Ear Infections/Tubes & ENTs
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2007:
Ear Infections/Tubes & ENTs
My 3 year old has had an ear infection for weeks now, the doctor gave him a 6 day course of Zirthomax, however; I noticed that he was not getting better and could not seem to hear me. I was constantly repeating myself and he was mumbling so I took him back. The doctor said one ear was still red and gave him Suprax/cefixime for 7 days. We are on day 4 of this medication. He said that he probably could not hear me as he has fluid in his ear.
I was talking to my neighbor yesterday and she mentioned that her daughter had a similar pattern with continual ear infections and had to have 4 sets of tubes placed in her child's ears. I have no knowledge of this type of procedure and it did scare me a bit when she mentioned that it is a surgical procedure but assured me that it is no big deal.
We are off to see the ENT today for an evaluation and a hearing test is there anything specific I should be asking about?
I so hope this hearing loss is a temporary thing and I'm trying not to worry!
Tubes are usually not something that they put in unless you have months and months of infections. I also seem to recall that we tried several different antibiotics. Dd started with ear infections at about 2 months old and didn't get tubes until 11 months old.
She has no hearing loss at all. I take that back, she has selective hearing like her father. LOL Let me talk on the phone and she hears every word I say, let me tell her to clean her room and she can't hear that at all!!
If you do end up getting tubes, it literally takes about 15 minutes. I remember them taking dd from us, we walked to the waiting area and I was just finished making a cup of tea and they called that she was done and waking up. I wasn't even done crying yet!!
Brendan has had tubes in his ear twice now, the first time when he was 4 and the second time just after his 6th birthday. When he had them done the second time he had his tonsils and adnoids removed. These were both done after months and months of ear infections/strep and countless rounds of antibiotics. I finally just had had enough and said let's do it, best decision I'd ever made.
He had his surgery this past Feb. and hasn't been sick but once (knocking on wood) and feels better all the way around.
I'm a surgical tech and can tell you that the whole procedure for the tubes is less than 10 minutes total. It takes longer to get them ready for the procedure than anything. I don't know if it's everywhere but for just tubes they aren't even intubated (they are for tonsils so I was a little freaked out about that but he did well and still glad we did it).
Honestly I think that if this is her first go around with the infection I think some other type of antibiotic is needed and I doubt tubes would be an option at this point. Let us know how the visit goes.
My youngest had tubes put in his ears right before he turned 2. However, we had months and months of continual ear infections before they did it. They also took out his adnoids. The procedure was very short, and he was fine later that day.
My ds did have some hearing loss because of the fluid build up in his ears. However, once the tubes were put in, his hearing came back completely.
It is very common to have some fluid, even after the ear infections has clear up. It can take a little longer for the fluid to go away.
If this is his first ear infection, or he hasn't had many, they will not do tubes now. They will want to see a pattern before they go that route. And, you will probably be referred to an ENT before anything is done.
Vicki your post cracked me up, I could cry just thinking about my baby in the hospital.
This is not the first ear infection, he gets one every time he gets a cold. He has not had many though. This is probably the 4 round of antibiotics this year.
We are seeing an ENT today at 2 pm, I'll post an update when we get home.
I was just really concerned about his hearing and weird speech these past two weeks. Yesterday he was in his bedroom at nap time and was singing at the top of his lungs. I went upstairs to tell him to quiet down so he wouldn't wake his brother, but by the time I got upstairs he has stopped singing. I opened the door which he didn't hear (he had is back to me) and I said his name three times before he even knew I was in the room. I just want to keep on top of the hearing loss and make sure that we catch things in time before there is any permanent damage.
My now 14yo had two sets of tubes. First set at 4 and the second at 6 1/2. He had chronic fluid that was effecting his hearing. The doctor didn't believe me, said their machine that checked hearing wasn't working (for a year???). Then he said something to Robin, who was sitting 3 feet away and Robin looked right at him and yelled, "WHAT?" Then he sent us for a hearing test. The audiologist said it's like these kids are hearing like they're under water. The procedure like everyone else said, only takes about 10 minutes. Yes, prep and recovery take longer, but we were really only there a couple hours. When we came out of the hospital after his second set a plane flew over and Robin actually ducked and covered his ears!
