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Brian's Ear Tubes



Brian's Ear Tubes
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.83

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    adorable, anesthesia, barnes, bilateral, Fein, fussy, myringotomy, otitis, recovery, siegel, specialist, suctioned, ventilate, normally, entire, clearly
     content words:    United States


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Brian's Ear Tubes
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Cassie had an adorable little brother named Brian. He was almost two years old. Normally, Brian was playful and happy. Today, however, he was not happy. In fact, he was miserable. He was fussy, had a fever, couldn't sleep, and was frantically pulling on his right ear.
 
2     "Here we go again," Mom said. "We're taking him to the doctor. I'm sure it's an ear infection again!" Almost all children suffer from a middle ear infection at some point. In fact, most children have suffered from one before the age of four. Middle ear infections, or otitis media, are very common in those from six months to two years old. Usually, they are very easy to treat. In Brian's case, though, it wasn't as simple as that. He suffered from repeated ear infections.
 
3     At the office, the pediatrician examined Brian. "Mrs. Barnes," Dr. Siegel said. "You were right. Brian has a middle ear infection again. He's had far too many of them, and the fluid is not clearing up. It's time I sent you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I'm going to recommend ear tube surgery for him. This special doctor will conduct a more substantial hearing test because I am concerned about his hearing and speech, too."
 
4     "That's awful!" Cassie yelled.
 
5     Dr. Siegel responded, "It's a more common problem than you would think. Two million of these tubes are put in children each year in the United States."
 
6     "Why?" Cassie asked. "I've had an ear infection but didn't need surgery."
 
7     "That's right," Dr. Siegel said. "Antibiotics worked for you. In your brother's case, his infections are becoming chronic. Not only does that make him feel sick, but it can cause hearing loss."
 
8     "Why?" Cassie asked.
 
9     Dr. Siegel responded, "Your middle ear is usually filled with air so that sound can pass through. There's a passage called the Eustachian tube that balances the air pressure between the outside world and the middle ear. If you have a cold or a respiratory infection, bacteria or a virus might cause that space to fill up with fluid or pus. This pushes against the eardrum, and it hurts. It can also affect your hearing. Speech can also be affected because you can't hear sounds right. For your brother, surgery for ear tubes will drain the fluid that the medicine isn't clearing up."

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