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Grommets - go private?

(9 Posts)
Nottigermum Mon 15-Oct-12 10:40:51

I wondered if anyone here have had grommets fitted privately for their child? DS has been having glue ear problems for 3 years now, on and off, and it's a real battle to get the treatment on the NHS. It takes weeks (if not months) for appointments, he has seen Ear Nose and throat specialist many times and I have found out today that he has been discharged because he has not had glue ear during the summer (!!!). I am desparate as he has a severe speech disorder and his speech has really gone downhill in the last few weeks and I am seeing GP in an hour to try to get another referal. Anyone knows how much it is and if it's worth going private for treatment? Many thanks!

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 15-Oct-12 10:59:05

You could, but it will be very expensive as it's a procedure under a general anaesthetic. Your son needs another hearing assessment, if he no longer has glue ear then grommets are not needed. You should go down the Speech and Language therapy route regardless.

ReallyTired Mon 15-Oct-12 11:04:49


Do you have a community paediatrian who can act an advocate. I think the fact that your ds has a speech disorder makes the case for him having grommets or paediatric hearing aids far stronger. Prehaps the ENT surgeon does not realise that your child has special needs that make being without good hearing more desperate.

Ds saw the community paediatrian every six months when he was a toddler. The community paediatrian was able to get ds bumped up the waiting list for grommets.

Nottigermum Mon 15-Oct-12 12:48:40

Lady, the thing is, like in most cases, his glue ear comes and goes. He is generally clear in the summer and it starts again with colder weather. He has been having speech therapy for 3 years now but if his hearing is up and down, we can't expect the treatments to work well when he has periods when he is not hearing.

Having said that, I have seen the GP this morning and she is refering him to audiologist and to ENT because the glue ear is back. I will have to wait a bit longer and see if the operation is recommended. I wouldn't push for him to have it done if he doesn't need it, as I know it would make no difference at all.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 15-Oct-12 14:22:17

How old is he now? Glue ear tends to sort itself out as a child grows. You can speed the ENT referral up by making a private appointment, then say that you want any investigations or treatment done on the NHS so all you're paying for is the initial consultation.

Nottigermum Mon 15-Oct-12 16:12:05

He is 5 and has been having glue ear on and off since he was 2 (it was detected when he was 2 but I think he had it before that, probably from about 18 months but we didn't notice it). First off he had nasal steroid drops at 2 years old and glue ears cleared up within weeks, but at that time he wasn't talking at all not even babbling and at 2.5 glue ear came back, this time it was a 'wait and see' approach.

It was noted on four occasions over the last two years at various appointments (audiologist, speech therapy department at the Nuffield hospital, ENT appointment) that he had 'mild bilateral conductive hearing loss with bilateral middle ear dysfunction' but it comes and goes, and when we go to ENT they always have a wait and see approach. THe issue here I think is that he does have a diagnosed speech disorder and if he cannot hear well, speech therapy doesn't have the optimum effect. If glue ear is present and there is always a wait and see approach and two-months waiting lists for appointments, chances are, he has long periods when he can't hear well and his speech will be affected. He is doing very well at school at the moment, probably because of all the work we do with him at home, but socially he really has problems playing with other kids. He can't 'follow' their play and join in.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 15-Oct-12 17:02:35

Glue ear can cause huge problems for children. Grommets do work incredibly well, but they also fall out after around 6 months. It's the Eustachian tube in the ear which is the problem; it's too small in younger children so doesn't drain the fluid from their ears. As the child grows, so does the tube (hence probably why it comes and goes). If his glue ear is mild, they could be waiting to see if it gets worse before treating him as it isn't severe enough for them to do anything. If he has a speech disorder as well, then I can see why you want something done. You need to ask them whether a children's hearing aid would benefit him more then an operation under a general anaesthetic which will have to be repeated.

Nottigermum Mon 15-Oct-12 17:20:42

That's great, thanks for that information.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 15-Oct-12 17:22:49

Not a problem. smile

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