At first, finding out your child has a cholesteatoma in their middle ear can be scary. However, when parents learn that this mass of cells is a cyst, not a cancerous tumour, many believe it's not necessary to treat it quickly. The truth is that, although cholesteatomas aren't cancer, there are many reasons to get them promptly removed by an ENT doctor. Here are 3 reasons you should consider ear surgery for your child in the near future.
Cholesteatomas Keep Growing
A small cholesteatoma may not seem like a huge deal--and, in many cases, the symptoms will indeed be mild--but it's important to note that these cysts don't stay small for long. They actually continue to grow over time, causing more and more damage to the ear. Some of that damage can even be irreparable, affecting the nervous system as well as your child's hearing. If hearing loss becomes severe, it could easily be permanent, even when the cholesteatoma is eventually removed. In addition, removing a cholesteatoma while it's still small is a much less intense procedure than removing a large one entangled in nerves.
Hearing Problems Affect Education
Hearing loss and other issues affecting hearing, such as tinnitus, are common in children with cholesteatomas. In a mainstream classroom, hearing is crucial to learning; most teaching is done by talking or lecturing, with only a small amount of visual input. If your child is struggling to hear, missing words the teacher said, getting distracted by other sounds, using all their effort to listen, or failing to communicate effectively with classmates, their education can quickly begin to suffer.
It's important to note that young child or children who have had a cholesteatoma for a long time may report their hearing loss and other symptoms as being less severe than they really are. Children don't always know that it's not normal to struggle with listening to and understanding verbal conversation, so don't take your child's evaluation of their hearing at face value. Speaking to a teacher or looking at your child's grades in comparison to their classmates can be a better indicator.
The Operation Won't Be Scary
As mentioned, removing a small cholesteatoma is a relatively simple procedure. Your child's ENT surgeon will make a small cut near your child's ear to remove the cyst and repair the ear drum. It's done under general anaesthetic, but it won't take more than a few hours (and small cholesteatomas can be removed in less an hour). After an overnight stay, your child will return home to recover with antibiotics and pain relief if needed. As the risks are low with removing a small cyst, there's nothing for parent or child to be scared of. Conversely, removing a very large cyst has greater implications and could require the removal of ear bones or severing of nerves, so it's best to avoid letting the cholesteatoma get to that size.Share
8 November 2017
Hey! My name is Walter and this is my new blog. For many years, I have experienced problems with my ears and throat. I just put up with them and tried to get on with my life. However, I really had trouble a few months ago and I had to take a lot of time off work. My wife suggested that I book an appointment with a doctor so I could get things checked out. The doctor referred me to an ENT specialist who diagnosed the problem and performed a treatment which fixed things up. I decided to start this blog to advise others.