ENT stands for Ear, Nose and Throat. Here we are focusing exclusively on the ears even though throat related issues may be impacting the ear health.
When a child has a hearing concern, the audiologist is your hearing expert and the ENT is your medical ear health expert. An ENT practice that has a pediatric specialist and an audiologist on staff will cover both aspects. When a hearing loss is found we always strive to treat the cause and eliminate the hearing loss whenever possible. Hearing aids or other forms of amplification are fitted by an audiologist when the underlying cause of your hearing problem cannot be medically treated by your ENT.
Here are some signs that your child requires the services of an ear expert:
• Excessive ear wax build up – this acts like your child is wearing earplugs.
• Ear pain or discomfort with an unidentified cause.
• Fluid in the ears 3 times within 6 months or 4 times in a year.
• A stubborn or recurring ear infection.
• A failed hearing screening.
• Any other hearing concerns such as delayed speech and language development or poor following of directions EVEN IF A HEARING SCREENING WAS PASSED (See post on the deceptive security of the hearing screening, Too Much Confidence in the Hearing Screening)
• Your child is clumsy, tripping and falling often. This may be due to fluid in the middle ear affecting his vestibular system.
*A special thank you to Dr. V. Bones of Coastal ENT for carving time out of her busy schedule to speak with me and help me put this list together.