When symptoms of hearing loss persist, particularly at a time when a child is learning to speak, medical evaluation and treatment are recommended. Hearing loss is the single most important cause of a child having delayed speech.
To improve eustachian tube function, a variety of medication may be used. Antibiotics, decongestants and nasal sprays are the more common ones. If this fails, surgical options will then be explored. For children, the operations performed are Myringotomy & Tube insertion (M&T) with or without adenoidectomy.
M&T is done under general anaesthesia as a day surgery. This simple procedure generally takes about 15 minutes and involves making a cut on the drum and placing a tiny ventilation tube through it. This thus allows ventilation of the middle ear. Admission to the hospital is required only when adenoidectomy is done as well. Generally, a total of 48 hours' stay is required.
Shortly after admission, blood tests will be carried out. The child will be required to fast overnight i.e. no food or drink after 12 midnight before the operation. For a younger child, a shorter period of fasting might be sufficient, depending on the anaesthetist's assessment.
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