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what should I expect from the ENT visit (ear infections)?

My daughter is 17 months and the poor thing has her 3rd double ear infection in five weeks (her 9th one since her first which was less than a year ago). We FINALLY got a referral to the ENT... what's it like getting tubes? What's the procedure like, how did your kids react to it? Did you have to wait awhile to get it done? Do you have to do ear plugs for bathing? Did your kids still get ear infections? Thanks for any info.

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Asked by EmilySusan at 1:22 PM on Feb. 22, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 5 (79 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • My daughter had it done at 6 1/2 after 2 1/2 years of ear infections. Yes they made custom ear plugs for bathing. It was an out patient procedure meaning she was only in the hospital 3-4 hours. I hope someone with a younger child comes on with more information for you. And she didn't get anymore ear infections after that.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:39 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • I had ear tubes 4 times when I was little. The worst part for the kid is how scary it is with the gas mask and an unfamiliar environment; it helped me to have a special doll to take with me. The actual procedure is no big deal; they make a tiny little cut and stick the tube in, you can take her home with an hour or two of the surgery, relief is practically immediate, and after that day she'll be back to normal, and then the tubes fall out on their own after several months. For baths, I just used cotton balls in my ears and didn't immerse my head. Keep in mind that tubes only prevent ear infections while they're in place. Usually, the time it takes them to fall out gives the ear canal time to mature and angle so it's less likely for drainage to pool, but having had tubes doesn't decrease future risk. If it keeps happening, you'll have to discuss other options with the ENT, but she'll probably be fine after the tubes. :)

    Answer by DragonRiderMD at 1:44 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • my ds had it at 16 months and dd had it at 15 months. you go in and talk to the doctor, tell them what's wrong. then they make an appt for you to go get her tubes in. depending on the child, they'll give them a relaxer, (all it is is medicine, they'll give it to her oraly) then after a few minutes when she calms down they'll take her, give her the anesthetic, pop the tubes in, bring her in the recovery room, and within minutes she'll wake up, and they bring her back to you to bring her home. some docs have you dress her in hospital clothes, some say she can stay in her clothes, it's really up to the doc. if she's like my dd and is already relaxed and doesn't mind strangers taking her, they probly won't give her the relaxer. my dd didn't need it. it's a 15-20 minute thing. you're in and out of there in no time. just bring her fav doll or something. my dd didn't have anything, but ds needed his binky. (cont)

    Answer by armywife43 at 1:59 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • each kid reacts to the anesthetic different too. like my ds was tired all day and slept the whole day. my dd, however, was up and playing, you wouldn't have even known she had just had surgery that morning. bring a stroller in, if your dd reacts to it like my son, you're gonna want it. i didn't bring a stroller in with him, and he was falling off of me, i had him, his clothes, a diaper bag among other things. i was well prepared with dd lol. turns out you don't need much, just your ID, your dd, stroller, their "comfort toy", and a sippy cup of juice. (which is for after the procedure, sometimes it gets them thirsty, and it helps since they haven't eaten in a few hours) GL and remember it's not that bad.

    Answer by armywife43 at 2:04 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • Thanks for the info. I think my daughter would be more they type to need the relaxer -- she used to not mind strangers taking her, until she started having to go to the doctor every week or two and have her ears checked, washed out, anti-biotic shots,,, poor thing has "white coat syndrome" already. So I'm sure she'll hate every minute of it, but hopefully this will get us back into going to the doc exclusivley for well visits (like she did up until her 9 month appt!

    Answer by EmilySusan at 2:10 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • oh sorry forgot to answer your other questions. yes, dd and ds has had ear infections afterwards, when they get it, the fluid comes out of their ears, it's drainage. all you do is clean it, if it keeps draining after 2-3 days then you call the doctor for an appt. sometimes it clears up on it's own, sometimes it doesn't. they got the ear infections when we traveled though, when we travel we go through mountains, so unless you do that, i wouldn't worry about her getting more infections. when we don't travel we have no problems with them at all.
    as for the bath, the doc said as long as they're ears aren't in contact with dirty water too much then they should be fine. like if they're in the bath and you use a cup to rinse their hair out, or they like to dump water on their head, then use the plugs or try not to get it in their ears. but like in showers where the water is clean then it's not a problem.

    Answer by armywife43 at 2:10 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • My son had them at 8 months old. It was the longest/scariest ten minutes of my life waiting in the waiting room not knowing what was going on. But then the dr. came out and told us everything was fine and he was in recovery, relief flooded my face. The procedure seriously only takes 10 minutes. Then we stayed in recovery with him about an hour, he had to eat. Then we went home. Everything was fine, he didn't seem to be in any pain. They do make custom ear plugs but bc he was so little the dr suggested I use cotton balls coated with vaseline. LOVE that, we used them for years, even over the summer to go swimming. The only time he had an ear infection after the tubes was after a flight from NY to FL and back again. I do believe that using ear plugs helps though. If you have any other questions, let me know. It is scary when they are sooooo young.

    Answer by dolphinz1923 at 3:05 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • We had a good experience. My dd never got ear infections and she had to have tubes. She got tonsilitis a few times though so we think thats where it all started. My dd was six and she handled the surgery very well. She liked her doctor and she liked the nurses that helped her that morning of the surgery. The procedure was very short like 30-40 minutes and they gave her popscicles afterward. I dont let any water enter her ears just to be safe. She has not gotten any infections since. Her hearing is wonderful now.

    Your dd is little and you can think of something to comfort her during surgery. After the surgery you can make her plug her ears with her finger while you dump water over her hair. Make a game out of it. I wish you the best.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 3:08 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • my son has had this two times its vary easy and fast his ears were so bad that he couldn't hear u could clap ur hand behind him and he wouldnt even jump then a few min after the tube were in he heard the curtain in the room move i cryed bc it worked that fast i would so do the tubes it help out in so many way s

    Answer by breonnas_mom at 1:56 AM on Feb. 23, 2010

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