Fluid Trapped in Both Ears

Updated on February 26, 2009
M.S. asks from Lake Elsinore, CA
32 answers

I need some suggestions.

Our oldest son is 6 1/2 years old and his pediatrician wants him to get ear tubes. He had quite a few ear infections when he was little starting at about 6 months up until he was 3 1/2, that's when a specialist told us to wait with the tubes because it was March and with the weather getting warmer and the flu and cold season being over he though he might be outgrowing it without needing tubes.

He was right. Our son didn't have another infection for almost two years (he used to have four infections or more a year). Then he had an ear infection that cleared itself without antibiotics. And two more years passed until early January of this year. He complained about having an ear ache. I immediately treated him with "Similasan" drops and within a day or two he was fine. However two weeks later he started complaining about not hearing well on his right ear. We went to his pediatrician who confirmed and ear infection but wanted to wait on antibiotics (our son is allergic to most antibiotics and penicillin). Two weeks later we went back and the infection was gone. I was relieved. But after two weeks my son suddenly said that he couldn't hear well, this time on his left ear. By now it's mid February and we go back to his pediatrician who told us that there is fluid trapped behind his ear drums and that he needs tubes. We can wait another week before we have to go back and make the decision.

I did some research and it seems that tubes are for toddlers. I couldn't find any articles on older kids getting the tubes. I am somewhat worried. Why does this happen at his age? Should he not have grown out of it by now?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so very much for your advice. We went back to see the doctor and luckily the fluid had drained by itself. Since we don't want him to have these troubles anymore we ordered a blood test to check for environmental and food allergies and are waiting for the results. We discussed the whole situation with his doctor and we agreed that if this should happen again we will go to a chiropractor first (I didn't even know a chiropractor could be the solution).
I was also surprised to hear that even grown-ups sometimes need tubes but now I will not be freaked out again if at some point in the future the issue will come up again with one of my kids.
Thank you again.

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H.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have an aunt in her 60's with tubes. My daughter had her last set put in at 5, they also removed her tonsiles and adnoids at the same time. Things are better but 1 ear still gives her trouble at times, but nothing like what we went through when she was a baby. Antibiotics did no good we had to get weekly injections of rosephrine (sp)it was horrible. Try the tubes, or get a second opinion if you have time. Good luck.

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S.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

If it is just fluid and not an infection, you may be able to wait it out. My daughter was about 5 or 6 and had a lot of fluid as well. We did some hearing tests and determined that her hearing was slightly impaired, but it wasn't affecting her speech, etc. So, we waited it out instead of doing tubes. It eventually drained on its own with no problems.

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T.A.

answers from Las Vegas on

I had tubes placed when I was 7. I used to get a lot of ear infections, whether I had gone swimming or just taken a shower. I haven't had a problem since.

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

M.,

Have you gone back to the specialist? My son's Pedi is against surgery if it's unnecessary and told us he would prefer us getting a second opinion from someone who's specialty is Ear, Nose and Throat.

Maybe see the ENT again before making the choice and ask those questions. My son used to suffer with ear infections, but we've not made the choice for tubes...per the advice of his ENT, and he only had one so far this year.

I've heard of older kids having their adenoids and/or tonsils removed but, I've not heard about tubes...but, again my son is younger. My co-workers kiddo had that done at age 5 and has been cold and ear infection free for the last year.

I would seek some professional guidance before making the choice.

Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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T.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

My daughter had chronic ear infections as an infant, was on low-dose antibiotics for 6 months and had a few more ear infections as a toddler. As a 10 year old, she started getting infections again and her ENT decided on tubes. She hasn't had an infection since and she's 20 now.

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A.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son was 6 when we were told by a specialist he needed tubes in his ears. I was ready to go full steam head with the tubes, I mean the "specialist" told us we should do it, although my son had never really had many ear infections. My husband however is very much into natural healing methods, so he insisted we take him to the chiropractor first. After a month the "speicalist" informed us tubes were no long necessary. I am the BIGGEST skeptic of them all but I believe with my whole heart the Chiropractor helped my son. I would recommend it to anyone, its worth a shot you've got nothing to loose. Good Luck.

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R.C.

answers from San Diego on

Please know that tubes are not just for toddlers. I have battled with this issue my whole life and had to have tubes placed again when I was 30! The things that helped me most was figuring out that I was allergic to certain things and working to be healthy. Good luck to you and your little boy.

