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Positive stories of improvement after grommets

(151 Posts)
user1468575728 Fri 15-Jul-16 11:00:34


Just over two weeks ago our son had grommets fitted. He is 2.5 years old and we think he has been suffering from bad glue ear for 9 months to a year. He was well behind with his speech, very poor socially and was always playing with his ears.

Since the grommets we have had some great progress. He is constantly babbling and saying new words all the time. For the first time ever he is repeating words that he hears and has started pointing at things like trees when we are out. He is also on the whole much happier, brighter and aware of what is going on around him.

The area we are keenest to see improvements in are his social skills. He has always been very social with his parents and people he knows but with strangers and other kids at nursery he would often act like they weren't there. This isn't surprising considering he has spend nearly 50% of his life living like he had his head under water. Since the grommets there have been some positive signs. He has started to play around other children more whereas before he would usually take himself off to a quiet corner. On a couple of occasions he has babbled to other children which again was unthinkable before the grommets.

So on the whole very positive and I wondered if anybody else has had similar experiences and how long it took before their child started to interact more with other children? We know it has only been 2 weeks and he has made a lot of progress. I admit we are guilty of hoping he will immediately catch up with his peers which isn't realistic. We need to be looking at this over the course of 3-6 months not 2 weeks.

It would be great to hear your positive stories and to help us manage our expectations.

MilesHuntsWig Fri 15-Jul-16 11:08:03

My DD had grommets a couple of days after her 4th birthday. We think her ears became bad later on so I had to fight for a hearing test as her speech was good and she hid a lot through understanding context. The hearing test results proved she really needed then though!

Her hearing is so much better, we're having to remind her not to shout still though! She says words correctly (she would often say things a bit wrong when she picked up new words previously). It was almost an instant change!

Only downside was she woke up quite a few nights in a row thinking someone was in her room - she could suddenly hear all the noise in the house she'd been dead to before!

Hope your little one carries on improving, definitely worth doing IMO.

Witchend Fri 15-Jul-16 20:07:18

When ds had his second set of grommets he announced "the leaves didn't crunch last autumn". I started to argue that they had but realised that was the difference in his hearing.

uhoh2016 Fri 15-Jul-16 21:28:00

My ds had them when he was around 4 the improvement in his speech was really quick. Also he's never had an ear infection since and that was 5 years ago. They've fallen out now and thankfully haven't fused back over again.

Hariboqueen1 Sat 16-Jul-16 22:06:47

Hiya my son had grommets fitted when he was 2.4 months. I think he had glue ear since he was 6 months old. He never babbled, wasn't very social, ignored other children, I even had concerns that he had autism. Now he is 3.4 years and is a perfectly happy social little boy. Before his grommets he had 10 words, now hes pretty much caught up maybe still a little bit behind he gets his sentences muddled up sometimes but hes missed so much in the first few years of life I think hes done amazing. I don't think he started being social for quite a while after his grommets. He moved up to his current nursery room at 2 years and 10 months and I think it was around then he started wanting to play with other children so it still might be another 6 months or so. Honestly don't worry he will catch up, its going to take time though he has to learn to listen and distinguish voices. My son would walk away from any children that wanted to play with him, I guess it was so much easier to play on his own without muffled noise, now he runs to nursery he cant wait to see his friends!

Icecreamsundaes Sat 16-Jul-16 22:25:43

Sorry I really don't mean to hijack but can I ask how you managed to get grommets? My little girl is 2.4 and I'm certain she's had persistent glue ear. I self referred her for speech therapy who have been talking about meeting with each health professional in one place (although nothing offered practical wise) and I managed to get the gp to refer her for a hearing test, two weeks before her latest ear infection leaked out of her ears it was so bad and they said they were confident she could hear, case closed.

She's as you all describe, but no clear words, almost silent majority of the time, I've thought autism in my down days and isn't social with anyone bar her brother. I'm sure it's her hearing on and off but I can't get any help whatsoever!

Hariboqueen1 Sat 16-Jul-16 23:00:43

I asked my gp to refer my little one for a hearing test at 15 months and 18 months but she never ended up doing it. I was too told that he could hear as he turned for noise but that has nothing to do with it. My son had no problem hearing, its just all the noise he heard was muffled completely. He even turned to his name when I said it as he learnt the muffled sound of my voice saying his name but he wouldnt turn to anyone else calling his name. It was like he was in tune to only my voice, he would rarely respond to anyone else. I finally got the gp to refer him, you need to make another appointment and say hes behind in speech and you want him to have a hearing test. It does sound like your little one has glue ear, especially since they had an ear infection mine didn't even have that, his ears looked clear when the gp looked in them. Only when he had his hearing test and glue ear check they found he had persistant glue ear in both ears and 40 decibel hearing loss. In the end I went private, I wasn't prepared to wait 6 months for grommets on the nhs. Because my little one had suffered since he was a tiny baby and he was so so behind I couldn't delay it any longer. He couldn't even say mama before his grommets. Good luck.

