Pediatric ENT

Our little ones need special care. There is a saying in medicine, “kids are NOT just little adults”!  LCENT physicians, audiologists, staff and facilities are equipped to treat all aspects of pediatric ears, noses and throats. We work closely with parents, pediatricians and of course the patient to ensure the best treatment for your special little one!

What are tubes anyway and who needs them?

Most of us have experienced an ear infection at some point in our lives. The most common symptoms include pain, pressure and hearing loss. An infection is an inflammation within the middle ear, this may even develop into “fluid” behind the eardrum. Children are at increased risk for these types of infection, but may not always be able to express what the problem is. They may have fever, tugging at their ears or become less responsive and irritable. Most infections will either clear on their own or can be treated with oral antibiotics. But when does something further need to be done? When do you see your ENT? And when do you consider “tube” placement?

Speech development is key in our younger years and chronic serous fluid, fluid that stays in the middle ear, can block the transmission of sound. If your child has chronic “fluid” in the ear, it is like he/she is wearing ear plugs all the time, while trying to develop new words and perfect pronunciation. As you can imagine, this can make learning a “new” language VERY challenging! When antibiotics and waiting have failed, “tubes” are a solution.

Other children, are able to “clear” the fluid, but have repeated infections overtime. This leads to increased pediatrician visits, increased oral antibiotic use, more time out of daycare (which translates to more time of mom and dad out of work), temporary decreased in hearing, and much more irritability for everyone involved! Again, “tubes” can be the solution.

If your child fits into one of these two categories it may be time to talk to your pediatrician about seeing an Otolaryngologist (ENT). Usually a hearing test will also be performed on your child during the initial work-up.

Now what exactly are these “tubes”? Simply put, they are vents that allow for any fluid to be removed from the middle ear, they allow for ventilation of the middle ear, and they allow for ear drops to be placed to the source of the infection. They allow for increased hearing, decreased pressure and pain, and a way to treat any further infections with ear drops and not usually needing oral antibiotics. “Tubes” are inserted through a hole made in the eardrum and stay there for about 6 months to 1 year. Usually, this is enough time for your child to “out grow” the ear infection stage. The procedure is one of the most common performed in the United States and is done with a mask anesthesia, only so that your little one holds still and does not have any discomfort. Otherwise, this is about a ten minute procedure that can improve your child’s hearing health and your mental wellbeing!

Watch this video to learn more about ear ventilation "tubes"!

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