How Tubes Saved My Son From Hearing Loss

Unsure whether to follow your ENT’s advice to place tubes in your child’s ears?

It is always a scary decision to place your child under anesthesia, no matter the procedure.

I want to share my experience in the hopes it will help mothers feel more comfortable following the advice of their child’s ENT to have tubes inserted when recommended.

My son has had tubes inserted in his ears three times, and I have no regrets having them done.

 

myringotomy

 Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My son had his first ear infection at 3 months of age.  He had fluid in his ears sporadically since, and when he was 2 years old he had his first set of tubes placed.

In medical terminology, ear tube placement is called a Myringotomy.

Half a year later his tubes fell out, and then over the next few years he had fluid in his ears on and off, including several rounds of antibiotics to try and clear it.

He was seeing his pediatrician during this time.

 

When my son was 5 years old, he followed up at a different ENT, which my pediatrician recommended as conservative towards doing surgery, and he found my son had fluid in one ear with corresponding hearing loss in that ear.

Model of inner Ear myringotomyImage courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Because of the hearing loss, the ENT felt he should have tubes inserted into both ears.  He explained that he had seen cases where the tube was inserted in one ear, and then a month later the kid had fluid in the other ear and had to undergo anesthesia again to place a tube in that one.

After the procedure, the ENT came out of the OR and commented that the fluid was very thick, and there was a lot of pressure on the ear drum causing it to be retracted.

The ENT told us if we wouldn’t have taken care of it now, he could have suffered permanent hearing loss.

He saw his pediatrician periodically over the year and the tubes were always in place.

Ear nose and throat doctorImage courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At age 7, my son had his annual physical.

A routine hearing test at that time showed decreased hearing in his left ear and the pediatrician saw the left tube had come out and there was fluid in his ear again.  In addition, the right tube was on its way out.

I visited another ENT, as his last one didn’t take our insurance anymore.

This new ENT told me he routinely removes adenoids if initial tubes were unsuccessful, and he should have had his adenoids out when he had tubes the second time.

I found this consistent with recommendations.

We scheduled him for an adenoidectomy, and had large size T-tubes placed, due to his age.

Just like last time, the ENT found his eardrum was retracted which was a concern due to it causing increased pressure in his ear.

Now at age 9 we followed up with a new ENT who came highly recommended by our pediatrician and she said the tubes are in place and she would like to leave them there for another year.

We just took him to the orthodontist for an evaluation as his adult teeth are starting to come in.  She felt he needed a palate expander as he has a crossbite, and she hopes widening his palate will assist the fluid in his ears drain better as well.

We are feeling hopeful!

 

tubes placed in ears

We do not take our son’s hearing for granted, and are grateful each time we followed the ENTs advice to have a myringotomy done.

We hope he will not need tubes placed again, but are confident we are doing what needs to be done to keep my son’s ears healthy and his hearing intact.

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