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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.

Grommets...go private or wait for NHS treatment???

(50 Posts)
beebee82 Tue 04-Apr-17 16:58:31

My son 2.5yrs needs grommets and has been seen be a private ent consultant (as the referral was taking ages) who prescribed him a 6 week course of antibiotics to treat the glue ear to see if it could be manag d without surgery. While on this course of treatment he was seen by the NHS consultant- it was pretty clear the antibiotics were not helping so referred him for grommet surgery.
I've been told the wait for surgery is up to 12 months on the NHS 😬 He has a review with the private consultant coming up and I'm thinking of getting a bank loan and paying for the surgery privately.
Ha don't anyone had this privately for their child- how did you feel about the treatment, how much did it cost? Would you have waited for NHS surgery?

It is delaying his speech

Thanks x

soapboxqueen Tue 04-Apr-17 17:02:21

We went private but are covered by insurance so don't know really how much it was. We did it because it was faster than NHS but with the same doctors. Main downside was that we had an evening appointment so was a pain in the arse not letting him eat for most of the day.

Didn't have a massive benefit for him but we were borderline as to whether it would anyway.

Freezingwinter Wed 05-Apr-17 20:49:30

12 months is an awfully long time to wait eapecially if it is delaying his speech. A good starting point would be to speak to the ENT secretary and ask if you can be considered for cancellations. Can you also speak to the PALS department at the hospital? And ring around and get ideas of waiting lists for other hospitals?

Naty1 Wed 05-Apr-17 21:34:53

I think the grommets dont last that long maybe 6-18m?
So you could pay several times.
Have you tried otovent or ear popper? I would like to try these on dd1 but her drums have burst several times with ear infections so im nervous.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 05-Apr-17 21:43:16

Both my girls have had glue ear and get it every time they have a cold. They are then hard of hearing for up to 6 weeks afterwards.

Personally, from what I've learned about glue ear, some children are able to clear it themselves and as they grow older it gets better. Other children are not so lucky and don't seem able to clear it themselves. It's these children that grommets would help.

At 2.5yrs I would adopt a wait and see approach, until maybe he reaches school age. And if you are worried about his speech development I would also introduce makaton sign language to help with communication. We used it from 6mths old with both our girls and it really helped.

I'm not a medical person but even I know antibiotics are pretty useless for glue ear and him being so young, he's likely to be catching a fair few colds a year which will make the glue ear worse and leave him hard of hearing for long stretches but I really don't think you need to be worrying so much right now. They generally grow out of it as their ear canals grow larger and are better at draining the fluid.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 05-Apr-17 21:44:45

NATY1 please don't try the ear popper, you could cause lasting damage and ear infections are so painful, my ear drums have burst twice as a child and to this day I can remember the excruciating pain I was in. My mum recalls me hallucinating with the pain. I wouldn't mess with their little ears.

Witchend Wed 05-Apr-17 23:17:20

Didn't have to wait anything like that long for the NHS surgery for ds.
He's had them 3 times and the first time I think it was about 2-3 months waiting to see the consultant. Time from seeing the consultant to op was:
1. 1 month
2. 2 days
3. 3 weeks.

Do be aware with grommets that they aren't necessarily a quick fix. For some children (my ds) they are brilliant. But they don't solve everything and they come out eventually. Usually they're better over the summer with glue ear (even ds is usually fine now May through to September) and if you rush them through now, he may well have lost them by next Winter and need more in.
They say they hope the grommets will stay in 12 months, and ds' have lasted between 8 months and 18 months with around 12 months being typical. However I have known people whose dc have woken up the next morning with the grommet on the pillow-and there's nothing you can do about that.
I just wonder if you get a bank loan to pay for it and then that happens whether you will find it very difficult.

Crumbs1 Wed 05-Apr-17 23:26:39

Also be aware many independent hospitals are not set up to care for children in event of any problems. For children I'd go NHS every time.

beebee82 Thu 06-Apr-17 08:36:57

Thank you for your advice, I feel like if I don't do something then I'm not helping him with his speech or hearing and I just want to do what's best just not sure - I didn't realise they could fall out so quickly, maybechis glue war will improve over the warmer months? His speech is regressing -clarity not reduction of words- from around Nov/Dec last year perhaps it is related to colds for him? I'm constantly thinking and worrying that a 12 month wait time is so significant developmentally for him sigh

Naty1 Thu 06-Apr-17 14:27:28

I dont know for certain about the glue ear but dd1 had infections
oct 15 -mar 16
Dec16-mar 17 so far...
So for her it does seem to be seasonal.
However i have read some causes of ear infections like
second hand smoke
Allergies to milk etc which can cause reflux
Nursery as they get more germs
Siblings
Have also seen high blood sugar
And i suspect constipation to contribute./dehydration

Dd1 ear infections started at 3.3 just after potty training and was the first winter in nursery 2 days a week and had a new sibling. So unfortunately not much to be done there.

