Speech Delay and Ear Tubes

This past week I feel like I have gone from knowing virtually nothing about ear tubes, to gettinga crash course, and now we are scheduled for Charlie to get them this coming Friday.  For the last several months, we have been concerned that Charlie is speech delayed.  Compared to our other children at his age, we know there is a pretty significant difference in vocabulary and clarity of speech.  He is the third child, so I have always attributed the slight delay to the fact that maybe he hasn’t had as much one on one attention as the other two.

At two and a half years most of his speech is not well understood by other adults.  He is starting to put together a few words every now and then.  He likes to yell at the dogs “No, Homer, get down!” Most of what he says wouldn’t be understood by most, but I can still tell what he’s attempting to say.

Recently at his last well check, we discussed the speech concerns with his pediatrician.  After looking back at his charts, it came to our realization that he has had 3 ear infections in the last 6 months and had fluid in his ears at several other visits.  After a follow up appointment with an ENT, we decided that ear tubes would be the best solution to help relieve the fluid that is still present in his ears.

While at the ENT, the doctor suggested doing a hearing test on Charlie.  This means that we had to sit in a very small room with two speakers while they played different sounds out of the different speakers and watched to see if he would react to the sounds by looking at the appropriate speaker. Charlie was not having it and ended up screaming for most of the process but they were able to get enough results to determine that he has “temporary hearing loss.”

As a parent, I try to look back and see what I may have missed. How long has he had fluid in his ears? Has he really not been able to hear well his entire life? While feeling a bit anxious about the whole tubes thing, I am feeling pretty hopeful and excited to see how the tubes might improve his hearing and his speech.

As a kindergarten teacher, I often had to screen kids to see if they would be candidates for speech therapy at the school and as far as I am aware, Charlie could be eligible for speech therapy at public school as early as three.  If so, I am a total supporter of early intervention but I’m curious to see the potential improvements after tubes and then we can evaluate the need for speech therapy.

As we approach the upcoming procedure, I’m hopeful for a positive outcome.  I admit I will miss the cute way he says certain words and phrases, but excited for him to be able to hear more clearly.

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