Monday, September 17, 2012

No More Tubes

Theses things were in David's ears for almost 3 years!

As I mentioned in my last post, David had his tubes taken out of his ears last Monday morning.  We had his hearing tested last month and found out he has mild hearing loss.  However, since he is only 7, they said that mild hearing loss is significant.

Ever since David was a baby, he has had ear infection after ear infection.  He got his first set of tubes at 10 months.  The set above is his 4th set.  Each time they would put tubes in around Christmas, then they would fall out about 10 months later.  Then the ear infections would start again and would be constant until we put tubes in Christmas again.  After doing that cycle 3 times, our ear doc suggested putting in the T-tubes seen in the picture above.

"Regular" tubes look just like tiny pieces of a straw that they stick through the ear drum.  Your ear drum is essentially a piece of skin that is stretched across your inner ear that vibrates when sound waves hit it.  That's how you hear.  When you get sick - a cold, the flu, respiratory infection, etc. - fluid can build up behind your ear drum.  Most people have bodies that reabsorb the fluid when you start to get better.  If your body doesn't do that, the fluid remains back there and gets infected.  When a doctor puts tubes through the ear drum, they allow the fluid to drain out from behind the ear drum into the ear canal and out of the body.

"Regular" tubes are made to fall out within a year.  The hope is that little bodies will learn to get that fluid out on their own and they will outgrow the ear infections and the need for more tubes.

That wasn't the case for David.

T-tubes, as pictured above, are like a little straw with a flexible "T" on them.  That "T" goes behind the ear drum and keeps the tubes in the ear.  Since it is flexible, when it's time to take them out, the doctor just pulls on them a bit with a special pair of tweezers and they just pop right out of the ear.

I won't say it was completely painless to get them out because David's left ear hurt for about 15 minutes, but it wasn't too bad.  Now, it's a waiting game...wait for those holes in his ear drums to heal up, pray that they heal up on their own and don't need help, and retest his hearing to see if taking the tubes out helped.

Unfortunately, both ear infections and tubes can create scar tissue in the ear and can affect hearing.  The more scarred and thick the ear drum is the less it can vibrate.

Our prayer is that letting his ear drum heal up will allow his hearing to be restored.  But for now, he is very excited to show off his tubes to everyone who will listen.

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