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(37 Posts)
everexpandable Mon 01-Oct-12 10:59:44

I am currently on the waiting list for my 2.9ds to have grommets fitted. Has anyone else had any experiences of grommets? Nursery have mentioned he might need grommets and both hearing tests have come back below average. I've been told his speech may pick up as he's not saying a huge amount at the moment. I think I'm doing the right thing but I'm not sure.

chocjunkie Mon 01-Oct-12 11:38:17

DD had grommets twice. her hearing was down (pre grommets) and worse, she had ear infection after ear infection. ill non-stop. she had 8 x ear infections in the space of 6 months sad

the grommets worked like a treat for her. i was very worried about the surgery, mainly the general anesthetic. the procedure itself is really quick. the op just lasted 15 mins and we went home the same day.

chocjunkie Mon 01-Oct-12 11:39:36

just wanted to add - the grommets did not make a lot of difference speech wise but DD has autism and her lack of speech is related to her autism. but the grommets made a massive difference to her general well being (no fever and constant ear aches anymore).

jennycrofter Mon 01-Oct-12 11:42:55

Grommets were brilliant for us. The process took quite a while to go through, but that perhaps depends upon where you live. In the end we went private, because we were told the waiting list for the op was another 18months, and she was missing out on a lot at school.

I hope you get up the lists quicker, or can pay for it yourselves. We didn't have any problems though, and absolutely no regrets. They fell out themselves after a couple of years, band on schedule.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Oct-12 11:43:39

Grommets have a one in hundred chance of going seriously wrong. For 99% of children grommets dramatically improve hearing and its a life enchancing op.

I think ENT surgeons spend a lot of time with the 1% who are in dire straits after the op. Prehaps that why many ENT surgeons are reluctant to operate. Glue ear often clears up on its own.

Lot of children on the "waiting list" for grommets aren't actually on the true waiting list. The ENT surgeon is doing watchful waiting, but lacks the balls to tell the parents that he is not operating.

The community paediatrian decided that my son should have grommets and he waited 4 weeks to see the ENT surgeon and another 4 weeks for the op. Ds was being investiaged for autism and the community paediatrian wanted to rule out glue ear as being the cause of him having next to no speech.

everexpandable Mon 01-Oct-12 14:51:13

Thank you - it sounds like quite a positive thing to do. I think he would feel less frustrated and more focused if he could hear more clearly. Does it affect their involvement in swimming much?

ReallyTired Mon 01-Oct-12 14:54:22

" Does it affect their involvement in swimming much? "

You cannot take them swimming for the first 6 weeks. After that they can go swimming if they wear a swimming cap and water proof ear plugs.

Personally I don't think its worth the risk to your child's hearing of going swimming with grommets.

DeWe Mon 01-Oct-12 15:22:17

Really where do you get your info for 1% in dire straits after the op?

I've just read a couple of medical research papers, one of which is not advising grommets, and the risks are according to them are smaller. The only one even anywhere near 1% is "risk of perforation not healing", which they have to treat under another GA, but is perfectly treatable.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but it doesn't match what I've just read.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Oct-12 17:40:27

Our ENT consultant told me that 1% of children had problems. It was about 7 years ago. My poor son grommets came out after 6 weeks and he had a constant stream of pus. He got an ear infection in both ears that was completely and utterly anti biotic resistant. My son saw the ent consultant once every 4 weeks for nine months.

If your child is unlucky enough to have grommets go wrong, it is hideous. Grommets were a diaster for my son. However any operation however small carries a slight risk. Its like vaccines, or prescribing anti biotics or any other kind of medical intervention.

ENT surgeons don't like taking unnecessary risk with a child's ear drum. It is why they do watchful waiting.

everexpandable Mon 01-Oct-12 19:03:36 I'm more confused. DS can definately hear lots and can's just I don't want him to go through his important early years struggling unnecessarily. And he LOVES swimming. How do I explain that's got to stop? Has anyone used that grommet protector headband thingy in water?

amillionyears Mon 01-Oct-12 19:11:25

I dont know what the current risks are.

All I know is one of my sons had grommits put in 3 times,and everything went according to plan with each operation.
It got him through until aged about 7 or 8 when glue ear was no longer a problem.
His hearing will never be brilliant,but if you cannot hear at school properly,it is going to affect your childs education.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Oct-12 20:22:23

" And he LOVES swimming. How do I explain that's got to stop? Has anyone used that grommet protector headband thingy in water? "

I suppose a lot depends on how important swimming is to him. Which is more important the ablity to swim or the ablity to hear? As a minimum you cannot swim for 6 weeks after the op.

Grommets create a tiny hole in the ear drum and this allows the gunk in the ear to drain the euthstation tubes so the child can hear. The problem with swimming is the risk of infection. Swimming pools are not the cleanest of places and its not good for the ear to get water into the middle ear. Similarly you should use ear plugs when washing your child's hair.

I found that the headband thingy (ear bandit?) was useless. My son just took it off. A plastic swimming cap with ear plugs were more effective.

Putty buddies are good ear plugs.

SydneyB Mon 01-Oct-12 20:27:18

I can't recommend grommets highly enough! DS was just 3 when we had them fitted and he has been totally and utterly transformed. I really can't tell you how much. His confidence, his speech, just everything. I'll never forget the days after the operation when he kept asking what noises were - water dripping through trees, the wind blowing etc - heartbreaking to think he'd been missing out on all that essential background noise until then. They've now been in about 6 months and we've had no problems at all.
As far as swimming is concerned, it really is no biggie. Of course he's too small to really swim but when we were on holiday in the sea/paddling pools etc we got these brilliant headbands from to put over the earplugs.

