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Glue ear / audiology test

(25 Posts)
MiniCooperLover Mon 11-Jan-16 16:00:47

Our 4.5 year old has been having SALT assistance for a couple of years, his nursery recommended it and he has a speech delay. He has picked up a lot but has struggled with school since September. His SALT lady suggested getting a referral for an audiology test.

So I went to GP, had to persuade her to refer him, she was very reluctant and said his ears seemed fine. I asked her to please could we do it anyway as the speech expert and now the Senco at school thought it necessary. So that was early Nov. I rang late Dec and was told 'we are very busy, we won't be able to see him until mid-late March'. We took him for a private test on Saturday and yes he has glue ear with hearing loss on both sides. Upsetting but ok not a huge surprise, now we know. I rang our local hosp today and even though he's had the test it's still mid-late march with them wanting him to do the test again, sigh.

Our hosp is great generally, I obviously had hoped getting him a private test might help to speed things up but sadly it doesn't seem to be the case. He's struggling in school, he's being put off the lessons I think because the classes have some great very confident 5/5.5 ear olds and I can imagine him sitting there struggling to hear sad.

Can anyone whose children have had grommets fitted tell me how long they had to wait after their consultant appt? I know every PCT is different and it's a 'how long is a piece of string' question but I'm just trying to get some idea. Thank you for persevering with me

Makinglists Mon 11-Jan-16 20:19:01

If I remember rightly it was about 6/8 weeks. Unless there are other factors here I think the standard process is you have two hearing tests three months apart and if they both show hearing loss then you get sent to ent and then they decide if grommets are the way to go. Ds2 is now waiting to have his second set of grommets and the ent doc said that it should be done within the next three months.

I am sure you have but do make sure you talk to school about his issues. DS2 is in foundation and I have had a long conversation with the teacher about his hearing loss so she is aware that he needs to sit near the front, to check his understanding of what is going on etc etc. I find having the ongoing dialogue with the teacher helpful as it provides useful info to feed back to the medics about the impact on his education.

Good luck

MiniCooperLover Mon 11-Jan-16 22:01:20

Thank you, that's all very helpful. Senco have been in touch from school with concerns about his attention (or lack of) and were making noise about asking the school nurse and educational psychologist to watch him which was quite upsetting, but I understood and appreciated their trying to take action so soon. If his hearing can be resolved and that helps to switch his attention on or improve his willingness to listen in what I imagine is a busy classroom then that can only be a good thing. Having already had meetings with school I definitely will be able to discuss that with the medics. Thanks again.

QueenoftheVerse Mon 11-Jan-16 22:04:04

I'm in Scotland so it might be a bit different here. My DS was around 4 when we started to notice he was struggling to hear. He was put on the waiting list for a hearing test and got an appointment through for March. Being the spring, his hearing was a bit better so was just on the "acceptable" level. Immediately nagged for another appointment and got one for 6 months time. This hearing test was just below average, but it was a mild Autumn so his hearing wasn't as bad as it had been.

Anyway, this went of until he turned 6 and went for yet another hearing test in the middle of winter and got a very below average result. I had an argument with the consultant and told him I wasn't leaving until he gave DS an appointment to get grommets fitted.

Best decision I've made, DS's hearing is brilliant now and he's caught up at school, hardly ever says "what?" And his confidence has grown a huge amount.

Stick with it and try and insist on a winter hearing test. Your DS will catch up once he gets the grommets fitted. Poor wee things, I really feel for them

WellyMummy Mon 11-Jan-16 22:18:36

I'm in Wales. DD was picked up in Hearing screening at school - should have been in Recption, but tests were late and done last term, first term of Year 1. Hospital test last month confirmed mild to moderate loss on one side. They will retest in 3 months. If loss persists I was advised that leads prefer that the loss is treated in audiology with hearing aids rather than with grommets.

She'd also had a hearing test at 3, which I was surprised she'd passed. SALT from 3 also, but discharged the day after the hospital hearing test. Lesson there, trust my gut instinct more.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

WidowWadman Mon 11-Jan-16 22:22:58

They're likely to want to repeat tests as severity of glue ear can fluctuate quite a bit, and they'd only do invasive treatment if persistent. I can understand it's frustrating, especially when you're experiencing speech issues, but it's surprising how a few weeks can make a difference.

MiniCooperLover Mon 11-Jan-16 22:32:15

Thank you all. I definitely don't want him to have an operation if not necessary, however I'm aware he's been having speech therapy a long time plus he's struggling so badly at school that hopefully something can be done for him in a reasonable length of time. I hate to see him so sad about going in when I know he could enjoy it if he could just hear and focus.

