Since the words sound distorted to the child, pronunciation of these words by the child will also be distorted. The extreme case of this distortion is the deaf child whose speech is very difficult to understand because the child does not hear at all. If a child has fluid for many months during the formative years, there may be noticeable mispronunciation which will require speech therapy. Identification of fluid in the middle ear is important, not only to prevent future speech problems, but to avoid permanent damage to the eardrum and the middle ear.
Other tests should be taken in addition to the hearing tests: impedance tympanometry, better known as a tympanogram, should be obtained to measure the movement of the eardrum when pressure is applied to it. When fluid is present in the middle ear, the motion of the eardrum will be markedly restricted. Sounds that would easily transmit are reduced in strength. As a comparison, when you strike a crystal glass gently with a spoon, you will hear a nice ring. If the glass is filled with water, the ring sounds much duller. This is precisely what happens when the middle ear is filled with fluid.
After the specialist confirms that fluid is present behind both eardrums, further medical treatment is often advised. This may consist of additional antibiotics, decongestants, and in some cases, nasal sprays. If fluid has been present for over 12 weeks, surgical drainage of the fluid is often indicated. The decision to perform surgery should be based on the response to medical treatment, the degree of hearing loss and the appearance of the eardum itself under the surgical microscope.
Surgery which drains fluid involves a small incision in the eardrum, so that the fluid can be gently removed and a tube can be inserted.
The procedure, medically termed a myringotomy and tubes, or tympanostomy and tubes, is performed on children under general anesthesia. Surgery is performed on an ambulatory or same day surgery basis. Within an hour or two after surgery, the child can be discharged home, to be followed up by a visit to the specialist in approximately one week.
In this section you'll find several of the Surgeries that you can take in Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic.
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