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Glue Ear and treatment

(33 Posts)
AllAboardTheMilkTrain Tue 11-Mar-14 12:47:13

Hi all...

My LO is 23 months, diagnosed with Glue ear 4months ago (although I noticed his hearing wasn't great after his 1st birthday)

He has confirmed mild to moderate hearing loss. 2 ENT consultant have recommended grommets but Dad and I aren't keen.

We've been looking into the alternative treatment of hearing aids, although it's not actually a treatment but to help with his speech development as he current has only sounds, no clear words.

LO is also receiving treatment from an osteopath so we are hopeful this will help clear the glue ears itself.

My main call for help is around the hearings aids...can anyone offer any words/experience or advice as I've had no experience with them at all. I understand it may be a challenge getting LO to wear them but it terms of actually how they work, an are they suitable to use for glue ear??? I've had mixed advice from ENT consultants!!

Thanks so much

Quangle Tue 11-Mar-14 12:54:30

Grommets transformed my then two year old's life. I know this is not what you've asked but what puts you off grommets?

AllAboardTheMilkTrain Tue 11-Mar-14 12:57:20

Hi, mostly his age and if they would need doing again.

Also whilst his speech is delayed he is a very happy boy with very good understanding and social skills so I don't want to put him through surgery if we can aid his speech and communication in other ways. He doesn't seem to have any pain or discomfort from the glue ear smile

SixerofthePixies Tue 11-Mar-14 12:59:31

It's a 15 min op, my ds needed calpol just that day/night and made a huge difference to his speech. Inwouldn't hesitate to do it again

cestlavielife Tue 11-Mar-14 13:04:35

just get the grommets.

it is quick easy and makes a ton of difference

daft to go down route of hearing aids if the problem is glue ear which can easily be rectified with simple operation.

yes they might fall out but by then few years down the line you will have gone past crucial stage for speech development.

gamerchick Tue 11-Mar-14 13:06:27

Why on earth would you go down the path of hearing aids when grommets will do the job?

Seriously man.. get the grommets. It's a simple op.

Faverolles Tue 11-Mar-14 13:10:20

Osteopathy worked for my ds when he had glue ear, might be worth a try?

MandMand Tue 11-Mar-14 13:13:36

My daughter had grommets put in both ears when she was 2 and a half, it was a simple, straightforward op, not painful or traumatic for her at all. She still talks fondly of the day she went to the hospital, played in the playroom, had a little sleep in a bed on wheels and then woke up and ate lunch in bed on a tray ... It was all very exciting!

Once the grommets were in, her speech came on in leaps and bounds, and best of all, she stopped getting constant painful ear infections. They fell out naturally when she was four, her hearing is now perfect, and she hasn't needed any further interventions or speech therapy. Honestly, it's nothing to worry about.

MrsButty Tue 11-Mar-14 13:20:14

We went through a similar thing with my son when he was around 18 months.

For various reasons grommets weren't a good option for us. We saw a cranial osteopath for around a year. We also took him off all dairy - went onto goats milk and goats cheese. Took a couple of weeks to make a difference and we were really strict but with in a month his ears had cleared completely.

Don't rule out grommets completely though because every month that passes will put his speech back further, but we had to weigh up the dangers of a general against that.

I hope you manage to find a solution for your son.

MorphFan Tue 11-Mar-14 14:07:20

My son has worn hearing aids since he was about 10 weeks old - his deafness is caused by a mixed hearing loss. This means he has a permanent sensori-neural loss (his cochlear is irreversibly damaged) and he has intermittent overlying glue ear. As his glue ear fluctuates, and with time has become much less of a problem, he has never needed grommets (he is now 5).

I think I am right in saying that "over the ear" hearing aids cannot help with glue ear because the congestion is between the outer ear (where the hearing aid is) and the inner ear (where the cochlear etc is).
Have a look at the NDCS website (National Deaf Children's Society) where you will find loads of info and advice.