BrieAndChilli Mon 11-Jan-16 22:32:46

Ds2 had recurring burst eardrums from 5 months old, literally every couple of weeks from September to April each year, wasn't until he was 2 and 10 months and I insisted on a hearing test which he showed he had moderate to sever hearing loss that consultant agreed to for grommets . He ha the pre-op clinic appointment in the October but didn't actually get the operation until late March!!!
He has a speech delay and is now 5, having speeche therapy and has hearing loss in left ear due to a perforation the size of 40% of his eardrum that won't heal itself so have to wait until age 12 for an op to repair it. You do really have to push and stress how it's affecting his life.

MiniCooperLover Mon 11-Jan-16 22:33:50

Ah yes I forgot about his perforated ear drum, that happened when he was about 1.5. Sorry to drip feed confused

MiniCooperLover Mon 11-Jan-16 22:34:48

Your poor DS Brieandchilli, that must have been so tough on him and you.

HBSBeeches Tue 12-Jan-16 20:34:49

Hello! I'm after some advice. My child is 15 months old and caught a virus at nursery and led to a bad inner ear infection. She is happy in herself mostly and eating well, but has another nursery cold. She has finished the long term antibiotics approach but still has warm temperatures. They are talking grommets and I'm not sure - any advice?

Witchend Wed 13-Jan-16 13:12:45

I'm surprised SALT didn't send him immediately off for a hearing test. It's the first thing they check round here.

Ds has had grommets 3 times now.
#1 3-4 weeks wait between consultant appointment and having it done. He was 20 weeks old and had constant ear infections since he was 10 weeks old.
#2 next day! The grommets had come out 6 months earlier, and the last 12 weeks he'd had 8 burst ear drums (his heal quite quickly) Aged 3.6yo. They regarded him as urgent.
#3 aged 6.7yo, 2 weeks. Regarded as quite urgent as his ear drum was bulging.

Just a word of warning, they don't necessarily go straight into grommets. Some places require failing a certain number of hearing tests in a row. Some places prefer hearing aids, some places prefer a watch and wait. Probably worth taking a letter of concern from school and/or SALT with you. Ds is bad, so in that sense we've been "lucky" because it's been grommets asap each time, but others have been watching and waiting for 3 years plus.

HBS grommets after one ear infection would be unusual. I would go back to the doctor (assuming it's a doctor saying it, if it's nursery, then ignore them and ask the doctor) and ask exactly why grommets would be helpful. It may be that they feel that the ear drum is damaged and needs help, but on its own, even a bad inner ear infection should mean grommets are automatic. ENT tend to be reluctant, particularly at that age (ds was young at 20 months) so if they are recommending it, ask for an explanation and probably they do need it. However you can form your own opinion if you disagree with their explanation or ask for a second opinion.

swashbucklecheer Wed 13-Jan-16 13:15:54

I've had my ds at audiology on July 1st. He's been referred through to ENT as he has glue ear and hearing loss. We're still waiting for the appointment and I've been told it'll probably be April before we get one.

HumpheadWrasse Wed 13-Jan-16 13:22:06

When DS had his grommets in a couple of years ago the NHS policy with glue ear was 'watchful waiting', which meant ENT appointments 3 months apart for 9 months to see how the hearing loss fluctuated, before he was put on the waiting list for the grommet op.

blaeberry Wed 13-Jan-16 13:28:10

My ds had glue ear - he was referred by HV in June, was seen in September where they discovered glue ear, he was then seem again in November to see if it had improved. It hadn't and he got grommets in January. On the other hand both my dd also had episodes of glue ear that lasted about three months and cleared up spontaneously - once before the audiology appointment came through so they looked at me as though I was wasting their time. Because glue ear does often clear up by itself I think it is standard practice to repeat the test 2 to 3 months apart.

I also understand there is some debate about the long term benefits of grommets so there is increasing reluctance to offer them.

BrieAndChilli Wed 13-Jan-16 17:07:13

I'm very surprised that they are talking about grommet after 1 infection. DS had 20+ burst eardrums a year for a couple of years before they agreed on grommets.
Unfortunately for DS his left ear drum was retracted (sucked backwards into his head) so once the grommet fell out the hole got bigger rather than healing so has caused a longer lasting problem.

Isithalftermyet Wed 13-Jan-16 17:19:50

My little boy had this - speech delay, recurring ear infection, burst ear drum on at least one occasion. He had his hearing tested and was diagnosed with glue ear at about 18 months.

We were doing the watch and wait thing and decided that while we were waiting we might as well try whatever we could. We took DS for some cranial osteopathy and cut dairy out of his diet completely - so no cows milk, cheese etc. We gave him goats milk and goats cheese instead which he really liked.

By the time the next hearing test came around his ears had completely cleared and we could tell the difference from his behaviour too.

I know that a diet change like that isn't for everyone but for us it really did help. We kept him off dairy on and off for a couple of years. Apparently diary makes mucus in the body, hence the link with glue ear.

