Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

November 16, 2013

TMoRP Day 19 – Grommets!

Filed under: family,fitter/happier,joey,the month of relentless positivity — Tags: , — lexifab @ 10:30 am

Number One Son, aka Internet-Pseudonym Joey, had day surgery a couple of weeks ago to implant grommets in his inner ear. A followup consultation this week confirmed that the operation was successful. So, that’s good.

His hearing’s always been a bit dodgy. Much of the time he has the usual childhood selective hearing, which is mysteriously deficient when it comes to being asked to pick up toys or stop setting fire to things, but often astonishingly acute whenever ice cream is mentioned. Sometimes though, he misses conversations even when he’s paying attention and/or not speaking at the same time as someone else (which admittedly is not very often. He is an unstoppable chatterbox).

We got worried enough about it to go through several rounds of audiometry testing, which showed that he has a slight hearing deficiency in certain registers. Nothing critical or with high potential to impact his learning capacity, but a little more serious than mere ongoing inconvenience.

His eustachian tubs, which should be dry and full of air to equalise pressure on the middle ear, are a bit on the soggy side. The grommets are basically just a tube to allow the passage of air to ventilate the middle ear, which should reduce fluid buildup and improve his hearing.

Presumably any hearing gains occur over some protracted period of time, because we certainly haven’t observed miraculous improvements in his attentiveness in the past couple of weeks. I theorise that he’s somewhat out of the habit of paying attention though, so patience and retraining are probably in order.

The annoying (i.e. non-positivity-related) element of all this is that for the year that the grommets will remain in place (they fall out of their own accord somewhere between nine and twelve months after emplacement), we need to be careful with swimming. He’s allowed to get water in his ears, so he can continue with his swimming lessons, but he’s not allowed to dive down to below one metre. The water pressure might affect the grommets.

In most kids learning to swim, this would be an intolerable restriction. Who doesn’t want to dive to the bottom and swim around underwater? But in this case it’s a problem for us, not him. He hates submerging his head, let alone duck-diving. If he’s told he has to dive to the bottom, he tends to panic.

So while we were making very slow progress towards getting him comfortable with swimming underwater, now we have to hold him back from that until as late as next summer. Not a big deal, but longer than I’d have hoped to delay his swimming progress. No doubt it’s very selfish of me, but I long for the day when I am able to get into a swimming pool with the kids and not have one or both of them hanging off my shoulders all the time.

Still, the grommets should help the hearing and reduce the risk of ear infections, so yay for modern surgical techniques, eh what?

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