So no, tubes really aren't a big deal. Where our big deal came in was 5 years later when one hadn't fallen out and we'd been told it had after 2 years. They removed it (another surgery because Robin wasn't going to let him anywhere near his ear to take something stuck that well in it out) and it left a hole that wouldn't close on it's own. So another surgery to try and plug the hole. Didn't work so they had to do yet another surgery to patch it. That was an extremely involved surgery that was very painful for Robin and the recovery was extremely painful as well. The reason we went ahead with it was because the small hole the tube left was causing some mild hearing loss. The ENT said the surgery would fix the hole and the hearing loss. Well guess what? The surgery did fix the hole BUT it left scar tissue that's now causing mild hearing loss! It's been almost a year and I have to get him an appointment to have it checked again to see if the scar tissue has thinned and the hearing loss is gone. So we did a very involved, painful surgery to correct hearing loss and it created hearing loss? I was pretty upset. The ENT blew me and my concerns off. I have to wonder what kind of effect that hearing loss over all those years had on all the trouble we had with school.
So anyway, I'm not telling you this to scare you. If your son is experiencing fluid that's causing trouble hearing that needs to be corrected. However I want you to be aware of the possibilities down the road. If he does get tubes make sure an ENT checks them every so often and don't listen to a regular ped that says "Oh, they fell out. I don't see anything in there." If we'd had that tube taken out after 2 years instead of 5 the hole probably would have closed on it's own. Keep on top of this. Good luck.
Sarah had tubes put in, when she was about 2. They were put in early September and were gone by December. I never saw when they fell out, though. So, I don't know if they really helped her ear infection situation anyway. After she turned two, it seemed she started getting them fewer and fewer times, anyway.
The surgery is very brief. They just put kids to sleep, becuase they would never sit still.
Randy had ear infections and fluid in his ear for several months. The doc put him on an antihistamine to try and dry out the fluid.
Eventually it all just cleared up - but this was about 6 months of on again off again fluid and infection.
Once he got over that hurdle, we never really had a problem.
So, we had the experience that by waiting it out we were fine, rather than opting for tubes.
A different story. We went through a full 7 months of ear infections/antiobiotics. My dd had lots of fluid all the time. My ped recommended us to see an allergist. Turns out she was allergic to her formulad (corn and soy). So although it is normal for children who get fluid in the ears to get infections and have issues. Getting fluid is not normal. It can be caused by allergies, exposure to illnesses, etc. So tubes will definitly fix a symptom, but I would highly reccommend trying to find the cause. We changed her diet and she has had 2 ear infections since, one was a year and half later and one when she was 12.
Kaye, that is a very good point. I will speak with my Naturopathic Doctor when I see her and see what she has to say about it; I'll also mention it the our GP.
Our ENT was wonderful, he said that ds has fluid in the ear and has about 10% hearing loss, he cannot hear 15 decimals but can hear 35. I'm so happy that this was not behavioral, I thought for awhile he was just ignoring me. His advice was to put him on decongestant and have him plug his nose and push air into his mouth with his lips closed, if he can't do this then have him blow up balloons. He wants to see us again in a month. If the fluid is not cleared by then, then we will go to the hospital to have the fluid drained. He did not mention anything about tubes.
Great doctors are a wonderful blessing to worried mothers!
Well, as a speech pathologist I want to give your ENT a gold star. Most ENTs will want to put in tubes first thing. I am glad that yours is taking a more conservative approach. My oldest DS had one ear infection a month from the time he was 3 months old until a year of age. They always cleared quickly and we never did tubes. He was an early talker and his speech wasn't effected at all. I'm all for tubes if they are needed, but I think they should be a last resort.
Another story - Jeff was sick from the moment he emerged from my wound. He had his first ear infection at 3 months, and I am not exaggerating, until he was three, he had either an ear infection, strep or both. Our Ped tried numerous antibiotics, at one point his eardrum burst (that is gross!!!!) and he got his first set of tubes @ 10 months, when he also had eye surgery. The next set was @ 14 months, and he had another at 3 years, when he had a T & A. After that, he was one healthy little boy, so for US, tubes was the right choice. I agree, they aren't indicated in EVERY child, and I also agree that everything else should be tried first. But, in Jeff's case, tubes were definitely warranted.
I agree Karen, dd was a totally different child the day she got the tubes put in. Not another ear infection since! Her tubes stayed in for a few years. She only ever got the one set.