HBSBeeches Thu 14-Jan-16 15:36:09

Hello again! Thanks for the comments - really appreciated. We are private patients which I know is unusual. I had a couple of terrible experiences of the NHS and I lost trust a long time ago. Hoping I won't be judged here as I know the NHS works so well for most.

My child has had a constant ear infection since Sept which can only be controlled but not cured at the moment by antibiotics. Her ears have improved but it is still there. Both ears were very red when we started and with fluid bulging in both drums. The ENT was supportive of long term, low level antibiotics which stopped last week. He told us to go back after a month of taking them to be reviewed.

Unfortunately, my little one had another nursery cold when she stopped taking them so faced with another 40 temp, I returned to the GP this week and laid some cards on the table. I said that I wanted to avoid surgery if at all possible and I wanted a hearing test.

I also said that grommets are a grey area meaning that it is individual medical opinion as to whether to go ahead and have them, especially given her age. He was his usual brilliant self and said he entirely agreed so we're visiting him each week for a few weeks to keep those ears under review.

I feel such an idiot for not taking advice about stopping the low level antibiotics when my DD had a cold! But it was only when I could see the temperatures climbing that I thought I should do some more research, and found this thread.

I'd be very grateful to hear from anyone who has had this problem at this sort of age.

It feels like there is a choice between having the fluid drained and grommets or low level antibiotics at the moment. The temperatures just climb out of control if she's not on the antibiotics.

Thanks again.

SexDrugsAndSausageRoll Tue 19-Jan-16 09:55:06

My dd had a moderate bilateral loss from glue ear (ie not really hearing hardly any speech), but was refused grommets because she's never had an infection so not 'affected' by it. She's obviously needs to hear though even though ENT won't get involved so after a year or so of the same loss audiology provided hearing aids. She has finally begun to talk rather than babble with them, have hearing aids as a back up plan if it's really an issue. We only waited 6 weeks for the aids, but a year for an appointment with ENT (where they said no anyway). I'm so glad she got aids. Her glue ear has never fluctuated nor shown up as acute infection or even through looking in er ears, only through the test where they blow air at the eardrums to measure the stiffness and because with bone conduction she ears so it's not a sensory loss.

blaeberry Tue 19-Jan-16 13:59:40

Beeches if it is any consolation antibiotics would have had no affect on a cold. Colds are caused by viruses which aren't effected by antibiotics.

Inkymess Thu 21-Jan-16 23:14:48

We have one DC with permanently perforated eardrums from repeated infections from age 1-3. Very mild hearing loss as a result. We were fobbed off a lot by a poor GP in the early stages and swabs not always then to ensure correct drugs for the infections. Infections and gunky ears went on for months.
There is now scar tissue preventing holes from healing.
When DC 2 stated the same issues, we were straight onto it. Low level antibiotics through winter have saved DC2 from the same issue.
Read up a lot in the subject as not all GPs really know the issues inside out.

blaeberry Fri 22-Jan-16 09:58:14

Ok, I have read up a bit now. It seems that antibiotics are now not recommended in most cases for otitis media as systematic reviews and meta analysis of RCTs have found no benefit in most cases (Exceptions under 2s). UK recommendations are that prophylactic antibiotics for chronic or recurring otitis media should not be provided in primary care although they maybe considered by a specialist (American and Canada say not to use them).

I am sorry your dc has such problems. I have a friend whose dc have similar problems and it wasn't fun for them and had lots of ENAt appointments - one of the wears a hearing aid occasionally. They also all wear specialist ear plugs in the baths/shower and when swimming which apparently helped cut down on infection.

Inkymess Fri 22-Jan-16 23:47:25

In our case DC2 had loads of infections until low level antibiotics on repeat prescribed. None since. No glue ear now and no perforated ear drums anymore.
DC1 has hospital moulded ear plugs and swims every week with no issues. They are easy to use and stop issues re infection.
As DC1 is on radar of ENT team I can book a hearing test whenever I want, direct with hospital - and get appt within 2 weeks. We had a concern recently and were checked out within days.
In reality day to day it's not an issue now

Naty1 Sat 23-Jan-16 22:01:19

Dd had double perforated ear drums in december. 1 has healed with scarring and the other couldnt be seen due to wax.
She has been saying 'what' a lot. But hard to tell as her behaviour is sometimes bad.
She had had ongoing off on high temps since oct.
I feel for those of you with dc with this repeatedly as its nasty and the pain even with medicine.
The gp checked her ears both times a week before they burst so couldnt see any bulging.
As she is 3.6 now i really hope this doesnt happen again. As it does seem like they dont treat older kids with AB straight away when syspecting an ear infection

Out of interest do you avoid letting them drink lying down?

Inkymess Sat 23-Jan-16 23:29:16

Never heard anything about not drinking lying down sorry. Mine are now school age

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