Hariboqueen1 Sat 16-Jul-16 23:05:48

my little one was silent most of the time too, everyone commented on what a quiet little thing he was. Crazy how different he is now. This morning I woke up too "did you have a nice sleep mummy?" smile

Msqueen33 Sat 16-Jul-16 23:11:36

We've had two hearing tests and the last one was satisfactory though they couldn't examine her ears. She has a lot of infections and is always poking in her ears. We've also wondered if she had a hearing issue but would glue ear have been missed at a hearing test?

Lemonwords Sat 16-Jul-16 23:16:26

Yes it can be missed. We were told at the hearing test his hearing was within normal range despite him failing to respond to most of it. ENT consultant then looked in his ears and said they were pretty much blocked up and he needed grommets.

To be honest this is one area I wouldn't mess with the NHS dithering about. If you can afford to go private and get it sorted. It's not a big operation and the different it can make is huge!

Icecreamsundaes Sun 17-Jul-16 09:29:43

Thanks for your replies, I'm going back to the gp first thing Monday and I'll have a look at going private. It's so worrying, she's making such little progress and close family are driving me crazy saying she'll get there in her own time/she just needs love etc.

She has so much love in her life and I'm playing and singing and talking to her constantly. She's such a bright little star (but very upset and frustrated at not being able to communicate, although she pulls me and points and puts her shoes on when she wants to go out etc) so it's literally just the hearing, she's had infections in the past, the leaking ear etc. The hearing test was 20 minutes and turning to noises too so that makes sense that she will have been hearing something if muffled.

Dh is very against private healthcare and also has his head in the sand as she's such a lovely little girl, he doesn't think there's anything wrong. Even if ds was talking in sentences at 1.6 years! He works 6 full days a week so isnt seeing her usual days and it's so hard, I feel like I'm constantly fighting for her against others who don't have a clue.

Thanks so much for your replies, feeling less alone!

Msqueen33 Sun 17-Jul-16 10:18:39

I find the NHS hearing test silly. My daughter was sat next to the computer that played Peppa when a noise came on and had toys in front of her to play with but I thought catching the light out the side of your eye would make you turn anyway. Plus they couldn't check anything proper in her ears as she hated being held onto. My husband doesn't like the idea of private due to the cost as I'm very tempted.

Icecream she sounds very much like my dd.

Icecreamsundaes Sun 17-Jul-16 11:48:41

Msqueen, that was my thoughts, the lights were making her turn and it was pot luck as she ended up turning both ways without any noise to see the lights! They also told me 'she could ignore for Britain' as she was so unresponsive to sound. That should have rung some alarm bells surely!

I've spoken to dh and he has agreed to go private if she needs grommets. I suspect it'll be a battle to prove she does though. Do I just ask for a more in depth hearing test and use my examples and her history for back up? I'm so out of my depth but so determined to get her what she needs. It's heartbreaking seeing her try so hard and get so frustrated sad

we've been offered a preschool outreach teacher to come to the house to help encourage her to talk after the new term starts. They all seem to think that bloody hearing test is conclusive and she can hear fine! All her ear infections should be evidence to the contrary surely. She has a developmental and medical appointment next week (they think she's 12 months behind in language just now) so although dh was against taking her I'm hoping to get them on side and look into her hearing, assuming that'll be part of it anyway?

I'm wary of them all tbh, in the salt assessment they wrote that she'll 'lash out' and plays with light switches and doors repeatedly, they really seem to have twisted my answers to their questions. I said she'll turn her light on if she gets up in the night, they asked if she can open and close doors and I said yes, totally different to their spin.

Msqueen33 Sun 17-Jul-16 12:02:17

I can't see how the tests can be conclusive. Just because she can hear doesn't mean she hears exactly as she should. I haven't a clue what to do next. We're waiting on seeing Ent as audiology referred us but it seems to be taking an age 😕

user1468575728 Mon 18-Jul-16 12:20:19

Hi all,

Thanks for all of your replies.