The ear popper should only pop their ears as should be happening anyway (i thought?). Doing what we do if you hold your nose and blow

ILookedintheWater Thu 06-Apr-17 14:34:22

Our local private hospital will not do surgery on children below a certain age, even though it's the same consultant at the local general who would do the proceduire for gromets, we had to wait it out until DC were old enough for the private hospital (first one) or got to the top of the list at the general hosp (second one).
As a parent, I was treated very kindly at the private hospital and given a put you up bed/breakfast in the morning: but I guess that's what the insurance pays for. The treatment/procedure itself was a similar experience between the 2 hospitals, I just slept in a chair/ bought my own food etc at the local general..

AllBraines Thu 06-Apr-17 14:42:53

We were in the exact same situation, my DS 2.5 had a 50% hearing loss from glue ear, we initially went private and had a private hearing test etc but when it came to booking the surgery they wouldn't operate privately on under 3s on the NHS, my lovely consultant rang somebody he knew in an NHS hospital and we were seen 2 weeks later, he then had surgery approximately 3 months later

Freezingwinter Thu 06-Apr-17 20:32:55

Has he had a hearing test??

You need to really really push for the grommets in my honest opinion. They aren't always a quick fix but usually do the trick! It's a relatively simple procedure. Kick up a fuss with your nhs and see how far you get? If it is affecting his speech I don't think you can afford to wait.

beebee82 Fri 07-Apr-17 07:34:58

He's had a number of hearing tests with an audiologist since January then was referred and to ENT by February-I took him to see a private consultant on the 28th Feb who did another hearing test and prescribed a 6 week course of antibiotics (which he still has a week left to take and are not clearing his ears unfortunately) while he's been on this medication he saw the NHS consultant and was referred for grommets, so has had regular hearing tests...they have all shown a mild-moderate hearing loss.
I don't know that to do for the best....I've called the hospital waiting list team a number of times and each time they've confirmed he's in the waiting list but so far down they cannot even give him a surgery date 😬 He's listed as available for short notice and cancellations but he's low on that list too!
I just feel really powerless to do anything.

Freezingwinter Fri 07-Apr-17 07:39:11

Ok, I think you should next contact the pals department and explain the situation and why it needs to be treated with urgency! It's not good for toddlers to be continually on antibiotics, if this can be avoided, it should be. Go to pals and see what they say?

beebee82 Fri 07-Apr-17 08:48:27

Thank you I handy thought of contacting PALS...roll on 9am so I can start my calls x

FellOutOfBed2wice Fri 07-Apr-17 08:55:34

Both me and my sister had glue ear and grommet surgery. Both also had to have the grommets removed surgically once polyps grew over them. They did less than bugger all for either of us. It's not a path I would recommend. We eventually grew out of our ear issues but a variety of (largely dairy free) diets helped us both in childhood.

AlmaMartyr Fri 07-Apr-17 08:57:44

My son had severe glue ear. He did have grommets on the NHS but was only a 6 week waiting list. He also had speech delay and if I had had to wait for a year, I would have gone private if I could have. The first set of grommets didn't do much for him, the second set were great. He's 7 soon and doing brilliantly now but is still needing to catch up with his peers due to the hearing loss.

I had my grommets privately as a child. My parents found out I was deaf when I was 7 and there was such a long waiting list and I was so deaf that they were privately straight away. It was a very simple procedure.

beebee82 Fri 07-Apr-17 09:02:04

...they open at 10am...

beebee82 Fri 07-Apr-17 09:04:41

I've been researching about dairy free diets due to his glue ear, do you think it really helped?

beebee82 Fri 07-Apr-17 09:06:33

Thank you for sharing, what was the difference between the first and second set of grommets? And what was the time between the two surgeries? X

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 07-Apr-17 09:11:14

For my child the hardest part was getting the ENT to agree to put him on the list for surgery. Once he was on it, it was 2-3 months before the actual op.

Form ds it was truly life changing.

Prior to the op on the NHS I paid for him to have private sessions with a really good speech and language therapist because they had a 2 year waiting list to even see one.

So maybe your money would be better spent on other therapies??

curvyfrog Fri 07-Apr-17 09:17:53

I don't know if this is relevant or appropriate but I feel I need to say it for what it's worth.

I am in my mid 40's. I had grommets as a child. From my mid 30's my hearing started to deteriorate. I now have significant hearing loss and haven't had ear infection since I was a small child. I'm facing a future lip reading and using hearing aids.

My consultant has examined me and says it's defiantly due to the scar tissue formed as a result of the grommets. I know every case is different, and there must be a high percentage of good outcomes.

I know if I were the parent I'd want to research every option and gather all the information I could.

Best wishes.

Naty1 Fri 07-Apr-17 09:52:56

Was he a colicky/refluxy baby?

beebee82 Fri 07-Apr-17 09:58:21

Not colicky, but he does often have a runny nose

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