Thursday, August 16, 2012

My baby's getting tubes in his ears

Before I had kids, I thought ear infections were inevitable, a rite of passage for new parents. I was wrong. The boy has had just one ear infection about four months ago. My one year old baby on the other hand, got his first ear infection within a week of his brother and has spent the majority of the time since then with an ear infection or on antibiotics to treat one.
myringotomy and tympanostomy
After five rounds of antibiotics, a ridiculous number of trips to our family doctor and two trips to the ear, nose and throat specialist at Children's Hospital, my baby is scheduled for surgery. Minor surgery, but surgery none the less. He will be recieving a myringotomy and tympanostomy tubes, or simply, 'tubes in his ears'.

Although it was common practice in the past, recurring ear infections on their own are no longer considered adequate justification for putting tubes in a child's ears. As a mother, its hard for me to imagine that neither my sons constant pain and discomfort, nor his inability to function, learn and grow to his full capacity are reason enough to perform a minor surgery that would fully prevent further ear infections for at least a year. 

I'll admit I was apprehensive going into the hearing test, the doctor told me explicitly that if there was hearing loss then we would have sufficient justification for the surgery. Emotionally it was strange to find myself hoping that the baby would actually demonstrate some level of hearing loss.
cool dude
He did in fact exhibit approximately 30% hearing loss, which they were able to confirm was a result of fluid in the inner ear. Much to my relief, the hearing loss is temporary and should return to normal once the tubes are in place and the fluid has drained. I recognize there are risks with surgery and putting a child under general anaesthesia, but my boy deserves to enjoy his young life and we feel the risks are well worth it.

We have just over a month until the surgery, now all I can do is hope he can make it that long without another ear infection. Sadly, it may be more realistic to hope for only one round of antibiotics.

Did your children suffer from ear infections?
Did you heal them holistically or with antibiotics?
Did your child need tubes in their ears?