Melissa had been having regular hearing tests since she was a baby as hearing problems go hand-in-hand with Crouzon Syndrome. We were told that Melissa had mild to moderate conductive hearing loss which meant that the transfer of sound waves from the eardrum to her cochlea was interrupted. Conductive hearing loss may be temporary or permanent. A mild hearing loss means that about 25-40% of the speech signal is missed. Usually this results in problems with clarity since the brain is receiving some sounds but not all of the information. A moderate hearing loss means that about 50-75% of the speech signal is missed. This means that there are no problems hearing at short distances or face-to-face, but there are problems if distance or visual cues changed.
To try to improve Melissa's hearing the first step was for her to have grommets. Grommets are small plastic tubes which are inserted into the eardrum. They allow more air and therefore sound to travel to the cochlea, hopefully then improving Melissa's hearing. The grommets will gradually fall out of the eardrum between 3-12 months. It is possible that Melissa may need them again.
Melissa would have another hearing test a month after the operation to see if the grommets had helped her.
Compared to the other operations Melissa has had, this was very easy. Her operation was booked in for the afternoon, so she ate a light breakfast, then was able to have a small drink at 9:30am and then another at 11:30am (which she refused). We were at the hospital at 11:30 am. Before the operation we went to audiology to buy Melissa some earplugs, as she is not allowed to get her ears wet. Melissa was then admitted to the hospital and we went up to the Day Surgery Unit. It wasn't a long wait. Melissa entertained herself playing with another girl who was also having grommets. We saw the anesthetist and even though Melissa had been unwell the day before she was well enough to have the surgery.
We had waited a year for this operation (as she was classed as a category 3 patient), so we didn't want to have to cancel it due to her being unwell, because who knows when they would have been done.
The operation was quick - we had time to have a quick lunch - and Melissa was back in recovery. She was awake and very soon ate and drank, and about an hour later we were able to take her home.
The day went smoothly and the operation went well. We gave Melissa some panadol for the pain that evening before she went to bed. The next day she didn't want any pain relief.
Melissa went back for a follow-up checkup 4 weeks later. The operation was successful. The grommets fell out on their own eventually.
© 2012 by Jenny Woolsey
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