Thursday, February 19, 2015

Can you hear me now?

This girl.  We love her so much, but sometimes it is very hard to get her attention, especially if she is reading.  "Charlotte, CHARLOTTE, Earth to Charlotte!!" This has frustrated Rob and I for years now. And has been pointed out by her school teachers as well.  So much so, that at every annual check-up I tell the doctor, "we don't think she can hear us very well."  She has often had ear infections without other symptoms and we worried that this has permanently damaged her hearing. They have always reassured me that her hearing was fine... until her last check-up. 

I reiterated our concern to our new pediatrician and he said her hearing test was "not perfect" and recommended a more detailed hearing test.  At Charlotte's second hearing test, she showed significant hearing loss in her right ear (up to 60 db at some frequencies,) and a little bit in her left ear as well (up to 30 db at some frequencies.)  At this point the pediatrician referred us to a pediatric hearing specialist.  This was actually a relief to us because it was like, "finally, someone has listened to our concerns and validated them!"

On Tuesday I took Charlotte to this appointment where her hearing was tested for more than two hours. It was exceedingly long and boring, and we saw an audiologist, speech therapist, and finally the doctor.  (It should be noted that this was at the end of Fasching- the German version of Mardi Gras- and the doctor was wearing a giant yellow bow in her hair to be festive.) Her FINAL diagnosis was that Charlotte suffers from frequent ear infections- fluid behind her eardrums.  When she has them, her hearing is impacted, but when her ears are clear, her hearing is actually fine. So, in short, sometimes she can't hear us very well, but sometimes she can hear us fine.

The doctor's recommended course of action was in two parts.  First, she will grow out of it- probably sooner than later.  And secondly, nose balloons.  Charlotte and I looked at each other when she said this, like, "did she just say what I think she said?!?"  Yup, she wrote us a prescription for nose balloons.  Charlotte is supposed to blow up a balloon with her nose, twice a day, for 5-7 days when we think she is having an ear infection.  We are not to give her any antibiotics!  (In our experience German doctors are much less likely to prescribe antibiotics in the first place, but this was a new one for me.)  This, from the lady with the giant bow on her head, after weeks of hearing tests, was just too bizarre and comical. 

 So anyway, Charlotte can't always hear us- this is true, and we feel reassured that she is not just ignoring us.  And she will grow out of it.  And does not need tubes in her ears, or a hearing aid, or anything else.  (Just nose balloons.) Pretty much the best possible outcome we could have hoped for from this situation.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Yay for nose balloons! That is awesome!

Good for the German doctors for not using antibiotics for ear "infections"

Parents over here frequently demand them