Hariboqueen1 your answer was exactly the reason I started this thread. The description of your son is almost exactly the same as ours. It was interesting you mentioned that he would respond to you calling his name but not to others because that is again the same as us.

We have now seen improvements on most days since his grommets and it's really useful to know that in your case it took up to 6 months before he learnt to be social with other children. As I said before this is the one area we most want to see improvements in so it will stop us going out of our minds if he doesn't show big improvements straight away.

Icecreamsundaes definitely go private. We persevered with the NHS but gave up in the end. There is a bias with them towards the "wait and see" approach. This is all very well but with us we felt they were pushing it too far. They are also far to concerned with getting data. I think maybe they have to justify every penny spent? In the end we took my son for four hearing tests and they never worked. Toddlers just aren't the right age for the tests especially not if they are immature because of hearing problems. The first few times they just said "sorry we can't get a useful test so come back and we'll try again when he's older" which really annoyed us because getting good test data and actually helping the child are completely different things. The one thing they did manage to confirm each time was that he had glue ear. Finally we got an appointment to see a consultant, but our son had his first good day in 9 months and so again we were told to come back in 3 months.

We booked a private appointment with Bmi Healthcare, had an appointment with a consultant the week after, he looked in my sons ears and confirmed straight away he still had glue ear and that it should have been dealt with sooner. Around three weeks to a month later he had the grommets and we haven't looked back since.

I am a big fan of the NHS and any care we have had from them has always been world class. But unfortunately in this case I feel they really let us down and it sounds like it is a common experience where glue ear is concerned. The health visitors around our area were also a bit of a problem. You could tell when we were speaking to them about our son that they were looking at him and thinking "oh he must be autistic" which sound similar to what you are experiencing with the light switch and doors question. Our son used to play a bit with socket switches. I think when they are basically living in a bubble they do tend to focus on things like that. He doesn't do anything like that anymore. By the way I'm sure there are plenty of health visitors out there who have excellent experience in this area and are really helpful. This is just the experience we had.

I hope this helps.

Artus Mon 18-Jul-16 13:01:53

Another person reporting very definite improvements after child had grommets, though this was some years ago. After repeated episodes of otitis media he showed significant hearing loss on tests. It was put the soldiers in the boat back in our day though! He had regular speech therapy and was beginning to show behavioural issues at school, as he could not hear the teachers instructions and was always the last to stop every activity.

He had the grommets at October half term and in January was discharged from speech therapy. The ear infections stopped and he has no issues with speech or hearing now.

user1468575728 Fri 05-Aug-16 11:37:28

Hi Hariboqueen1 (or anybody else), how well did you son play with you before and after the grommets? Our son has always been quite independent which I think has been exaggerated further by the grommets. He loves playing with his cars, trains etc and driving them around the house. He's now also taken more interest in his musical toys since I assume he can hear them properly for the first time. An area of concern for us has been that he will not often involve us in his play. Sometimes he will hand us his toy but usually he is happy getting on with things himself. This doesn't surprise me. When you think about what glue ear is it makes sense that a child with glue ear would act in this way and find it hard to focus on more than what they are doing at the time. Now his hearing is better he will have to unlearn this bad habit and learn good new outwardly social habits.

Did you have a similar experience and do you think we are again looking at a period of 6+ months where this should improve?

We are taking small steps. It's quite a battle and so it's good to hear from others who have been through the same thing.

Msqueen33 Fri 05-Aug-16 12:57:53

Interesting to hear about your little one responding to you saying his name but not others. My daughter is exactly the same. Engages with me and ignores others. She's always poking in and around her ears aswell. We're just waiting for our NHS appointment to come through but if it takes a lot longer I think we'll go private.

Has anyone found hearing tests via NHS aren't as thorough as privately. They couldn't look in my daughter's ears and didn't seem remotely bothered.

user1468575728 Fri 05-Aug-16 13:04:43

Hi Msqueen33. I think the tests are the same regardless of whether it is NHS or private. We found they just weren't suitable for our little boy because he wouldn't sit still long enough. After 5 tests and very little success we just went straight to the private consultant. They can look in the ears and tell quite quickly if the child has glue ear. I believe ear drums are supposed to be shiny looking but if the child has glue ear they are more stretched and dull looking.

Although I have to say we found a big difference in service when you are actually paying for something. You might find that if you went for a private hearing test.

We were very confident all along that he had a hearing problem. Trust your judgement. Poking the ears is a big tell tale sign.

Witchend Fri 05-Aug-16 17:19:34

They should do the puff of air test which shows glue ear.
It can be hard to see the ear drum if they're really stuffed up.

