The first thing you must understand is that you are going to experience an ear infection with your cleft baby. There is a reason for this. Please click on the link and you will be redirected to the Cleft Palate Foundation’s booklet that explains in depth why cleft babies are more prone to ear infections.
The first time I noticed something was not right with our little guy’s hearing he was approximately eight weeks old. I had finished feeding him and he had fallen asleep.While rocking him I had a book on my lap that landed on the hardwood floor with an incredible thud that startled me, but did nothing to him. He slept right through that. He didn’t jump. There was no reaction whatsoever. I laid him down in his bassinet and then dropped the book again with the same non-reaction. When he woke up my husband and I would take turns holding him and speaking loudly only to realize our little guy was not looking in the direction of either of our voices. It was definitely a bit frightening and I did contact our nurse Ann at the Cleft Palate Center at St. John’s to talk to her about this. They scheduled us to come in and take a look at his ears, which revealed what we were told to expect initially. He did in fact have fluid built up in the middle ear and that his hearing at this point was muted.
His cleft lip surgery was scheduled to take place when he was at least 10 lbs. and 3 mos. of age. His ENT , Dr. Chipp Miller of the Southern California Head and Neck Medical Group would also be inserting PE tubes in both ears at that surgery in light of the recent fluid build up.
For the next four weeks our son slept soundly and did not wake up because the neighbor’s dog was barking, if there were sirens nearby, our stereo on, or me vacuuming if I had energy to do so…we took this in stride because we knew that once he had the tubes put in and the fluid drained from his ears he would hear everything and there would be no more vacuuming or not caring about the neighbor’s dog barking all day. So take a deep breath and realize that this is just part of the process.