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L.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
I had tubes put in my ears about 5 years ago when I was 41 years old. I had fluid that was not going away with antibiotics. They weren't a big deal - you could take showers with no problem. They usually fall out on their own. You just have to remind the doctor that they are they when they look in your ears.

It's best if you don't have to do it but if you have to it shouldn't be a problem for your son.

Good luck.

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
My children have had numerous sets of pe tubes each (yes this is highly unusual). We are scheduled for another set next week with my youngest who is seven years old. My eldest child had her last set of pe tubes placed when she was eight years old. One of the biggest reasons I make sure my children can hear clearly, is that you need to be able to hear clearly to speak clearly as well as to learn in school. The procedure is a relatively quick out patient surgery. Good Luck with your decision.
Mommy to three

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C.K.

answers from San Diego on

My son had fluid in his ears this last time and it concerned me so much.
I was reassured by doctors and nurses that this is common and can take up to three months for the body to reabsorb the fluid!
As a preventive measure and to help release the fluid, my pediatrician recommends the child chew Trident with Xylitol. The chewing helps prevent fluid build-up during a cold (which often leads to an ear infection) and fights the bacteria that is present.
I keep a supply of Trident bubble gum in the kitchen drawer for the kids. It's also good to prevent caries and plaque build-up between tooth brushings.
Good luck

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C.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son had tubes in hjs ears when he was 18 mos. old. They fell out and I thought he would ok. Then when he was 6 he started earaches and hearing touble again. This time they took out his adnoids and put in tubes. He had no more problems. Hope this helps.

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B.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

My younger sister had tubes until she was 8 years old, so I do think older kids have them. I would go to a pediatric ENT and get an opinion. Pediatricians aren't specialized in this area. Our older son is 6-1/4 and we just found out a few weeks ago he has a conductive hearing loss. The ENT said most likely from chronic ear infections as a toddler. He probably should have had tubes. I would definitely research the tubes as fluid in the ears can drastically effect how the child hears.

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V.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

"Similasan" is a mixture of homeopathic remedies that is intended for acute condition only. the use of it in chronic cases can be tricky and may not even be beneficial. your options now is to try figuring out on your own to which single remedy out of the mix your son has responded to or seeking professional homeopathic care. but if you have only a week i'd do chiro first and after it had been "drained" by non-invasive method, and you have some time on your hand start working with homeopathic remedies again. just remember - no mixtures for chronic condition. in case you are close to westside - Stuart Garber D.C ###-###-#### can be your man. Not sure if he himself works with children, or has somebody in his practice who does.
Good Luck
V

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N.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Good Morning M.,

Many physical problems that we have are a result of something that we are not considering. Food Allergies.

I have had draining ears and build up my entire life. I am 37 years old and last year found out that I have had severe allergies my entire life which manifested in health problems. Sometimes when someone has food allergies, it doesn't manifest in a rash or swollen face. It manifests internally.

I have been seeing an NAET allergist for a few months to treat and eliminate my allergies. NAET allergists are the only allergists in the WORLD who eliminate allergies. I strongly recommend that you log onto site NAET.com and locate an allergist near your home and have your child tested for allergies.

You can also go to Amazon.com and find the book Say Goodbye to Illness by Dr. Devi Nambudripad, she is the doctor who created NAET.

I have also spent many years in Nutrition Science, I can answer any questions you may have. [email protected]____.com, but I recommend that you just log on to site NAET.com and find an allergist to have your child tested.

Be Well.

N.

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E.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

At 6 my daughter had tubes put in. It did help drain.
Issues were that her ears weren't shape to naturally drain, she had allergies to many environmental things. Instead of a runny nose, it was "runny ears." Chiro didn't help, she simply needed to outgrow the compact ear canals. We eliminated food allergies best we can, put her on allergy med. That helped.
Good luck.

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

I got tubes as an adult...and one of my sons is 7 and he got tubes. So, i think it just depends.

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J.D.

answers from San Diego on

Hi I am a fellow mom with a child with tubes. From what I read tubes are for younger kids but my son had a simular problem as your sone he dad some ear infections but he wasn't draining fluid from his ears and it was building up preventing him from hearing. He was speech delayed for over a year bc of it. Its not typical in kids over 5 but They really worked on my son. I know its scary and hard to really think that at 6 he needs them but maybe he needs a little help draining the fluid and the tubes will help.