Ds found that the older test was much better, where they press the button. He was told to be a pilot and press the button when he heard a noise to drop the bomb. He loved it and did it much better than put the man in the bus, where he decided part way through to rearrange all the men instead.
They said he was young to try the pressing the button but in his case he found it more fun.

Msqueen33 Fri 05-Aug-16 18:14:50

Very interesting thank you. I was thinking if we paid we might get more of a service. It was me who took her and she didn't fancy having her ears looked in and the lady didn't seem too confused. She has a lot of ear infections and inflammation and pokes actually in the ear and round the tubes which was my concern.

She didn't have the puff of air in the ear either.

caroldecker Fri 05-Aug-16 18:46:19

OP - not sure any care we have had from them has always been world class is correct is it? They failed your son.
Not NHS bashing, but trying to be realistic.

user1468575728 Fri 05-Aug-16 21:13:58

Sure. Yes they did fail him on this occasion. What I meant to say was that before this experience the care we have had has been world class and I stand by that. We are where we are and I'm now more interested in people's experiences so we can know what to expect (and stay sane) while our little man hopefully begins to catch up with his peers and start behaving more his own age. At the moment he is a changed boy since the grommets. He has really come alive but he is still very delayed with his social and speech development. We do fall into the trap of expecting too much too soon which is why I started this thread so we could speak to people who had a similar experience with their child and are now further down the line and doing well.

Dontwantanicknamethanks Thu 11-Aug-16 20:33:07

Hi my son who is 20 months, had grommets put in 2 months ago. He also had an ABR test at the same time which measures the responsiveness of the brain to sound waves sent through the ear. Through that, it was judged that his hearing loss was approximately 20-30%,below normal. The impact of grommets was immediate, he was babbling more, and engaging with other babies and seemed much happier. He was however, always very happy! The difference with my son is that he has a very rare genetic disorder, and has physical and developmental delays because of it. As hearing loss is part of his condition, he has been tested regularly but because he was not responding to them developmentally (so, for example, preferred watching the tester throughout the test rather than the flashing toys!) they remained inconclusive. That is why we were given the ABR test. Apparently it is very hard to ascertain hearing loss at this age, so he will now be fitted with a bone conducting hearing aid, to see if that makes a difference. We were advised by our consultant that observation is the best way to judge hearing loss, and that parents are best placed to do so. So following the aid, if he shows even more improvement, then it is likely the hearing loss is permanent. Going back to the original question, yes it had an amazing effect on him (but he has had 2 ear infections since insertion), and we see small but regular improvements all the time.

Hariboqueen1 Sat 13-Aug-16 11:18:46

Yea my son was so independent honestly I was adamant something was wasn't right as he was too independent! My nephew is 6 months younger and he used to come over and show me toys constantly, hand me stuff all the time, constantly trying to get my attention and my son hardly did that at all! He never went through the giving toys to me stage. He pointed and had joint attention, but he just didn't do it that much and played on his own he never used to show me the toys he was playing with. I had to be the one to initiate interaction otherwise I wouldn't get any! He enjoyed it when we interacted, laughing smiling etc but he just didn't initiate it, I felt I always had to make the effort. I wish I hadn't of worried so much as looking back he was the most easiest baby in the world, I could have got so much done he could play on his own for hours.

I don't remember when things just started to change, as I stopped worrying and stopped taking notice of milestones etc. Hes still independent and easy compared to a lot of kids but his favourite thing in the world is playing with me. He loves trains always has done, he can play a good half hour/hour playing trains on his own, I love listening to him play all the trains have conversations and his imagination is so funny. His favourite thing is board games, I actually regret introducing them, we play snakes and ladders everyday. He asks me about 5 times a day to play it lol He loves snap, pairs, frustration, the shopping game. I found its a good way to learn counting and taking turns. Hes been playing snap and pairs since he was 2, I found it a good way of playing and interacting with him since he didn't ask for attention or invite me in his play.

I wouldn't say hes that independent now, example now hes on the trampoline and hes constantly asking me to come and watch. He will only go on it for a few minutes if no ones watching him. He likes to be where I am, if I go to my bedroom, 5 minutes later he'll come and see where I am. At the moment hes scared of his bedroom, (loud noises from flat upstairs) and he asks "mummy come bedroom with me I'm abit scared theres noises" so he wont go in there without me which is annoying!

Sorry Ive literally rambled on. Honestly just don't worry your little one will catch up.

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