Ear Tube Surgery: My Daughter Couldn’t Hear!

Ear Tube Surgery: My Daughter Couldn't Hear!

My daughter had ear tube surgery because she couldn’t hear well. Not once, did I think that there was something wrong with her hearing. I’m sharing our story with you, so you don’t have to go through the same thing. Also, I’m sharing a book recommendation with you. That book helped my daughter to overcome her fear of surgery.

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Ear Tube Surgery: My Daughter Couldn’t Hear!

Her story started right after she was born…

After birth

The hospital I delivered Charlotte at conducted a hearing test right after she was born. And Charlotte didn’t pass it. I was SHOCKED!!! I don’t think I was ever that worried in my life. My husband was a complete mess. They ensured us it was common and that they will test her again.

She didn’t pass the hearing test yet again. The technician told us she may have fluids in her ears and they will retest.

Finally, after a day and a half of worrying… She passed her hearing test. Little did I know that it wasn’t over yet…

Her first year of life

Charlotte grew up quickly and started to say more and more words. Her first year was an incredible year and I remember being so relaxed about her development. I mean she started walking at 9 months. She had so many words at 12 months. Everything was great! Until…

It all went downhill

I remember it like it was yesterday! Around 18 months people started to ask me what Charlotte said. First, I thought it was because she’s young and bilingual. Then, I started to have difficulties understanding her myself.

My husband’s family repeatedly asked me what Charlotte said during family events and compared her to her (10 days older) cousin.

I remember one scenario when Charlotte walked up to her cousin’s grandfather and asked him something and he said “what?” twice and then she walked away with the saddest face I’ve ever seen. My poor baby!

Finally, I was told that sending her to preschool will help with her development. So, we did…

First parent-teacher conference

It took Charlotte about two months to get used to the preschool setting. She started making friends, but she never wanted to go to school. Charlotte never seemed excited about it!

Then, during our first parent-teacher conference her preschool teacher told us her articulation was “off.” I remember her saying “look how her jaw is moving.” Right in front of her! ;(

What was wrong with my baby girl?

The teacher, my husband, and I decided to consult the pediatrician -again- and may have her evaluated by a state program.

Furthermore, she became real quiet in school! It was heartbreaking.

Pediatrician appointment

Before she was evaluated we took her to the pediatrician to have her checked out. Everything looked great and they told us she will probably outgrow it.

However, they did say that articulation didn’t have anything to do with being bilingual. That it could be a physical problem.

We decided to have her evaluated by our state program and to take it from there.

I also want to mention that Charlotte never had an ear infection in her life, even up until today. Her pediatrician was never concerned because her language developed and she is bilingual after all.

Her evaluation

After we contacted the state about our concerns they came to our house with a licensed social worker and a speech-language pathologist.

They were terrific and Charlotte opened up to them quickly. I can highly recommend these programs! Especially since they are free and they come to your house, it is so convenient.

They concluded that she is above average smart and that she needs to learn to categorize her thoughts and slow down while talking. She does have a lot to say after all.

I was relieved because finally, someone saw the Charlotte I saw. This beautiful, smart girl who loves life and all the people in it. I felt like others labeled her as less smart because of her speech issues. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Furthermore, then they gave us a piece of advice that changed it all.

Get her ears checked again

We took her back to the pediatrician and they did a test to check if her eardrums would vibrate when exposed to a sound.

NOTHING. Straight lines. ;(

Kid’s who hear well have lines that go up and down, not like Charlotte’s who’s lines were flat.

ENT appointment

We scheduled an ENT (Ear, nose and throat doctor) appointment and they conducted a hearing test.

Once again, she failed a hearing test! She couldn’t hear soft tones that are very important for her language development. Because she had fluid behind her ears and they prevented her from hearing well. It turned out she was hearing like she was living under water.

To say the least, I was SHOCKED! Never did I feel like she couldn’t hear well. Nobody else ever noticed anything!

Preparation for Ear Tube Surgery

Charlotte ended up having ear tube surgery. The ear tubes allowed the fluids behind her ears to drain.

We prepared her for the ear tube surgery with the following book

Chris Gets Ear Tubes by Betty Pace

This book does an excellent job describing the procedure to children. Charlotte wasn’t scared because the book showed that the doctors and nurses would wear masks and that she would have to breathe into a mask. As well as, many other facts. Facts, that I had never thought of mentioning to her.

Book Recommendation. Describes the use of masks.

We arrived at the outpatient clinic early in the morning because Charlotte had to be fasting for the ear tube surgery. So, we made sure she ate a good dinner. We woke her up around 11 pm to use the bathroom and to drink some water.

The next morning, we let her sleep until it was time to leave the house. We drove her to the clinic dressed in Pajamas. We wanted to avoid our morning routine, so she wouldn’t think about breakfast. In the car, we gave her a new doll.

The healing doll was a big success, she loved it right away. She played with it on the way to the surgical center and didn’t think about breakfast. Overall, our plan worked great.

Ear Tube Surgery

At the clinic, the nurses changed her into a gown and she got prepped for surgery. Charlotte wasn’t scared thanks to the book.

Then, the anesthesiologist came in and told us about the anesthesia. He did an excellent job explaining it to Charlotte and he even made the mask smell like bubble gum.

Finally, they took Charlotte away for the procedure. She cried a little bit. But that was to expect.

The surgery itself was quick, 30 minutes.

When she woke up she was disoriented but we were prepared for that through stories of other parents and the book mentioned above.

However, every kid reacts differently to anesthesia. Charlotte cried and swung her arms around. Until she “really” woke up. Suddenly, she went “Hello Mama” like I just entered the room. Within 30 minutes she was her old self and ran and jumped around for the rest of the day. As you can see, it makes some kids jumpy.

Improvements after Ear Tube Surgery

We noticed that within a week that she was more sensitive to noises. The TV, radio, and traffic were too loud for her.

Also, public bathrooms scared her for the longest time, especially hand dryers.

Her articulation slowly improved…

Speech

Charlotte’s speech continuously improves. We noticed that everything she learned until the day of her surgery is still shaky at times. All the new words she learns she pronounces correctly.

Therefore, we will have her re-evaluated after talking to her new teacher -we switched schools-.

Her new teacher isn’t very concerned with her articulation at this point. More so, with the fact that Charlotte gets frustrated when people can’t understand her. She gets upset and says “nothing” and walks away.

Catch-up game

Charlotte will have to play the catch-up game for a little while longer until her speech is where it should be. But there is one thing that she learned and I’m so glad she did.

She learned to make friends by being kind. Instead, of fighting over toys she gives them to other kids with a big smile. Charlotte also learned to be silly to make others smile. That was her way of making friends and everybody loves her.

Feelings

Not being able to communicate made her more aware of others people’s feelings. She is such a sweet and kind person and I believe it’s because that was the only way for her to make friends.

The best part is that she continued it even now where she can talk to her friends.

Stand up for your kids

Now, you may think how did they not know that their kid didn’t hear well? Believe me, I asked this question to myself many times. Even after her ear tube surgery…

I remember talking to my mother about her articulation issues and she told me to make sure Charlotte can hear well. That day, I sat behind her and whispered her name. She turned around instantly. I remember thinking “great, she can hear it’s not that.”

That being said, I still blame myself! I should have followed up with the pediatrician about her articulation issues more often. And, I should have followed my gut feeling instead of listening to others who told me “she’s bilingual she’s fine.” I know they meant well, but she wasn’t okay.

As parents, we need to stand up for our children. And I promise you I will never make this mistake again.

In the end, we are our children’s biggest advocate.

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