Good luck in whatever you choose. Its been over a year and my son has no fluid build up and now the tubes have fallen out we just watch and make sure he is okay. His speech is also better than expected and normal he now can tell us if his ears hurt instead of guessing.

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P.L.

answers from San Diego on

My son had his done last October after 3 years of constant ear infections. My concern was that his hearing would be affected as my nephew's had been. Come to find out when she put the ear tubes in that his adenoids were so full of puss that it was probably what was keeping the ear fluid from draining properly. We have yet to have another ear infection since October. I would rather have taken care of it earlier but my pedi kept waiting. Don't wait so long that his hearing is lost.. that was my driving force in getting it done.

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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

How about finding out what is causing the fluid. Typically it is in inflammation caused by a food allergy or an environmental allergy (most times food). Tell your doctor you want to have an IgG blood test for food allergies and do not accept just the kind that they prick the skin as it does not truly catch even a 1/3 of the allergans. Then you remove those foods from the diet. Another thing that worked well for us was a good chiropractor. He kept the upper neck in the shape it needed to be in for good drainage.

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R.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

You may want to try a chriopractor. It has been known that during the birth process the neck can be compressed, thus effecting the spinal column. This can cause cronic ear infections. Try to find one that does spinal evaluations with x-rays and provides physical therapy to correct the problem, if found.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am sorry to hear about the trouble your child is having....and I am frantic to find an answer for my 3 year old who does have tubes and continues to have ear infections so I am really frustrated and am also looking for answers there are out there. I am going to start looking for holistic answers. The medicine helps but then he is sick again. I am sorry I am not of help,but would love any help also.
Mar

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

My twins also had chronic ear infections and persistent fluid in their ears. I took them off dairy and not only did the ear fluid vanish, they never had another ear infection. I also detoxed them from overgrowth of yeast from the antibiotics. Sounds like your son has a dairy allergy. Almond milk is a great substitute for milk. You can purchase it at Wholefoods or Trader Joes.
D. Merlin
Mother/author
www.victoryoveradhd.com

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W.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

The tubes If believe are to relieve pressure and enable the ear to drain properly. I have a nephew who was about 7 yrs old when he had a similiar problem. The surgery is a very minor surgery. The tubes will fall out of your childs ears as he grows. I hope this will help you.

My daughter had almost the same problem when she was about 13 months. I took her to her ped doctor for over a year for minor ear infections. We tried almost every antibiotic to clear it up, but the result from using so many different antibiotics, she is now allergic to penicillin and anything from the same medical family as well as bactrin. I would be very careful about allowing so many different anitbiotics.

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

I understand your dilemma as my son was chronic for the same problem as a toddler to the extent that he was partially deaf during the time he should have been learning to talk. Two of my siblings also had the same problem and had tubes put in about age four. The specialist gave me a choice of tubes or low dose antibiotic therapy. I thought I would try the noninvasive approach first. My son was given a small dose of sulfa every day for six months. During that time he had no ear infections, no tonsiliitis, no side effects. Finally at the age of three he started to babble and say his first words. He called me "mama" for the first time at 3 and 1/2. We couldn't shut him up by age four. It took years of speech therapy. Today as an adult he has the occasional ear infection and does not like to put his head in the water in a swimming pool. By the way, the ear infections were not the sole cause of his speech delay but probably made it much worse. It turned out he was high functioning autistic. He also had ruptured ear drums during the time of his ear infections (over two years). That's my story. On average he would get an infection, we would treat it for two weeks, four weeks to clear out the fluid and wham, we got another ear infection. If I got more that six weeks between ear infections, I felt lucky. Between the ages of four and 14 he had no ear infections until they made him take swimming in high school. Then he got swimmers ear, middle ear infection, and finally bronchitis. ALL of my children got sick because of swimming in high school. I think any child with a history of ear infections, SHOULD NOT be required to take swimming in high school. Just my advice for all you moms out there.

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J.V.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi M.. I had tubes put in my ears when I was 7 as well as tonsils removed along with adenoids ( had to have adenoids removed again later) . My son had to get three sets of tubes- starting at about 4 years of age. He also later had to have surgery to repair his tympanic membrane (ear drum)- but never had to have adenoids or tonsils removed. Some people just have to be more careful about their ears. Recommendation- get the tubes placed- he needs them.

