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Yesterday we brought Ben in for his post-op appointment with his ENT to check on his brand spankin new ear tubes and an appointment with his audiologist to check on his hearing. The last time we had his hearing checked (several months ago).. he was coming in with reading of about 20 dB down (the equivalent of sounds being 4 times quieter than someone with "normal" hearing). On the day of his surgery, his ENT guesstimated that he had probably been functioning with a 30 dB hearing loss given that the fluid in his ear had started to solidify. *gag*

SOoooooooooooooooo.... Ben was a champ and cooperated with the entire hearing test and even heard some sounds that *I* didn't pick up on. They can only get so detailed at this stage in his life.. when he's a bit older he'll have a more comprehensive test to determine his response over various frequencies where he'll wear headphones and will need to be able to communicate with the audiologist.. but at this stage their test is whether or not they hear a sound and turn toward it. He passed with flying colors.

Then we went in to see Dr Gallivan, who was the ENT who put his tubes in a few weeks ago. She checked them out and was very pleased to see that his eardrums have healed well around the tubes and that everything looks nice and clean and open. They also did a pressure test to double-check that the tubes were completely open and that came back fine as well. Ben was a trooper.. he hates things being stuck in his ears, but he has a pretty high tolerance for it given how much he has to deal with over the last year.

We also discussed the neuro issues that he's had (the seizure and the tics). While they can't say difinitively that the ear infections were the root cause (i love neurology.. they can NEVER say anything difinitively..).. the fact that his tics went from occurring 20-30 times per day to maybe once over every few days seems to say a lot. Our ENT agreed. His eye-rolling episodes have stopped it seems, but he still has a shiver that is not quite a shiver that we pick up on every so often. His neurologist does not think that this is pre-seizure activity and his ENT agrees with this and thinks that the cause could actually be a crack in his mastoid cavity due to the chronic severe ear infections. The picture below shows a cross section of the human ear. The spongy-looking bone around the ear canal and middle ear is the Mastoid Cavity.. it's basically bone with lots of air pockets and it separates the brain from the ear cavities. If there is a crack there, then pressure and/or infection could have triggered the problems that he had and this is something that would heal itself now that the middle ear pressure is taken care of. We hope that the tic will resolve itself as well. It's nothing that most people would notice anyway and it doesn't slow him down at all.


All medical jargon aside.. given that they want to be VERY careful about germies getting into ben's middle ear.. we had him fitted for custom molded ear plugs. He doesn't need to wear them in the bath at home, but he should wear them when swimming in public places, especially if it's a lake (which is key since we have a reservoir right down the street from us that we'll be frequenting this summer).

We have a few weeks to "test" the fit of the plugs to be sure that water can't creap in.. so we tried them out last night when he took his bath. Here are some pictures.. How cool is he!


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