Ear infections & ear tubes

Elizabeth - posted on 11/25/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My daughter has ear tubes. She's 29 months old. They've been in 11 months. I cannot seem understand all that's going on here. She complains of ear pain, does things (certain symptoms) that she only does with ear infections, her tubes drain. I treat with antibiotic drops for a week. We're good for a month or so. This time, both myself and her pediatrican believe her tubes are blocked. But her ENT claims there's no infection (despite drainage) and blames sleep problems and other ear only symptoms on all 4 of her 2 yr molars coming thru. Ideas to help her out!! We JUST finished a week of drops 2x a day and tubes still look blocked. We went less than a week w/o complaint of ear pain until tonight.

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Elizabeth - posted on 01/12/2010

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Well, her tube has been blocked for some time now. I was told that unless it's bothering her not to worry. Nearly 3 days of attitude and she finally says her ear hurts. I had her point to the ear that hurt - the one that is blocked. I checked after, it's still blocked. It's also the side that the molars are 100% thru. So - my choices tonight are ER visit or wait til morning. Since she just fell asleep, I'm waiting til morning trying to get a new ENT to see her between patients or something. I'd rather not take her back to the doc who blames everything on "molars".

Wendy - posted on 11/29/2009

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I do know how you all feel we have had several children with tubes and have done well with all but the last one. After having several children you know when something is wrong so we went to the Dr. , got tubes, and got worse. WE went back and forth with yuckie drainage and no sleep week after week for several months all we got was oh she's gonna be hard to treat huh antibiotib drops, oral antibiotics you name it . The drainage was so foul smelling it smelt as something had died in her ears it was the smell in her room her clothes our clothes from her head on your shoulder horrible. We finally went to another specialist who said it was her eczema then the pediatrician cultured it staph treated for it but it continued finally her Dr cultured again it was sudamonis a bad bacteria that needed some medicine we had never heard of this finally worked but for almost 6 months is crazy my main concern now is if this caused any damage or affected her hearing . You would think this day and time it would be much easier to get things done but it seems the Drs don't have the time just in and out.

HEATHER - posted on 11/25/2009

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I'm so happy that you are in Wisconsin!!! And no you are not being paraniod!!! I thought I was being that way too, until I found out there was something really wrong. The Ofloxacin drops are a type of Ciprodex drop. They work well too!! And no I don't think her ears have anything to do with her teeth!! (I have never heard that from any of ENT's, and I've been to about 5 of them) I do know that the tube from the ears to the throat needs to be at a 45 degree angle, and a lot of kids tubes aren't at that angle so fluid builds up there. They say childrens tubes will eventually get to that 45 degree angle after some growing, but what effects will the child have to endure before they get there??

In my opinion the 3-4 hour trip will be well worth it!! There is a wait to get in, we waited 3 months, but it was well worth the wait in the end. (The first visit is the longest wait, then they get you in when ever they need to, like we go back every 3-6 months).

Feel free to email me!! And good luck!!!

~Heather

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Jamie - posted on 01/15/2010

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Sounds like you are on the right track with getting a second opinion. As a nurse, I am a strong believer in the patient being the main "driver" in the care that they receive from physicians. When it comes to my kids I take them to a pediatric specialist. Specialists in general mostly deal with the adult population and not kids. When my son started getting chronic ear infections right before age one and ended up having his first set of tubes by 18 months. There were no pediatric ENT specialist in my immediate area. I was insistent that the doctor had to be a pediatric ENT. I ended up finding one in the next county. In addition, he was highly recommended by other moms and I have also recommended him to friend's of mine twice now. My son's tubes have been out since he was about 3. One fell out and the other was loose and taken out in the office. He has had a few ear infections since they have been out. About every 6 months or so. He just had one last Friday and this was one was the first that he has had copious amounts of bloody ear drainage. I myself am on the fence about considering having the tubes back in. What may work for one child doesn't always work for another. In addition, just like people have latex allergies your child's body may be reacting to the tubes in the ears. It is a "foreign" body in her ear and this may be the way her body is reacting to it. Good luck! I know it is definitely a hard decision to make when it comes to having your child go through surgery.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/13/2010

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New ENT said left ear is healthy and tube was out, but still in the ear. So he took that out while we were there. The right ear is healthy, but can't tell if tube is out, looks like it's still against the drum as it should be. Did some tests, determined the right tube is in fact blocked, but NOT infected. So, this means her change in behavior could just be a way of seeking attention. At least I know she's not infected ...

