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Food For Thought Friday: Inside The Inner Ear

Yesterday, over at Keeping Her Cool, Colleen told the story of her boys’ inner ear complications, the impact on their hearing and communication development, and the dramatic results of doctor placed ear tubes (click HERE to read).

Though parents often assume that a need for tubes is solely a result of chronic ear infections, even one infection can cause a buildup of fluid. If that fluid is not released, hearing loss (and further, or prolonged, infection) can result. This is considered Eustachian tube dysfunction—there’s fluid in the middle ear that needs to drain, but it can’t get out.

The inability to hear properly impacts your baby’s ability to learn to speak and communicate and take in the world around her. What’s the remedy? Surgically inserted tubes.

The purpose of these surgically inserted tubes is to create a passage in the Eustachian tube so that any fluid that may collect (or has already collected) in the inner ear may drain out. When your child has a cold or other sinus infection, fluid collects behind the eardrum. The purpose of the Eustachian tube is to help drain that fluid out. But as mentioned above, when the Eustachian tube is not functioning properly, it may require a little surgical assistance.

An ENT performs the surgery and the child is completely “under.” During the procedure a small tube is inserted into the eardrum, which will then hold the passageway open and allow for the drainage of any fluid. Swelling and pressure decrease, air can flow freely, and your child is relieved of pain and impaired hearing. Your babe should be back to normal within a day following the procedure.

As Colleen mentions in her post, this can be life changing for a child who has been battling to hear the world around him. The ability to hear is vital to learning to communicate, interact, and learn.

If your child suffers from chronic ear infections or seems to suffer from hearing loss, check with your doctor to see if a blockage in the Eustachian tubes is to blame for the buildup of fluid in the inner ear. Once other treatment and prevention options have been exhausted, doctor placed ear tubes may be a solution.

To learn more about the procedure, ear infections, prevention, and treatment, visit The Dr. Sears Website—this article provides very helpful and understandable information that will help you to begin to wade through your options. HERE.

For diagrams of the procedure and the inner ear, check out this Pediatric ENT site.  HERE.

This article, brought to you by Welcome Baby Care, is for general information purposes only and should not be used in place of the medical advice and counsel of your pediatrician. Always check with your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s health and hearing.

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