SydneyB Mon 01-Oct-12 20:30:12

Oh and regarding 'watchful waiting'. We were extremely lucky to have DS on my DH's work medical insurance. The ENT surgeon implied that watchful waiting was a cost saving thing. If your LO has glue ear it's not just going to go away without any help at all - I mean, it will, with age but not otherwise. My advice would be not to leave it if at all possible.

SkiBumMum Mon 01-Oct-12 20:36:00

Watchful waiting is a cost thing. Grommets are currently on the NHS restricted list (according to our surgeon). Dd1 had them last week. Her hearing is improving but not miraculously. She seems happy she can hear in gymnastics and outside at school. She's almost 4.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Oct-12 20:45:17

No SydneyB you are wrong. Watchful waiting or using digital hearing aids are not just about saving money. Its about good medicine. Why put a child through an operation for a condition that is likely to clear up in three months, or if the child has decent hearing in one ear?

ENT surgeons are knowledgable people. Watchful waiting is not cheap if the child is seeing an audiologist and ENT surgeon every three months for a hearing test and examination. (ie. 20 minute hearing test, 15 minutes seeing consultant)

The private sector are more likely to do operations because it means extra money.

SydneyB Mon 01-Oct-12 20:55:07

Ok reallytired, I hadn't heard it put like that before. I can see that waiting 3 months or so makes sense to check that there really is a problem.
I do think that there is a bit of scaremongering about putting a child through an operation. It's not nice to see your LO go under a general anaesthetic but it's a very short operation, and for us anyway, there were no side effects or problems at all.
I guess I'm coming from a position of seeing DS completely transformed by the op and I find it frustrating seeing others not being able to access the same help!

amillionyears Mon 01-Oct-12 20:59:31

ReallyTired,how many people's children do actually clear up with the watchful waiting.
I'm guessing it is a small or very small number.
No one on here has heard of any I dont think.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Oct-12 21:16:19

I wish that parents could be given a booket to explain the logic behind the approach of watchful waiting. We were lucky in that the audiologist gave us a copy of ds audiogram and explained about the speech banana. (Ie. at what decimel level and the frequency of the main sounds of speech)

It was interesting as severity of the glue ear in one ear was worse than the other. I also realised why my son made certain spelling mistakes with phonics. (Ie. left out s's or mixed up b and v)

I feel that a speech assessment should form part of the watchful waiting process. A child with excellent speech is unlikely to have protracted glue ear.

A child with poor auditory perception is going to struggle more with glue ear. I think that any child with severe speech delay should be offered hearing aids while watchful waiting is done.

princelypurpleparrot Mon 01-Oct-12 21:18:21

I was really pleased that our ENT consultant decided against the watchful-waiting route as I knew that DS's hearing problems were causing issues with speech, concentration etc. The op was fine, home same day (just a few hours in hospital really) and his speech has really come on. DH had to have several sets of grommets and some studies show that glue ear runs in families. For this reason I was pretty sure that the glue ear wasn't going to clear up on it's own. His speech really came on after the op (he was 2 1/2 when he had it).

Re: swimming - When DS had his follow-up apt we were told that swimming was fine, no ear-plugs etc needed. It was hair washing that we needed to be wary about. We haven't been swimming that much since the op but we have been a few times and had no probs.

Pammym Mon 01-Oct-12 21:23:12

My DS had grommets aged 2.5 and it helped him loads. He was getting an ear infection just about every month and his hearing was affected. The op was fine, he was a bit groggy after the anaesthetic but completely back to normal the day after. After grommets his hearing was normal and although he still got ear infections, they were much less frequent and less severe. With regard to swimming, we were told that he could still swim but not dive under water. We did use a bandit and ear plugs for a while but that was my decision, the consultant didn't say we had to.

SydneyB Mon 01-Oct-12 21:27:26

Of course each case is different but all too often I have heard watchful waiting used as an excuse to do nothing for a good long while. It doesn't seem like that was the case with you reallytired. I know of kids in my older DD's Year 1 class who still have issues with glue ear and are still being 'watched waitfully (?)' and ok, they can talk ok, they are learning ok, but there are behavioural issues. As I said in my previous posts, it's also about the smaller things that kids are missing out on.
That's interesting about the swimming princelypurpleparrot - people seem to be told different things. We've just gone for an earplug route for anything involving water to be on the safe side.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Oct-12 21:35:35

This links shows that for pre school children glue usually goes away on its own accord within 3 months.

I didn't know that one in five two year olds have glue ear at any given time.

amillionyears Mon 01-Oct-12 22:16:26

I would have thought the 3 months would have already happened before you get to the specialist in most cases.
In my particular case,I could tell months before he ever had the operation that he had hearing problems.
And before operation 2 and 3,I could tell his hearing was detiorating again.
By the time you notice something,to the GPs appointment,to the hearing test or 2,to the specialist is already many months.Many months of potential delays in development.

girliefriend Mon 01-Oct-12 22:45:00

Hello I wrote a really long post and then the laptop went all wonky and it vanished <annoyed> but the jist was my dd has had 2 sets of grommits. The first were a great success, she was about 2.6yrs and it was a bit like a rebirth, think hearing the birds for the first time. Her speech and behaviour were greatly improved.

The second lot were complicated by lots of infections. The one on the right has now fallen out and the ear has subsequently perforated a few times sad I wouldn't want her to have any more as I think her drums are so damaged.

The swimming is a problem, even with the ear plugs she had loads of infections. In the end she stopped completely for about 8 months and recently we have just started going again. So far so good but it is always on my mind. Rather than a headband which I found to be useless as they don't keep any water out just the ear plugs in, I fashion a head band out of a swimming hat - the waterproof type one - I cut the top of them off!! That works much better, if you talc them makes it even eaiser to put on - we have it down to a fine art!!

Good luck and hope it goes well smile

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