I would second the advice to cut down/avoid dairy products.

Also - the son of a friend of mine has just had grommets inserted. It was a very quick, easy procedure. He was home the same day and only off school for two days in total. He is already saying that he can hear more clearly. Not a pleasant experience, but a beneficial one, and worth not ruling out completely I would say.

Good luck!

MorphFan Tue 11-Mar-14 14:11:23

that should have said, not a pleasant experience for the mum! The boy had lots of fun "playing with loads of lego".

Quangle Tue 11-Mar-14 16:49:33

My son had his at exactly your son's age - not yet two. It was very simple. Like you I was worried about them needing to be done again and indeed they both fell out within 18 months but by that time his problem had been completely resolved. My son had glue ear just like your son but we had a slightly different problem as a result - not so much hearing loss though there was some - the main problem was utterly untreatable, recurring ear infections - 15 in one year. So I think the grommets served to dry out the site of the infection and once done it didn't need to be done again.

I was reluctant for him to be discharged from the care of the ENT as I thought he might need more sets but actually he's been fine.

But seconding the comments about dairy. Worth a try but if you get nowhere, I would do grommets again in a heartbeat.

AllAboardTheMilkTrain Tue 11-Mar-14 20:49:10

Thank you all so much for your input. It's been really helpful. Given us a lot more to think about and consider ahead Of our next appointment tomorrow :-)

henryhorrid Wed 12-Mar-14 07:59:25

We used hearing aids whilst waiting for grommet op to be redone so it does work for glue ear but we were told the hearing aids will not give as good hearing as you can get by correcting the glue ear. I would reiterate what everyone has said get the op done. It is a very short op and in our case with a 15 minute recovery time and not one tear or upset. Yes you can try to help glue ear in other ways but if you want to minimize the speech delays it is a quick solution. It may well not need redoing once your child has learn to speak correctly.

DeWe Wed 12-Mar-14 09:49:09

Ds is on his third set of grommets.
The first set (age 20 months) he went from constant ear infections (like new set of antibiotics every 10 days) to one in 18 months.
The second set he went from 8 ear drum perforations in 2 months to none in the next year.

We looked at hearing aids instead of his third set. But it wasn't suitable because he had a pressure misbalance in the ear(I was explained properly) so he really needed the grommets.

Quangle Wed 12-Mar-14 09:56:33

DeWe, we had exactly the same experience. In one year DS had 15 prescriptions for antibiotics. Even then I had to fight and fight to get grommets for my son because he was still under 2. Drs are always so keen to tell us we take too many antibiotics but then doled out antibiotics to my son literally every day for a year and still refused to do the op. Eventually I cried in the ENT's office and they finally relented.

He's now 4.5 and has not had one ear infection since the grommets, 2.5 years ago.

ReallyTired Wed 12-Mar-14 09:57:47

Grommets have about a 1 in 100 chance of going wrong. This is why ENT surgeons are sometimes reluctant to do grommets on young children because glue ear is a temporary problem. My son had glue ear and grommets were a disaster. The sheer amount of gunk pushed the grommets out within weeks and for nine months gunk just poured out of his ears. We were seeing the ENT consultant once a month until the holes closed up.

After that ds had hearing aids for glue ear for 18 months. Ds found that the hearing aids did help with his hearing, but they didn't remove the problem. For example hearing aids do not work well in noisy enviromenents. Ds used to turn his hearing aids off during child initated play during reception much to the annoyance of his teacher.

beautifulgirls Wed 12-Mar-14 11:05:29

DD1 had grommets when she was 2 and didn't require another set after those eventually fell out. She sailed through the op and it was only me who was stressed on the day! She had had persistent glue ear for over 9 months at the time she had them done.

homeappliance Wed 12-Mar-14 21:33:17

Hearing aids also have their limitations. They amplify ALL sound , not just speech so it can make it difficult for children who wear them to hear in background noise. Also, glue ear fluctuates, meaning that the child's hearing fluctuates and hearing aids don't adjust to these changes.

