Here’s the whole big ball of wax on my son’s hearing loss

A look into Cayden's right ear reveals something unexpected

Keara Engle avatar

by Keara Engle |

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My 5-year-old son, Cayden, has been seeing an otolaryngologist, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, for years.

The first visit was suggested by his metabolic doctors, the ones who manage his infantile-onset Pompe disease. Pompe disease can lead to hearing loss, so they wanted to start tracking Cayden’s hearing. The moment we see a decline, we can address the issue.

Cayden has already experienced some mild hearing loss. The cause for it was very easy to deal with, thankfully. Cayden had fluid in his ears all the time, which contributed to his frequent ear infections and the hearing loss. The solution was to get tubes in his ears. A tympanostomy is a pretty common procedure, especially in children. Cayden had two sets of tubes placed in his ears and they’ve helped tremendously.

We continue to follow up with the ENT doctor about twice a year just to make sure the tubes are still in place, and Cayden completes a hearing test at each visit. Last week, he had his usual checkup, and we noticed his right ear wasn’t performing as well as it had in the past. It was also impossible to get the results for one of the tests, which was unusual.

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Mystery solved

After the test, the doctor looked into Cayden’s ears. As soon as she did, she said, “Yup! That makes sense!” There was a huge chunk of hardened wax in Cayden’s right ear. She couldn’t see his eardrum, let alone see if the ear tube was still in place. This explains why his right ear didn’t perform as well on the hearing tests as it has before. It’s pretty hard to hear past a huge chunk of wax lodged right against the eardrum!

The doctor tried to remove the wax in the office, but Cayden became upset, so she prescribed ear drops. We’ll go back in a month to see if the wax is soft enough to be removed.

I’m hoping the wax can be removed at the next appointment. I’m eager to see if that will improve the results of his hearing test. I know Pompe can cause hearing loss, but it hasn’t seemed to affect him so far. The fluid that caused his mild hearing loss was unrelated to Pompe disease and is a common problem in young children.

It’s pretty crazy how something like earwax can cause such a big problem. But after everything I’ve seen in Cayden’s life, this is nothing! I know it will be an easy fix and we’re ready to get everything back to normal.

Note: Pompe Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pompe Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Pompe disease.



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