I am happy that I went to another ENT though. He spent a half an hour in the room with us going over everything, explaining and making sure I didn't have questions. He also said that after tubes were out and ears healed, if she had infections, he'd want to talk about a 2nd set. That it's possible, but not common. I mean, I left his office with more information than all the visits combined at the other place! And he spent more time with us than the other one did even the first consult prior to the tubes being put in! I feel relief now!

Misty - posted on 01/13/2010

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Ask around for your area for a new specialist. A second opinions never hurt anyone.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/26/2009

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Ok, so the ENT said to treat when drainage is noticed. I treat when she complains of ear pain for 24 hrs and/or I see drainage. This morning held no complaints about ears, she slept thru the night, and no behavioral issues. I have to wonder if some of it last night was almost 2 weeks of getting what she wanted (being rocked, etc) and was playing me for a fool. Or if she's just so tired yet that she slept thru it. It's hard when she can't fully vocalize.

I'm still going to see a different ENT. This current one doesn't seem to have time to sit down and go thru my concerns or explain things to me. We wait 2-3 weeks to see her, and get a 2 minute time slot. You know, a look in the ears and that's it. Even if I did have questions, she's out the door before I can ask. Hopefully I can get into this new guy within the next week or so, so she doesn't go too long w/o an ENT.

Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions and support. It's good to know that there are others out there.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/25/2009

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yes my mom just told me to tell u they are blocked and they will need to come out cause i had that problem 2 when i was little had the tubes in my ears twice when i was a little cause of all my ear infections she said those were the same symptoms that i had when my tubes were blocked the first time they had to take them out and put a new set back in then when they put tubes in my ears the second time she said they ended up being bloody so they had to take them out and they just left them out so they are definately blocked hope that helps u

Ries - posted on 11/25/2009

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Elizabeth, listen to your heart... get a new Dr if he is either not listening to you, or explaining stuff. my son was the same, his tubes blocked up several times with changes in behaviours and other sypmtoms..... but remember, when they drain, that is what the tubes are supposed to do, to prevent blockage and getting infection. not every discharge is infection. Has he/she explained this? it can be the regular fluid plus dead skin cells etc, which can make it look really mucky (it's basically snopt coming out the wrong spot). you are right to get her checked each time though in case it is infection. my guess is maybe when they are blocking up, your use of the drops is unblocking them... not because they are treating anything, but just because the drops are viscous. this then solves the block problem and you see drainage..

and no you are not paraniod... my son did not ever complain of pain, and our first symptom apart from the ruptures... (he had several before tubes went in) was speech abnormalities... not a delay, but it turned out that he was hearing some things and missing others in each word or sentance.. therefore a word would come out as he heard it... this is worth acting on. you need an audiology appt with an audiologist, who will send results to your dr. if there is some hearing loss occuring, you and he need to know. He will listen to you then!

Also. We had a second set of tubes as my son grew, and his adenoids removed at the same time. This is worth considering. These can be so big, they cause the back flow when they are sick so the nose will not drain....so now I have a snotty nosed child and a lot less ear infections! I also get a heads up when he is sick!

But having his eardrums rupture over 10 times, from non-symptomatic infections, he over the next two years became more and more hard of hearing as the drum is so scarred and does not vibrate. OurSurgeon decided more grommets would worsen the problem, and so he now has hearing aids and we have seen MAJOR improvement. our 'symptoms' of ear pain/blocks and potential infections from the static fluid, are behavioural and hard to pick to outsiders, so i think both you and your dr are right, but you are speaking different languages.

Do not let it get to the point where your child has hearing loss... and your last post described symptoms of some minor changes....but take heart also, she is very young, and the correct diagnosis when found will lead to the correct treatment. Follow your gut, as I did, but unfortunately my surgeon did not read our audiology report properly and we got aids a year later than identified they were needed. This was traumatic as that year, his non hearing behaviours were treated as problems in child care and by family members, and his speech delayed even further. But....I became quite pushy and so now our over-intelligent hearing impaired 5 year old, with bilateral aids, does not now have a speech defecit, and is starting school in Feb with all his peers...follow your gut/ your intuition, and find an audiology clinic...and don't wait as the other mums have said.. best of luck...

Elizabeth - posted on 11/25/2009

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Cheri - I've got one in mind if this waking at night doesn't resolve, along with blockage, by Friday. I just hope it clears up so we can go in for a well exam rather than a problem exam

Elizabeth - posted on 11/25/2009

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Quoting Angie:

My son's ears drained constantly when he had is ear tubes in, that is what they are supposed to do. They help to drain the ear until the eustacian (sp) tubes mature enough to drain them. If you have lost respect for this doctor, I would find another ENT.



