My son and his ears… these two things bring me worry and concern. My son has a fluctuating conductive loss and it is frustrating beyond belief. Henry is 9 years old and this has been ongoing since he was 2. So 7 years of doctors, ENT’s and our audiologist. My son loves going to the audiologist and he does about 3 plus times a year.
Let me go way back. Henry didn’t talk when he was a toddler. He also didn’t babble. He was quiet and reserved. I started getting concerned he didn’t talk and the doctor jingled his keys and Henry turned so I was told, “He can hear but maybe speech therapy would be good”. Henry started speech therapy at 2.5. I still wasn’t convinced he could hear well but was told not to worry. I had tons of ear issues as a child and it turned into a moderate severe hearing loss so I was no dummy on this subject. I also happen to have a B.S. in Communicative Disorders so I have taken many audiology classes so pretty well versed. Finally a public nurse in our small town said to me, “your son can’t hear”. She referred us to an educational audiologist and sure enough a conductive loss. Tubes were put in and his tongue was also clipped at that time. Glue ear was discovered and his ears were cleaned out. His hearing did improve but it is this roller coaster we are riding.
A few years ago we noticed Henry was saying what all the time. Took him back in and the cycle continued. His hearing has dropped to a moderate loss. This time T tubes were recommended. These are a long term tube that are surgically removed when done. They don’t fall out and can cause a lot of damage so we really had to weigh the pros and the cons. This worked well for about 3 years.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Henry’s hearing has now dropped to a moderate loss again with the T tubes in. This loss is comparable to having foam earplugs in your ears all day. This was concerning and I could tell the audiologist was much more concerned this time and something had to be done and quickly. We saw the ENT and it was decided surgery would be done the following week. Henry had the old T tubes removed his middle ear scrapped out and new T tubes inserted. It was a simple and quick surgery. He was put under so there is still that risk of surgery. As simple as it is I have to admit I cried when he was taken back. Everything went well,and now we wait and heal. We will find out in a couple weeks if his hearing has improved and how much.
It is really hard for me to see my son go through this. I know there are much bigger trials in life but to him these are big. He comes home from school exhausted. Have you heard of listening fatigue? It is real and it is tough. Trying to hear and make since of conversation all day is taxing on the brain. He comes home crabby many days and I get the brunt of his frustrations. He loves school but it is hard and exhausting.
Now if Henry was found with a sensorineural hearing loss he would be given hearing aids and we could learn to deal and go on from there but instead I feel we are on this hamster wheel that just never seems to end. I pray that his hearing improved with these new T tubes but if not I would love to go to the next step and address the issue and go on.
I am a mother with hearing loss. I feel I can help him with these issues but I also know what it is like. I hate that he may have some of these feelings I have had. I have felt embarrassed, left out, not fitting in. I sure hope I can help him through these things.
School conferences were last week and we heard he needs to learn to self advocate for himself with his hearing. That is so hard to learn but will try to teach him every step of the way.
A mom can worry and there are always things that can worry you. This is just one thing that consumes my mind, but I am also consumed with pride for both of my children. They are kind, creative and loving. They are my heart.