I know a lot of people feel that food allergies contribute. That wasn't our experience. However I do have allergic rhinitis ( worse as a kid) and my son did have asthma ( again worse as a kid). I believe there's a connection.

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A.F.

answers from San Diego on

M.,

I had many ear infections as a child and my 2 1/2 year old has already had his fair share too. Our ped suggested tubes as well, but I wanted another opinion. As a child I was treated by a chiropractor and never had ear infections again. This winter I started taking my son to the chiropractor too (after 3 months of infections and 4 rounds of antibiotics), and his ear infections are now gone.

If you're interested, chiropractors can do two things for your son. First, adjusting his head, neck, and spine can open up his tubes and let the fluid clear on it's own. Second, some chiropractors specialize in nutrition counciling. Our chiro put our son on a bacterial aid and a heart strengthener (congaplex & cardiotrophin). We are finally in the clear with his infections and hope to stay that way. We are very hopeful this time!

I hope this helps and gives you something else to consider. Let me know if you want the name of our chiro.

A.

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S.F.

answers from Reno on

Hi M.,

My youngest (now 11) had chronic ear infections and we were advised to put tubes in his ear. However, my husband had started chiropractic care and the chriopractorsaid they might be able to help. Indeed they did! In addition to regular adjustments, the chiro did an "endonasal," where they tipped the ear canal by pushing on it from a point in the back of the mouth. Sounds bizarre, but it really worked. I know it worked because I have fluid-in-the-ear issues and they did it to me, too.

Being very excited about this, we shared our experience with our pediatrician, who took the time to call the chiro and discuss it, professional to professional. The pediatrician was so supportive of what she heard, she encouraged us to keep up with the adjustments and endonasals. In the end, my son did not get tubes because the problem had resolved itself. Even the ear specialist admitted he had never seen results like that.

Good luck!
S. F.

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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

My sister swears by chiropractic for her kids. I haven't taken mine for adjustments as of yet, but for ears and more, she is a firm believer. I just wanted to second what previous posters said.

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was 5 when my tubes were put in and by then my ears were pretty scarred up from all of the infections. My daughter also had to have tubes when she was 18 months old. My husband should have had tubes in, but, for whatever reason, his parents never bothered and he was plagued with ear infections all through elementary school. Both of us have minor hearing problems.
Your ped will most likely refer you to an ENT for a consult. Has he had his hearing tested without an ear infection? Scar tissue from ear infections can lead to hearin gloss over time, even if the ear is healthy.
If the ENT concurs with your dr., then you should go for it.
Nowadays it is outpatient surgery. Fairly simple though anesthesia is used.

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Not uncommon but not as many 6 year olds have them. My son was on the verge of tubes as well; always getting ear infections and as soon as one round of antibiotics was done, another would appear. We started going to a chiropractor, very skeptically. It worked! No more ear infections and no tubes. You might want to try that before doing a surgery. It also will keep him from getting sick as much and if he does get sick, he'll be down for a shorter time.

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B.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello, M.,
My only son was 4 and 1/2 (almost 5) when he had a hearing screening at preschool. He did not do well, and they suggested maybe it was because of other kids, distractions, etc. We went to a clinic, where it was quiet, and he did not pass the hearing test again. He had had several ear infections, but nothing too drastic. The doctors referred us to a Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who suggested tubes. Everything worked out fine, but it was scary for us when he was under anesthesia. It all worked out great in the long run. He did not have to spend the night, and they removed his adnoids at the same time. They said they might remove his tonsils, but didn't have to. He has no hearing loss, has not had one single ear infection since. (He's almost 13 now.)
There is a great book called "Tubes in my ears...my visit to the hospital". I don't know where you live, but we're in Long Beach, CA and Dr. Nina Yoshpe was the wonderful ENT that helped us. The insurance paid for most of it. Good luck, and how wonderful that you have 4. I bet it's a lot of work. Best wishes to you all.
B.

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A.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

CHIROPRACTOR.
http://www.amerchiro.org/content_css.cfm?CID=69
This is just one article. If you google chiropractor children ear infection - you will see many more to choose from. Infants can be adjusted. I don't know where you are, but I can recommend two great practitioners. One is in the Fairfax area and the other is in Long Beach off the 405 near Seal Beach. Contact me if you are interested in either one.

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