Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dana at the ENT...Again...

I just wanted to fill you all in on Dana's trip to the ear, nose and throat specialist today. First, a quick background for anyone who doesn't know what I am talking about.

When Dana was at her 3-year check-up, she failed her hearing test. It wasn't that "raise your hand" test-it's the one they give newborns. So she went back a few weeks later to be retested and she failed again. Then they scheduled her with the ENT. He said she was full of fluid. The audiologist got a flat line on the tympanogram, which meant her eardrum wasn't vibrating at all, meaning she wasn't hearing. So he scheduled us for 3 weeks later for yet another test. And again she failed. And again he got the flat line. So he decided to put tubes in her ears, though she had only ever had one infection, way back when she was 2. So in July Dana got tubes put in, and the ENT said he scraped gunk out of her ears that was like rubber cement. Her speech improved dramatically, right away, so we thought all was well. So then last month she went for her 4-year exam and she passed in her right ear and failed in her left ear. So, with her whole history, the pediatrician scheduled her for the ENT again. Which brings us to today.

We learned 3 important things today. First, the right tube has dislodged and is trapped in her ear canal. It isn't blocking her eardrum, but it needs to come out. He tried to get it out with a tool that looked like a very long needle, but it is trapped by wax. Second, the left tube is blocked. Third, the audiologist did more tympanograms and then put her in a sound-proof booth for more tests, and she has no hearing loss! None! It's just those crazy tubes.

She has drops to use for the next few weeks, which will loosen up the tubes so they fall out. He wants them to fall out. That is the goal here.

The audiologist is sending her test info to a speech clinic, and they will call us so she can start speech therapy. The fact of the matter is, strangers should understand her 100% of the time, and I would say Kevin and I understand her about 80% of the time. Nobody should EVER have to ask her to repeat things, yet it happens constantly. Think about it though: that one and only ear infection happened right after she turned 2. The fluid never drained-it just condensed and eventually made her unable to really hear. So for about 15 months, during the time toddlers experience the most growth in their speech, she couldn't really hear. It was like she was under water. And that is how she speaks: it sounds muffled, not crisp, as if she is under water. Because she is speaking things the way she was hearing them. It still kills me that we didn't realize she wasn't hearing. Teacher Sarah at ECFE says she has heard of this happening to other families, too, and that parents don't realize the non-verbal cues they use to communicate, and that Dana relied on those other cues and got along pretty well. And I can see that, but I still feel awful.

Also, she speaks VERY LOUDLY. I am crossing my fingers that once her hearing is completely normal, she will tone things down.

It was a lot of great news today. We are so relieve she won't need another surgery, and SO, SO, SO relieved that she has no hearing loss. Yay for Dana!

1 comment:

Lizzie said...