Ear tubes

My daughter has been recommended for ear tubes and adenoid reduction. She is 3.5 yrs has a speech and language delay. In speech therapy 3X a week. She has only had 3 ear infections since December and 3 rounds of antibiotics. Never a single ear infection before that. But she has had fluid behind her eardrums (and flat tympanograms) for about the last 18 months.

The fluid in her ears has probably affected her hearing; very enlarged adenoids (like open her mouth and you can see ‘em back there with no particular effort) have probably affected her tongue and jaw position.

So tubes and adenoids reduction sounds like the right thing to do but I’m Completely. Freaked. Out. by the idea of putting my 3 year old under the knife.

Anyone have kids who have gone through this surgery? Any one who had this recommended and instead successfully decided to use homeopathy/ Chiropracty /Moon-worshiping-drum-circles instead? Is being freaked out by surgery on my kid rational or hysterical? And could I possibly overthink this whole thing any more?

I had tubes put in my ears, adenoids reduced, and tonsils removed when I was 4 years old. My hearing improved a great deal, my sleep apnea/ snoring was greatly reduced, and I could swallow without choking. All in all, a good deal for me. I’m almost 21 now, so I managed to survive. I am still somewhat prone to ear infections, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was.

My little sister had these problems: huge tonsils and adenoids, fluid in the ears, plus a ton of allergies that left her congested 24/7. She didn’t talk until she was three because of it.

Doctors recommended tonsillectomy and tubes in the ears. Unfortunately, Sis was (mis)diagnosed with a clotting disorder, so she never had any surgery. She did some speech therapy in school, but not a lot. She also got some tutoring to help with schoolwork, but also not a lot. My parents got her no other treatments.

She turned out just fine. Above-average performance in school, and is now flying up through the ranks in the Navy. She has no trouble speaking or hearing. She did struggle a little her first years in school, but not enough that it mattered much. She did, however, get her tonsils removed much later, once it was discovered that she didn’t really have a clotting disorder. But by then (age 10 or so), it was because of repeated infections, not hearing/speech problems.

I think my point is that while this kind of problem can seem like a big deal when a child is young, they often grow out of it with few ill effects. Mostly, I think it comes down to what risks you feel most comfortable taking.

My son had ear tubes put in at eighteen months for chronic ear infections. The whole operation only took about an hour, and he was fine afterwards. They helped the situation greatly, and eventually worked themselves out about two years later.

My younger brother had tubes put in his ears about 30 years ago, for chronic ear infections. My mother was terribly worried, but he came out of surgery just fine. His ear infections dropped dramatically, and the tubes eventually worked themselves out of his ears without further surgery.

Ear tubes are a piece o’ cake as far as surgery goes. Takes longer to put the kid under, and wake them up afterwards than to do the actual procedures.

Tubes saved my kid’s hearing, BTW.

He also had a combined tonsil/adenoid ectomy at 18 months. That was a breeze, too. He was eating a glazed donut 4 hours afterwards…

In the 70s and 80s, EVERYONE was getting the ear tubes. My son had chronic ear infections and our pediatrician opted against the tube surgery. She said it frequently doesn’t have any positive effect on the problem anyway. It sounds like your daughter would be a much better candidate for them than my son. He didn’t have a hearing loss, he didn’t have tonsil or adenoid issues. Get a second opinion.

The surgery for the tubes is no big deal. Tonsils and adenoids…well…it’s a way bigger deal if you ask me (tonsils out when I was 15…hurt like a muthah).

Hallgirl 2 had tubes in her ears and an adnoidectomy at about 2 years old after one ear infection after another. No problems with the surgery, and likewise with ear infections. (Matter of fact, she never had another ear infection after that surgery.)

Twelve years later, a new peditrician took one look down the back of her throat during a bout with a sore throat and exclaimed, “Oh, my, I’ve never seen tonsils that large!”. They were literally the size of golf balls. I have no clue how she managed to swallow food. After they were removed, gone was also the sleep apnea, the snoring, the constant sore throats, the “allergies” and a host of other problems that mysteriously disappeared after her tonsilectomy.

That’s a pretty strong reason to get them done now, actually. The surgery and recovery is far easier the younger you are.

My sister had ear tubes put in at the ages of about 14 and 16 (once in each ear), for fluid build-up which was causing hearing loss. No problems, and her hearing is fine now.

My son had to have general anesthesia and surgery three times before he was 3. (Two hydroceles and ear tubes.) (Don’t google hydrocele at work.) I definitely can understand your apprehensions, but, as a surgeon friend of ours is fond of saying, “Nothing heals like cold steel.” We had the tubes just for recurrent infections and everything went very well. If my son had been having hearing problems as well we would have been even more eager to get on with it, I think.

