The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is giving a $1.6 billion grant to The Medical College of Wisconsin to study fluid in the ear, and it's about time if you ask me.
Our daughter, now 5, has had chronic fluid in her ears which was first diagnosed (after being extensively misdiagnosed) at age 2 1/2. She has had four sets of ventilation tubes surgically placed since that time. She also suffers from autism and developmental delays including severe delays in speech development. We have found out through extensive research of our own that fluid in the ear, which causes hearing loss at a critical time in a child's development, can create permanent damage to the auditory nerves. When the ears stop receiving audio input these critical nerve pathways literally shrivel and die. These effects last much longer than the fluid in the ear does, continuing after the fluid has been drained.
That's all we've been able to find out though. We've consulted numerous doctors and audiologists but it seems there is no treatment for this problem or a way to find out if our child actually has it. Since, according to some sources, approximately a million sets of ventilation tubes are surgically placed each day in the U.S., it makes sense that NIH is funding more for research on fluid in the ear.
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