Can You Hear Me Now?

I recently took Charlotte to an ear–nose–throat (ENT) specialist for get some guidance on whether to put tubes in her ears. The ENT insisted that it was absolutely needed, along with the removal of her adenoid. I’ll spare you his reasoning, as tubes and adenectomies are one of those things that parents have weirdly strong opinions on and generally reflect that what they chose to do is the best thing to do. Yes, I know that general anesthesia is not risk-free. Yes, I know that some experts think adenectomies are performed too often. Yes, I know that Charlotte is close to the age when kids outgrow ear infections. The ENT is convinced something else—most likely her adenoid—is interfering in her nasal/ear area, and tubes alone won’t solve our problem. He explained why, and said, “If this were my child, this is what I’d do.” In short, we are not “rushing” to surgery. Trust me. We’ve been battling this for two years.

The kicker is that Charlotte’s speech development is significantly delayed. It has been established, verified, documented. She needs some help, and we will get that help for her. At the risk of making this into the most defensive post ever, I want to clarify that our case is not a matter of “all kids will talk in their own time.” Charlotte is a huge talker, but she has had infected ears or ears filled with fluid for the majority of her life. She can’t properly articulate words because she can’t properly hear. It’s that simple. And, as the ENT said, the longer we wait, the harder it will be to correct her speech.

Charlotte’s brain has gotten wired to the point that she thinks she knows how to pronounce words, so some short-term speech therapy is on the horizon, after the fluid is drained, the tubes are in, and her throat has healed.

We’re super lucky to have access to the health care and potential therapy our girl needs. We’re very optimistic that things will go well, and with clear ears and a bit of therapy, Charlotte will stop saying “ya-ya” for “outside” and “k” (just the “k” sound) for “milk."

A comprehensive hearing exam is scheduled for March 22. She’ll get cleared by her pediatrician for general anesthesia March 30. Surgeries are scheduled for April 5th.


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