Son Needs Hole in Ear Patched from Tubes Being Removed

Updated on November 24, 2010
L.A. asks from Lake Villa, IL
13 answers

I took my son to the ENT for what I hoped would be his last checkup after ear tube removal. The doctor told me that there is still a hole in his left ear and that it would require a patch. He mentioned that a hole in the eardrum usually results in a 10-15% hearing loss. He didn't mention which type of patch he would do yet, but we are supposed to talk about it at our next visit (May). He also didn't say whether the patch would help or hurt the hearing loss. I have noticed that I've had to raise my voice at my son to get him to hear me. He did say that the hole would not heal itself now, it's been 4+ months.

Has anyone else had to have their child's eardrum patched after tube removal? I was so taken aback when the doctor told me this because he didn't have any problems after his tubes were inserted.

L. A

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter has tubes because she was born with fluid in the ears, and I have also never heard of having them removed... her doctor said they would just fall out. Where does the ENT work out of?

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S.

answers from Chicago on

I'm sorry, but I don't have any advice. However, my son is turning 4 and has had ear tubes since he was 2. We were just at the doctor's office and the tubes are still in place. When I mentioned that I was surprised that they haven't fallen out yet, I was told that the tubes could be in place until he is 5. No one ever mentioned that if the tubes didn't fall out on their own and needed to be removed that there was a chance of hearing loss. How long did your son have the ear tubes? and why were they removed or did they fall out on their own?

Thanks. S.

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H.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Think of the eardrum as a drum, it is thin tissue that vibrates when sound waves hit it, that is what enables us to hear. Fluid can build up behind the eardrum making it bulge outward and eventually burst, tearing it and making it so you can't hear, not to mention it is painful when it happens. The tubes are inserted thru the eardrum, sort of like when you have your ear pierced, and are left there. They are hollow and allow the the fluid to move thru them like a safety valve. BUT they are open to the outside so you have to be careful not to get liquid from the outer ear going back thru the other way, that is why they tell you not to let the kids dunk their heads in water.
When they fall out or are removed there is a hole that heals up but leaves a scar. Think, again, like having your earlobes pierced, if you let it heal it will leave a lump. This interfers with the hearing. It may be that the eardrum is so badly scarred from rupturing that the hearing is comprimised as well. This does not mean that tubes are not worth it, they are!
The eardrum is very thing skin/tissue. Unless they are using a different material that I am unaware of, they can take a skin graft from somewhere else and make him a new one. It is worth it.
I hope this helps. =)

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C.

answers from Chicago on

I have a 12 year old that has had 3 sets of tubes and at one time a cyst on his ear drum and we just had his 3rd set removed two months ago,both his ears are now healed,but I do know that there is a chance that it can leave a hole after the tubes come out ,but I have never heard of a patch.I hope the hole ends of closing for you,
C.

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A.M.

answers from Chicago on

hi, L.!
Step #1: get a new ENT!!!!
You should never be "taken aback" at news from any doctor. And I never heard about that hole-in-the-ear-patch stuff.
Demand that your pediatrician give you
an experienced mother of 3 (now teenagers)

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J.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

My son had tubes put in at 3 1/2 years old because he had fluid that wouldn't drain and caused him to not hear in either ear. Once the tubes were in he was great. I was told the tubes would fall out, but he is now 7 and they have not fallen out. I was told the tubes have probably already left a hole and he would need a patch. With our insurance it will cost 1400.00 to have them removed. I've decided to keep his in for the cast factor and also there is still a chance they could fall out. He just mentioned his ears were rining, so maybe I should have them removed. I also wish I would have been told that its a posibility they won't fall out on their own and it could cause a hole.
J. R

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V.D.

answers from Chicago on

Hi L.,
Well, I don't exactly have experience with tubes. However, I myself have a hole in my right eardrum...it has been there since I was 2 (an earring back fell down into my ear when my mother was changing my earrings). Anyhow...yes, I have hearing loss in that ear, about 15-20% the last time I was checked a few years ago. They do anticipate that the hearing loss will get worse in that ear as I get older, I am now 30. But I don't have pain or have to wear any hearing device to help me hear. I guess patches weren't an option when I was a child though. :) Plus, I guess it also depends on how larget the whole is. I wish you and your son luck.

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N.P.

answers from Lewiston on

i am 11 but i got the sugery in my right ear today same thing happend to me they put you to sleep then next thing you know you wake up and it is done it hurts a little after and you have 2 where a bandad for a week and it takes 1 month to fully recover hope you son gets better

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D.C.

answers from Jacksonville on

My daughter has had 4 sets of tubes and her last surgery was 4/2010 to remove the tubes. Her left ear has still not healed from that surgery. Her Primary Care Doctor saw her last week for a sinus infection and said she needs to go back to ENT before 3/2011. She is being seen on 12/14. The next step is to do a skin graft to patch the hole. This is surgery #6 and she is only 5. She is a NICU baby. DAC~Florida

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L.R.

answers from Chicago on

I had tubes as a child .... and a patch. My hearing was never 100%, but I don't notice a difference. I talk loudly, more so when I am in loud places, or drinking ... but I never had a problem in school or at work. The major lifestyle change that affected me was that I could not get that ear wet, specifically during swinning ... So I wear silly putty or earplugs while swimming.
Hope this helps.

L. S

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C.C.

answers from Corpus Christi on

Hi, my name is C. and i had tube put in my ears as a child. I too had to have my left ear patched up after having my tubes removed. I now have a 3yr. old little boy who had tubes put into his ears as a baby bc of frequent ear infections. I just found out this afternoon that he too has a hole in his left ear that will need to be patched up bc it may not heal on it's own. I was pretty upset when i found this out. 1 bc i had it happen to me and i'm still have problems with my ear even now yrs after i've had it done. I don't hear very well from that ear. 2 bc now my son has the same problem and the same thing happen to him. I mean tubes are supposed to help reduce the rate of ear infections but yet they're is this big of a risk in the end? The ENT never told me about that risk as a child nor when my child was going to have that surgery done.

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A.C.

answers from Chicago on

I was born with a syndrome that caused chronic ear problems for me throughout my 20+ years. I have had an eardrum patched and it was not as bad as everyone thinks it is. Tubes can fall out or be removed by a doctor when they no longer feel that the child needs them, and yes, sometimes it does leave a hole. Mine had been inserted and removed so many times that it did leave a hole. The procedure wasn't really that complicated. They took a piece of fat from the back of my earlobe and rolled it up, and inserted into the hole, and "patched" it. I had my procedure done at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, about a 3 1/2 drive from here. BUT they have had the #1 rated otolaryngology department for the past decade. I have experienced some hearing loss in that ear, but it does fluctuate with the seasons and whether or not there is fluid behind the ear drum. I hope this helps as I have personally gone through this, and as an adult. Your son is young and will not have as hard a time as an adult would.

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J.M.

answers from Canton on

Remember that everyone is different and there is no explanation for why some people ears heal and other do not. If you are not satisfied get a second opinion but anyone implying that there is something wrong with your doctor does not know your specific case. My daughter has the same problem and has had 3 sets of tubes. None of hers have fallen out. They do not always fall out. She has always had to have them removed. They should not be in too long. Talk to a professional and get a second opinion if you don't feel sure. Don't assume your case is the same as anyone else.

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