What you need to know about “tubes” before your child gets them.
by Rianna Poskin
(Image: My son and his Osteopath)
Our 2nd son wasn’t hearing very well and therefore not speaking very well. We had his hearing tested and he had a 30% hearing loss due to fluid that was build up in his ear.
This fluid was making his ear drum impossible to vibrate and therefore not able to work the way that it’s supposed to.
Our Ear Nose and Throat Specialist told us the only treatment is to have tubes put in.
As I’ve researched, this is NOT the only form of treatment!
Here’s a dumbed down explanation of what the tubes do and why they are recommended:
“Tympanostomy tubes, ventilation tubes, or PE [pressure equalization] tubes) are tiny tubes that are inserted through the ear drum and perform a number of functions:
- The tube prevents many ear infections by allowing air in the middle ear to exchange freely with the outside air this helps keep infection from coming to the ear.
- The exchange of proper air flow improves the pressure in the ear which causes a lot of the problems related to infections.
- When the tube is in place the fluid can drain on it’s own and air flow continues to exchange.
- Medication can administered directly to the site of the infection using antibiotic/steroid ear drops.
Why is this so common?
The child’s anatomy is often the problem.
When kids are smaller their head hasn’t developed completely yet and the angle of the “Eustacian tube” is more sideways then it is downward. This doesn’t let gravity naturally pull the fluid down to drain and therefore the fluid can build up created a breeding ground for bacteria which can cause infections.
There is an alternative to surgery!!!!! And it’s awesome!
Here’s what a child’s Eustacian tube looks like compared to an adult:
See the problem? It’s the anatomy! The kids head hasn’t elongated yet to allow for the fluid to drain down.
So what’s an alternative to surgery that helps with the anatomy?
Cranialsacral Therapy or Osteopathy:
Our head is composed of many bones which were not fused when we were born so that we could pass through the birth canal. (All mamas can be very thankful for this!)
When we reach approximately 2 years of age these bones fuse together.
Many doctors believe that this is a permanent fusion and that these bones can no longer move.
However, there is a medical practice that doesn’t believe this and its entire philosophy on healing is the ability to adjust these bones very slightly:
“Craniosacral therapy (CST) or cranial-sacral therapy, cranial osteopathy, are forms of bodywork or alternative therapy using therapeutic touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. A practitioner of cranial-sacral therapy may also apply light touches to a patient’s spine and pelvis.”
I asked our Osteopath and Cranaisacral Therapist: Ravi- Inder Soligo what adjustments he makes in order to relieve the pressure blocking the Eustacian Tube in order to open it up and allow for the fluid to drain again. He said 2 areas were important to look at
1. The Temporal Bone:
2. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ):
These 2 areas can be adjusted in order to make room for the anatomy of a child to slightly change.
After our son had tubes put in 2 times I wanted to look for an alternative to having to replace them every year.
The tubes get pushed out as the child grows and fall out on their own. Often parents won’t notice until an ear infection comes on again or a child starts losing their hearing again.
Until they are around 5-7 years of age the head development won’t change significantly enough to have the fluid drain naturally.
Our son had tubes put in 2 times. His first set went in just before his 2nd birthday. The second set went in a year later.
This cycle would continue to happen until his head develops completely.
The tubes are a temporary fix, not a solution.
How many sessions does a child need with Osteopathy in order to see results?
Our therapist said in most cases 1-2 treatments is enough to see huge improvements. (So long as you’re seeing a good therapist!)
After we had 2 treatments I mentioned to Ravi-Inder that our son had improvements but there was still hearing loss based on his hearing test.
Based on this he adjusted his treatment by working on the scar tissue on the Eustacian tube which was there because of the “tube” surgery.
Since then our son has been doing amazingly well.
He was just discharged from his Speech Pathology (which he needed because he wasn’t able to hear well enough to articulate his sounds properly).
He no longer asks us to repeat ourselves, he no longer asks us to turn up the radio volume, and he no longer speaks to us in a loud voice.
We continue to have routine check ups with our Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist and have routine hearing tests done.
This summer there won’t be a need to put ear plugs in and cover his head every time we go swimming or go to the splash pad.
He is a happier kid, a healthier kid and more loving kid.
If you are going down the surgery route try and boost your child’s immune system so they have a great chance of fighting off the infection and recovering well from surgery. Here’s my Immune Booster suggestion for kids.
If you choose to try Osteopathy or Cranio-Sacral Therapy…
I hope you have a Ravi-Inder in your life!