If you are my friend on Facebook you may have heard about Jace and his ears. If not this will be new information.
About 6 months ago Corrie brought to my attention that she didn’t think Jace was hearing well. He wasn’t responding to his name, couldn’t seem to tell which direction sounds were coming from and would not startle when there was loud noises such as doors being shut. Of course then we started “testing” him all of the time. We asked the ladies at daycare and they too started to notice. We thought maybe he just had plugged ears and took him to his pediatrician. The doctor found nothing unusual in his ears. He didn’t even see fluid he said. He gave us a referral to go have Jace tested so we could figure out what was going on. Because of Jace’s age there is no one in the area that takes patients that young. The referral was for Children’s Hospital in Madera. When I called them in November to set up the appointment the earliest one they had available was in May! Um no if there is something wrong with my son we want to know now. Corrie made a few phone calls and we found out we could go to UCSF Children’s Hospital satellite location in Walnut Creek and they could see him in January.
We noticed in the time leading up to the appointment that sometimes his hearing would seem better and sometimes not as much. I wondered if he was just ignoring us or if the house was so busy with six people that he would just check out. Corrie consulted Dr. Google and that is never a good idea.
Walnut Creek is about an hour and a half away and our appointment time would put us driving over in the middle of commuter traffic AND there was going to be a major rain storm that morning. So we left 3.5 hours before the appointment time. They other 3 kids all stayed with grandparents so we didn’t have to take them out that early in the morning. Of course we ended up arriving way early but I was glad for that rather than having to stress not making it.
The facility was very nice and big. Jace’s appointment was with the audiology and speech department. After the standard check in and asking questions as to what we felt was wrong I took Jace into a sound proof room where he sat on my lap. They connected him to monitors with a plug in each ear. A woman sat in front of him to keep his attention. In the room next door where Corrie was sitting was the audiologist who was administering the test. She tested his hearing at difference decibles, sounds and calling his name. Each time he heard a noise in a certain ear he would look in that direction and would be rewarded with a screen that would show a cartoon. Then they would shut it off and the lady keeping his attention would get him to focus back on her. The test lasted all of about 20 minutes but of course as I was sitting there holding him unable to hear the noises myself I felt like it was taking forever and he was not looking different directions very often. When the test was complete and she came to discuss the results I was searching the audiologist and Corrie’s faces for some sign of how it went. They both however told Jace he did so good. The audiologist said she saw nothing wrong with his hearing. She then tested the pressure in both ears and was able to tell he had fluid in them. She let us know that what she thinks is happening is his ears fill with fluid and that causes him to not hear well and then when the fluid starts to drain he starts to hear better. Jace never shows any of the signs of ear infection such as fever, cranky, or ear tugging so that we know something is wrong and take him in to the doctor. She advised us to take him to his pediatrician and get an antibiotic for the fluid he has now. She wants to see Jace once more in May and will check things again. If there is still fluid then she will want to refer him to an ear, nose and throat specialist for possible tubes.
We left the appointment relieved there was nothing wrong with his hearing and made an appointment with his pediatrician for the next day to get some meds. Mason had tubes several times when he was younger. I know they work wonders so if that is what Jace ends up needing then we will not hesitate. We will though continue to hope that this just takes care of itself with the warmer weather and end to cold and flu season.