My son is about to have his second lot of grommets. He had his first set two years ago aged 21/2 years. The operation is only 15 minutes and in my opinion the benefit of having grommets far outweighs any negatives.

ReallyTired Wed 12-Mar-14 21:50:36

"My son is about to have his second lot of grommets. He had his first set two years ago aged 21/2 years. The operation is only 15 minutes and in my opinion the benefit of having grommets far outweighs any negatives."

The negatives only happen to 1 in 100 children. For most children its a sucessful op and the benefits are massive. I think that the risks of problems increases if grommets are repeated. Every time a child has a grommets op you are taking the risk of permament hearing loss. I think that ENT surgeons are wary of doing gommets as the get to see the children whose grommets go wrong far more than those who have no problems. The 1 in 100 children take up a lot of ENT consultant time.

Hearing aids are good if the ENT surgeon wants to do watchful waiting or if grommets are unsuitable. I agree that hearing aids have their limitations. They arent' designed to give a natural hearing experience, but to amplify the sound frequencies of speech. Hearing aids still work when glue ear fluates as its only speech freqencies which are amplified. Since glue ear only causes a mild hearing loss the amount of amplification will not damage the ear if the glue clears up.

Donki Wed 12-Mar-14 22:38:31

An alternative to hearing aids that some children find easier to wear than hearing aids is soft band BAHA.
They don't block the opening to the ear, which can be a problem for some children.

Madcat22 Thu 13-Mar-14 09:42:33

DS had glue ears and constant ear infections which caused him terrible pain - his right ear drum perforated it was so bad and leaked regularly. It was awful. He had grommets fitted aged 20 months. Operation was no big deal - in and out on the same day. His life was transformed overnight; no more pain or problems. They both fell out about 18 months ago and he's had no further problems at all since (fingers crossed). Even if he needed them fitted again, we would have had it done as it wasn't a bad procedure and very effective.

I'm sure you have your reasons but I'm wondering what benefits a hearing aid etc would have over the permanent resolution offered by grommets?

ReallyTired Thu 13-Mar-14 11:58:03

"I'm sure you have your reasons but I'm wondering what benefits a hearing aid etc would have over the permanent resolution offered by grommets?"

Grommets scar the ear drum. Sometimes the hole does not close up. For 1 in 100 children grommets are a disaster. The more times that grommets are inserted the greater the risk of permament hearing loss. Hearing aids have the advantage of no risks of anesthetic and its less evasive. If you opt for hearing aids then there is no period of "watchful waiting".

"An alternative to hearing aids that some children find easier to wear than hearing aids is soft band BAHA."

Do you know what soft band BAHA are. BAHA stands for bone anchored hearing aids.

I would be surprised if you could find an audiologist that would prescribe that for glue ear. They are really expensive and for children with severe conductive hearing loss. I know a child with a BAHA who has a deformed ear. He cannot wear a normal hearing aid. A bone anchored hearing aid would be a little extreme for what is a temporary hearing problem. There is no way that I would want a pin drilled into my son's skull.

Conventional digital hearing aids work well for glue ear. Children take a bit of time to get used to them, but its not that much of a problem. You can get some really funky designs. My son had Dr Who earmoulds made out of hypoallergenic material because he had ezcema.

Madcat22 Thu 13-Mar-14 15:51:28

I guess it depends upon how the problem manifests itself. My son's glue ears didn't affect his hearing but caused him pain. Hearing aids wouldn't have resolved that. Nonetheless, I would still opt for grommets every time as we had a very positive experience of their efficiency. I can't imagine many medical procedures are without risk in a tiny minority of cases. I suppose it's about weighing up all the information and making a decision on a case by case basis.

Donki Thu 13-Mar-14 20:01:02

Softband BAHA is NOT anchored to the skull by a pin but uses a soft band to hold the hearing aids in place.

They are expensive - but have been used in some cases for this purpose.

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