Reoccurring ear infections can lead to pain, difficulty hearing, and speech delay.

CBS 42 Living Local

This Living Local segment is sponsored by Medical West Hospital.

BESSEMER, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – Medical West Hospital’s Dr. Michael Latshaw has expanded his ENT practice to accommodate pediatric patients. Because children have smaller anatomy – issues within the ears, sinuses, and throat are very common for kids under 10.

“The shape of the patient’s nose, sinus nasal cavity, and the connection between the ears just doesn’t work as well as it needs to, and that leads to recurrent otitis media- or recurrent ear infections,” said Latshaw.

Reoccurring ear infections can lead to pain, difficulty hearing, and speech delay.

“A common question I get from parents is, ‘I’m not sure if my child hears me.’ And sometimes that can be difficult whether or not a child is experiencing true hearing loss or selective hearing,” Latshaw said.

If you are unsure about your child’s hearing health, have an ENT give them an exam. 

“We can also perform (hearing tests) in children as young as 10 or 11 months. And that really helps us understand whether or not there is true hearing loss or the severity of the hearing loss,” said Latshaw.

Latshaw says a proper exam helps determine the extent of treatment needed— sometimes that requires surgery or hearing aids. 

If your child is having chronic ear infections, five or more in six months, they will benefit from the placement of ear tubes. 

“We call them ventilation tubes,” Latshaw said. “Tubes allows us to treat ear infections directly, using ear drops, instead of (oral) antibiotics.” 

“A small incision is made in the tympanic membrane or eardrum. Then a small plastic tube, that has an even smaller hole, is placed into that incision,” said Latshaw.

Depending on the type of tube used, they usually stay in place for 12 months. Some children will need multiple sets. 

Dr. Latshaw performs pediatric surgeries at Children’s of Alabama, in the downtown and south outpatient surgical locations. Learn more about Dr. Latshaw and his practice by visiting MedicalWestHospital.org. 

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