the past yr hes had numerous ear infections some double most just in the left side. it immediatly gets so bad it oozzes green slimy discharge that just seeps out of the ear canal. seeing an ENT soon. Hes allergic to 'cillon' antibiotics and omnicef and azithromicin dont seem to help. im nervous about him needing tubes. opinions matter... is there any better option to try first?
My son had ear "tubes" twice. With him, he had a 35 decible hearing loss due to fluid in his ear and the ENT said no amount of antibiotic would dry up that much fluid, tubes were the only answer. He had one set at age 5 and another set at age 11, then he kind of outgrew the problem. Eventually the eustacian tube changes and they dont get as many ear infections any longer. When your child goes to the ENT they will look in his ears and be able to tell how much fluid stays trapped in the middle ear. If the area constantly has fluid, they tend to get bacterial infections frequently and they need the tubes to drain it. I am a nurse and in my training I went through a rotation in the OR watching babies get tubes. (this was way before my boy needed them) so I already knew that when they do tubes they barely put them under. They do just enough anesthesia to keep them still for the few minutes it takes to do the procedure then the little one usually wakes as soon as they are finished. It is always scary when your child has to have anesthesia but it is safe. they do lots of tubes these days. Tubes look like teeny little "bobbins" like what goes into a sewing machine. They keep an opening in the eardrum so fluid can drain freely and pressure doesnt build up. When your baby gets an infection, fluid causes so much pressure that the eardrum bursts. Not only is this extremely painful but it scars the eardrum leading to possible permanent hearing damage. we were lucky with my son-his hearing went back to normal as soon as the tubes were done. If their ears are full of fluid, this is truly the best way to treat it. It is very unusual for them to need them a second time. The tubes fall out on their own as the child grows and the eardrum closes itself once they are out. The only thing to be very careful with is that not get their ears wet so they need to get custom ear plugs to swim and bathe.
Babies and young children are born with the eustachion tubes going sideways instead of downward to drain into the sinuses. Tubes are wonderful. Instead of your child having burst eardrums which make scar tissue, and affect his hearing for the rest of his life, they will just put in a tiny tube, so that the pressure is relieved and the infection can drain out rather than build up and again rupture his ear drums to cause scar tissue to form. IF he keeps getting more and more scar tissue, his ear drum will not form correctly, and he will have permanant hearing problems, if he doesn't already. You don't want the problems to get any worse. Scar tissue doesn't vibrate the way a normal eardrum does, thus the hearing problems.
The surgery is actually an outpatient procedure, and they don't put your child in deep anesthesia. Adults who need ear tubes have it done in the office without anything, except that children don't stay still so that the ENT can place the tube correctly.. That is the only reason that they do it while the child is asleep. The actual procedure takes less than five minutes, with the rest of the time for prep, putting baby to sleep, and waiting for baby to wake up. I understand how upset you are, as my baby had to have it done at a very young age. I understand the fear of anesthesia also. It is a safe procedure, and much better than your child continually having ear infections and not hearing language at such a vulnerable age. Good luck!
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