We had our appointment with the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist) today, as a follow-up to the CT scan that Jake had at the end of January.
Basically, she told me a couple of important things. First off, Jake’s ear canals are VERY TINY (which we already knew). This is impeding his hearing a little, because there’s not very much space for the sound to get through.
Hearing Issues = 1, Jake = 0
Secondly, Jake has some fluid build-up in his ear, behind his ear drum. This happens often in children, typical children as well as children with Down syndrome. This fluid is also getting in the way of sound getting through properly.
Hearing Issues = 2, Jake = 0
The good news is though, that the fluid is not causing any sort of infection or erosion of the bones in the ear, which we are very thankful for!
Hearing Issues = 2, Jake = 1
Typically, they would just do surgery and put tubes in his ears in order to drain the fluid. This would help him hear better. But, they can’t do the surgery on Jake, because his ear canals are just too small.
Hearing Issues = 3, Jake = 1
So, it looks like eventually, once his ears grow and his ear canals are big enough, he will get tubes put in and get that fluid drained.
Hearing Issues = 3, Jake = 2
In the meantime, however, we realize that it is REALLY IMPORTANT that Jake be able to hear properly. He’s already going to have challenges in the speech department, so he needs to have as much going for him as possible. In order for this to happen, the ENT referred me back to the audiologist at the Children’s Hospital, who will fit Jake with a hearing device. It is basically a headband, that goes around his head, and there is a part that sits above his ears. This part will transmit sounds directly through his skull into his inner ear, and allow him to hear with more clarity.
Hearing Issues = 3, Jake = 3
It is a temporary solution, it is not to say that Jake will need hearing aids for the rest of his life. It is just to help him in the interim, while we continue to wait for his ears to grow. And once his ear canals grow, we can (hopefully) put the tubes in, drain the fluid, and watch as Jake can hear well on his own!!
Hearing Issues = 3, Jake = 4
TAKE THAT hearing issues!! We are on top of you!! You will not get us down!!
I’m not sure when all this is going to happen, but will keep you posted. Love you all. Thanks for all the love and support. We are not sure what we would do without such wonderful family, friends, and a great network of people around us. So, thanks:)