This spring Ali and Andy made it 4 out of 4 of my kid having had tubes in their ears. Poor little Cara never had a well child visit that her ears were not infected. I figure she must have had ear infections all of the time, but she was so good that one would have never known. She got tubes at 18 months old and started speech therapy right after that. Caleb got his tubes at the same time. When I took them to the ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat Doctor) he told me that Caleb had fluid in his ears that needed to be removed and that he would need tubes even though he was 3.5. I didn't really understand at the time. I just trusted the ENT. Through my experience this spring I learned with fluid on the ear can really do.
Last winter Ali was terrible. She had one ear infection after another so this spring I took her to a different ENT. She needed tubes to relieve her from the infections, but as much as that to remove the thick fluid that had accumulated in her ear drums. She isn't speaking yet, and I am paranoid. I hope that speech comes soon. When I took her in for her post-op follow up visit I also took Caleb and Cara for the ENT to check their ears. Cara's tubes had fallen out and her ears don't have too much fluid so she was good, but Caleb's tubes were still in. At this point they really needed to be removed so that the hole can heal.
At the end of the appointment I was bragging how Andy was my child who had escaped the curse of bad ears. How he had never had an ear infection. The ENT listened and asked if he could take a look. He looked and asked if we could have his hearing tested. They did a test that showed the vibrations in the inner ear. It came out looking like this:
I know that something was wrong. The audiologist took the test four times using different tools and ear buds. The ENT wasn't at all surprised to see the results. He said that Andy's ears were full of fluid that needed to be removed. So there we have it, my child that never had any ear infections needed tubes so that he could hear normally. I believe in early intervention so I am grateful that the problem was caught even though it took my breath away that there was such an obvious problem. The most confusing part is that Andy's speech is normal. He has lots of words and can repeat almost any word. The ENT explained that the most critical age for hearing and speech development is 9-18 months. (The time that Cara probably couldn't hear much.) Andy's fluid may not have developed until after that.
Yesterday was the post-op visit for Caleb's tube removal and Andy's tubes. They tested Caleb's inner ear vibrations to be sure that everything had healed properly. This is what his chart looked like:
Caleb's ears are healing well so you can see the huge contrast in a "normal" graph compared to the vibrations in Andy's ears. So all of my kids have had tubes!