3.

thepeach80
09-17-2008, 10:05 PM
I'm surprised your ENT doesn't have an audiologist. Maybe we're just spoiled? All of my kids have tubes, AJ was almost 3 and the other 2 were 7 mos old old. AJ's 1 tube lasted for 6 mos, he still has the other 1 2.5yrs later. Evan had one fall out right after 2yrs in and still has the other one over 3 yrs later. Ilana still has both of hers 14 mos later so they don't always fall out right away and need to be replaced.

For AJ, the fluid never went away (and hence the infection he had) b/c the fluid was more goop than fluid, it was too thick to drain. She suctioned it out when he went in. If your ds has any hearing loss at all, I would want the tubes ASAP personally. Thankfully the kids never had any hearing problems from the infections they had.

niclmac
09-17-2008, 11:06 PM
I am a speech pathologist with a son who had chronic ear infections and also had the fluid without infections at times too. We had tubes put in at 11 months. He continued to develop the fluid in his ears month after month after month, except now, of course, the fluid would just drain out. It was so common for him, that we would just call his ENT, who would just phone in the prescription for the antibiotics (did not have to bring him in anymore, because the poor fellow just continuously would develop the fluid). He had hearing loss before the tubes and had to have speech therapy (by me and by others).
Long story short, get the tubes, save your little guy from having that muffled type of hearing, off set balance, congestion, etc. The procedure really is painless and so darn fast. He has had to have 3 more sets of tubes since then, but again, all worth it. He is six now and no longer has the tubes and no longer has the fluid. You just have to ride it out. Best of luck to you~~

LisaLovesDisney
09-18-2008, 01:17 AM
Hi There,

Crazy I would read this post today and I have not been on the boards in about a year because I had what is called "T-TUBES" put in my ears today! Now "T-Tubes" are not used on children. They are semi perm and last about 10-15 years. I had regular tubes put in back in '06 and they only lasted me about 1.5 years and my ears seemed good for about 2 months and they started retaining fluid again so my ENT decided the "t-tubes" would be a good idea. Bad ears seems to run in my family. My 3 yo DD had tubes out in at 7 months and that set is still in. She had about 7-10 ear infections by that time so they put them in and not another problem with her ears since. The operation was very quick and our only issue was bringing a baby our of anthesia. She was quite grumpy for the first hour. But it was sooo worth it. The tubes have been a god send! Here are some details: they use tubes which are plastic and shaped like a hollow spool. The are about as big as the tip of a ball point pen. Doctors suggest tubes for children who have repeat ear infections or when fluid stays behind the eardrum. The ENT places the tubes through a small surgical opening made in the eardrum (myringotomy or tympanostomy). The child is unconscious under general anesthesia for this surgery. Here is how the anatomy of the ear was explained to me to help me understand. Between your middle ear and your throat there is a passage called the eustachian (say: yoo-stay-she-un) tube. The eustachian tubes (you have one on each side) keep pressure from building up by letting air move in and out of your middle ear. When you were young, especially before you turned 3, the eustachian tubes are very small and positioned horizontally and less able to keep germs out and drain properly. It can also affect how children learning to talk speak since they say words how they hear them. As you get older the eustachian tubes get longer and turn more vertically and usually work better in older kids and MOST adults, but they can still cause problems. If you have allergies or catch a cold, the eustachian tubes can get blocked up and let germs get in the middle ear. Then the number of germs can grow inside your middle ear and cause an infection.

I hope this helps you! The tubes were a blessing for me and my DD so I hope it brings you some peace of mind and helpful info.