I have two sons with ear tubes. The elder got his at the age of 7 when he was doing very poorly in school. At home, I thought he was being obstinate, when actually he wan’t ignoring me, he just couldn’t hear. The same at school: he didn’t know what was going on, so off he went into his own dreamworld.

The younger got his tubes when he was only eight months old! Talk about trauma … for mommy! But he, like his older brother, did just fine. No more ear infections.

The actual surgery takes less than five minutes. They’re only under anesthesia for a few minutes. The hardest part with the baby was not nursing him through the night. With the older one, the hardest part was how cranky he was–the dishwasher was too loud! :smiley:

All three of my boys have had some sort of ear, nose, and throat surgery done.

My oldest had tubes put in his ears, and his tonsils and adenoids taken out, at age 6. This was after more than a year of chronic ear infection. He had fluid build up and a loss of hearing, too. The surgery itself lasted less than 1/2 an hour, and he was home from school for about a whole week. He continued through his younger years to have the occasional ear infection, but they cleared up much faster (and responded to antibiotics) once the tubes were in place.

My middle son had his tonsils and adenoids taken out at age 10. He had gone through 3 months of persistent tonsillitis and strep throat infections, and had lost almost 15 pounds because it hurt to eat. His tonsils were so large he couldn’t effectively swallow. The surgery was a little rougher on him, being older, but he hasn’t had anything more than a regular cold since we had it done over a year ago. His recovery time was about two weeks.

My youngest son had tubes put in his ear and adenoids removed about a year ago. He, too, had suffered recurrent ear infections. He was 3 when the procedure was done, and he had completely bounced back in about a day’s time. The entire surgery lasted about 15 minutes, and they let us go back to recovery before his anesthesia wore off, so that we would be the first people he saw.

I, too, was freaked out about the thought of SURGERY on my BABY! The first time. Then I saw how little trauma there really was, and how much better he felt. While I understand that there is always a danger of doctors becoming to willing to jump straight to surgery, that was never the case in any of my experiences.

Hope you little one is feeling better soon!

After our daughter had been on antibiotics for ear infections for most of 9 months, she had tubes put in at the age of 3. Piece of cake, and the infections went away. This was 23 years ago, so no ill effects.

They neglected to give her a sedative before the anesthesia, so when the anetheseologist (I think) picked her up to carry her into the operating room, she bit him. (He was a stranger, after all.) So I think it literally hurt him more than it hurt her. :slight_smile:

Our daughter had the tubes in first grade because she was having trouble hearing and the idiot teacher refused to let her change seats to the front.
It was simple and made things better right away.
Homeopathy? You might as well try voodo.

My son’s experience mirrors Czarcasm’s. It really is a simple operation and my son has been ear infection free ever since then (he’s now 6). I think I was more traumatized by it than he was.

My 17 month old son had tubes put in his ears and his adnoids removed last week. He had 7 or 8 ear infections in the last six months and snored like Darth Vader at night.

After the surgery, he was cranky for a couple of days so we gave him Tylenol. That also could have been because he had another tooth coming in. Either way, less than a week later, he’s fine.

I think his hearing is better because he’s also picked up a couple of new words in the last few days.

Of course, one of those words had to be, “NO!” :smack:

Like Greywolf, my wife and I were probably more traumatized by him having surgery than he was.

Thank you all so much for your replies! We have an appointment for a second opinion tomorrow, and assuming that this ENT agrees with the first, the surgery will be end of the month.

I’m now 44 years old, and have had tubes put into my left ear since I was 5 years old (It all started when I had my tonsils and adenoids removed). I’ve had COUNTLESS tubes placed in that damned ear! Something about how my eustachian tube is too short (That’s what my ENT says, anyway), and was causing the problem. Up until I was 16 years old, they would do it as an outpatient deal at the hospital. After that, the ENT would just do it in his office, with me wide awake and feeling every second of the pain. It’s not a comfortable thing to go through, and VERY not pleasant when you have an ear infection, with the eardrum bulging into the ear canal. I think my ENT is a sadist, but that’s not the point I’m getting at.

Anyway. I’ve lost most of my hearing in that ear, because of all the scar tissue on the eardrum.

My daughter’s doctor said she needed a tube put in when she was younger. I got a second opinion from an ENT (oddly, MY ENT), and he said that she really didn’t need it, gave her an Rx for some steroids and sent her on her way. She DID grow out of it!

Please get a second opinion…maybe even a third opinion, just to be sure! Hearing loss as a result of tubes over several years is NOT good. Trust me.

It sounds like your son is getting an early start on the Terrible Twos! Have fun… :wink:

Seriously, I’m glad he’s better. And the coming stage would be even worse if he was having constant ear infections, and couldn’t hear properly.