See, the ENT told me that any drainage was a sign to treat with antibiotic drops

Cheri - posted on 11/25/2009

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GO GET A SECOND OPINION!!! Do some research on other ENT's in your area, so the next time she has drainage you know who to call for another opinion. Remember ear infections can cause problems with speech, my daughter is 10 and has been going to speech classes since she was 5 years old, we are just now getting close to her being able to pronounce all the sounds. If your ENT has issues with you getting another opinion, his are not the hands you need to be putting your daughters health in.

Angie - posted on 11/25/2009

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My son's ears drained constantly when he had is ear tubes in, that is what they are supposed to do. They help to drain the ear until the eustacian (sp) tubes mature enough to drain them. If you have lost respect for this doctor, I would find another ENT.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/25/2009

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Quoting HEATHER:

Also too, my daughter says that Vicks on a cotton ball, and I warm up a corn bag in the microwave (or a heating pad on low with a thick towel on top) makes her ears feel better when she lays on it. Just make sure it's low enough she doesn't get burned!!!!

And did you know...that the tubes are made of plastic....and the plastic holds bacteria that causes ear infections. Just a little FYI. We didn't know that either till we saw our specialist.

~ Heather



I'll have to remember that.  I've got a thing you can put in the microwave to help bodyaches that I can try with her.



I just found out the tubes are plastic and a friend of mine had really bad reaction to it, so that's also something I'm considering.



It's frustrating because I JUST finished a week of drops and 10 days of 2 hrs of sleep per nights only to start over.  Thanks for letting me vent!

Elizabeth - posted on 11/25/2009

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I have no respect for this ENT. She keeps blaming the drainage on teething. Yet my daughter has had 7 incedents of drainage. And she only does specific things when it's ear related. It took 12 infections in 12 months and my pushing for a referral to an ENT and this is what I get?! Grr ...

I have a standing order for Ofloxacin drops. The pediatrican on call told me to do 5 drops 2x a day for 10 days and if no improvement by Friday or Saturday to take her in to be seen.

I understand that teething equals more drool which equals more fluid in the tubes and each child is different in responding to the fluid, but my goodness. What is the likelyhood that 7x in 11 months it'd be teeth?!

My goal is to get another ENT in the area to see her (thru a different health system), from there I'll make a decision. I'm just glad to know there is a doc in Wisconsin that someone can recommend.

I'm in Green Bay, so Madison isn't too far. 3-4 hours.

I'm not being paranoid or anything, am I? I mean, she only does specific things when it's ears but I can't get her current ENT to even HEAR ME. I've noticed speech is off, but better than before tubes. Her hearing is OK. Hard to tell if toddler or from blockage. I'm just glad I have a whatchamawhosit (haha, there's a word! and my laugh after a rough start to the night) to see her tubes and keep an eye on them.

THANK YOU HEATHER!! I might just take you up on the email option too ...

HEATHER - posted on 11/25/2009

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Also too, my daughter says that Vicks on a cotton ball, and I warm up a corn bag in the microwave (or a heating pad on low with a thick towel on top) makes her ears feel better when she lays on it. Just make sure it's low enough she doesn't get burned!!!!



And did you know...that the tubes are made of plastic....and the plastic holds bacteria that causes ear infections. Just a little FYI. We didn't know that either till we saw our specialist.



~ Heather

HEATHER - posted on 11/25/2009

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My daughter is 5, she has had ear infections since the week she was born. She had tubes in at 8 months. When she was 2 she started perforating her ear drums because the infections where so bad. Her ear drums started bleeding 2-3 times a month.



We saw our ENT and they reusured us that she was fine and nothing was wrong. After fighting and fighting with them we went to UW Wisconsins Childrens Hospital/American Family Childrens Hospital. http://findadoctor.uwhealth.org/findadoc... (here is the site I found our doctor at). Go to pediactic specialist. His name is J. Scott McMurray at the UW American Family Childrens Hospital in Madison Wisconsin.



They found our daughter did not have eardrums and was borderline deaf. She will undergo surgeries to have skin grafts done to make her new eardrums. Please don't let your child wait like we did!! I can honestly say that 75% if the ENT's we saw, knew absolutley nothing!! Remember they told us our daughters ears were fine, and she didn't even have eardrums!!!



I don't know where you are from, but if you can get in to UW, I highly recommend it. Even Mayo clinic in Minnisota is wonderful. When making an appointment with anyone else tell them you want a specialist, not just an ENT doctor. And it was hard for us to say "we can't except your diagnosis, who can you refer us to" but for your daughters sake you need to do it!! I've been there!!!



I wish you and your daughter luck! If there is anything else I can help you with my email is ellefson@live.com. Feel free to contact me. Like I said I've been there and if there's any questions let me know.



ps: did they give you ciprodex?? that works the best!!!



~ Heather

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