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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Glue ear

(11 Posts)
Betty5313 Fri 02-Nov-12 17:09:18

Dd is now 2.9. She babbled on cue as a baby, then all of a sudden stopped after getting her first cold. The hv told us not to worry, to cut a long story short following speech delay and difficult to understand speech she was diagnosed with glue ear this time last year. Her hearing was below normal. By the time she was seen by the consultant in the spring some she'd had some hefty antibiotics for an ear infection that wouldn't shift. Within two days of starting the antibiotics it was like turning a switch, all of a sudden she was talking clearly and responding to music again. Her hearing had improved to borderline normal.

She started with the usual colds going back to preschool this term and hasn't really been clear of them since. She had often complained of her ears hurting but the gp hasn't found any evidence of infection. Her speech has massively deteriorated, close family have been struggling to understand her for a month or so and now I am struggling too. She has said she finds it difficult to hear me. She has never liked loud noises but is now complaining all the time.

We have a review with the consultant later this month. What are our chances of getting treatment for her? I really don't want her getting as angry and frustrated as she was last year at not being able to communicate.

Any words of wisdom much appreciated!

Littlemisspoorly Fri 02-Nov-12 17:54:16

Be a pushy mum if you're not happy. They used to put grommets in to drain the ear. Do they still?

Betty5313 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:57:15

They do put grommets in but seems to be a last resort, they do watch and wait for three months here before they consider it - by which time the winter colds have gone! But she cannot honestly be constantly ill all winter, every winter, just to save the nhs a bit of money.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 02-Nov-12 20:46:40

I suffered with Glue ear from the age of three to 11. My DD then suffered a very rare complication of glue ear at 5 months and had very little hearing till she was three. There are some very simple things you can do to help your DD, firstly ensuring that she is looking at your face when you are talking and secondly enunciating your words clearly and slowly.
I started this the afternoon after DD had her surgery and with these simple steps she had no speech delay at all even though for a large portion of the time she had virtually no hearing.
By enunciating clearly she can see the shapes your mouth makes and it helps her to develop her talking.

cathpip Fri 02-Nov-12 20:53:15

My son wears hearing aids and when he has a cold has an added 20decibel loss, so they like to do hearing tests out of "cold" season . I would push for a referal and look at grommets, constant ear infections and not being able to hear correctly is unacceptable. Check out a website called NDCS they have a lot of info on glue ear.

Betty5313 Sat 03-Nov-12 08:45:11

Thank you for the ndcs link, very helpful cathpip smile

Lonexatwithkitten - really good advice. My mum has a severe hearing impairment (registered disabled) so we are all used to that. I think the speech delay probably wasn't severe enough for a quick referral in the first place because of what we had been doing with her - we also used Makaton to help her communicate with mum. It was only because when she did speak she was speaking how mum once explained she heard that we really pressed for the first referral.

Has anyone's child had grommets? How long did it all take from seeing the consultant?

simpson Sat 03-Nov-12 22:25:07

My DS had grommets put in when he was 4 and he is now 7 and they are still in place smile

He had a couple of hearing tests done at the hospital (a few months apart) which showed his hearing was deteriorating and then was referred to see the consultant who on the very first appt booked him in for the op...

They were very keen to listen to what I said (ie his speech was getting worse, needing the tv on muxh louder etc)...

I did not need to be pushy at all, hopefully it will be the same for you!!

incywincyspideragain Sun 04-Nov-12 19:17:15

All 3 of my boys had grommets last year - ds2 had a second set in April.

I usually post this link to the NICE guidelines so you have an idea of how things should be (this was not our experience for ds1 so we went private for ds2 and 3)

Our local NHS audiology dept act as gate keepers, after you have done the 'watchful waiting' (for as long as they think is necessary hmm) they refer you to ENT, once we saw ENT it was 6 weeks for grommets - the difference in behaviour was profound - ds1 had no speech delay, ds2 was variable, ds3 is under SALT for unclear speech.

Mention her speech and the affect it is having this may help you get the help she needs quickly - some people of here have chosen to use hearing aids rather than have surgery so worth asking the consultant about them if you want to explore that option.

We've used complementary therapy to support ds's to - homeopathy for their immune system and complete change in diet (dairy free). Others have tried cranial oestopathy - I'd like to do this but its the cost for all 3 that means its not possible at the moment.

We did sing and sign with the boys from babies, I didn't realise how much it would help them when they had glue ear, its worth continuing. Thisguide has some good advice about communicating and worth passing on to nursery if your dd goes.

Finally the NCDS is a great resource

DeWe Sun 04-Nov-12 19:25:55

Ds has had grommets twice, the first time at 20 months, second at 3.6yo.

With ds, his consultant is very keen to hear about speech and behaviour, which are taken into consideration when discussing grommets. I am certain, as you say her speech has deteriorated, that if he thought grommets would help he would have them put in, and with high priority.

The second time ds had them in, the decision was taken on Wednesday and the grommets were in on Friday. (Because it was effecting his behaviour and hearing at pre-school). The first time it was about 4 weeks, because he was normal priority.
The wait for ds was the initial getting onto ENT's book, which was about 2-3 months.

Ds has suffered from almost constant infections until he had the first set of grommets. He does get recurrent (mild) pain in his ears even now without infections. Apparently that's not unusual, but ENT like to keep an eye on it anyway.

It's probably worth putting her down for speech therepy at the same time. If she has grommets she may not need it, but it can be up to a year waiting list for that round here, so better to get her on asap-you can always take her off if when the appointment comes through she doesn't need it.

drjohnsonscat Sun 04-Nov-12 21:19:25

I had to shout and scream to get grommets for my DS. He had chronic ear infections for 18 months and we had 17 prescriptions for antibiotics during that time. By the end we were just on a rolling antibiotic prescription. But because his hearing fluctuated (he failed 2 out of 3 hearing tests and in my area you have to fail all three to get grommets) he didn't qualify for the operation. This period of assessment at the hospital lasted probably six months during which time he had non-stop infections, poor hearing and delayed speech.

I literally cried and shouted at the hospital. They finally agreed and he had the op at just turned 2. It has turned our lives around. He has been drugs-free for over a year and his hearing and consequently his speech massively improved.

We just went for our third check-up appointment and one of the grommets has fallen out. I'm really annoyed it didn't last through one more winter. The second one will need to either come out naturally or be taken out within the next six months or so - apparently each set should only stay in for two years. So we are now back to watching and assessing. If he shows any signs of infections becoming chronic again I will insist on another set of grommets. The difference they have made to our lives has been massive.

Betty5313 Wed 07-Nov-12 11:34:13

That's awful that your son had to go through that drjohnsonscat. Thank you everyone for your input. We've decided to argue strongly that we have already done watchful waiting, another winter of pain and frustration for her really isn't on. We would ask for hearing aids but from what ive read that won't help with the pain caused by loud noise although if there is a long waiting list for grommets then it may be worth it to help with hearing in the meantime. Fingers crossed!

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