Professional swimming ambition back on track for local youngster
Continual ear infections and loss of hearing, causing a detrimental impact on schoolwork, had been par for the course for Edward Crossley, a nine-year-old avid swimmer from Claverdon in Warwickshire. But thanks to successful treatment at Spire Parkway Hospital, the condition that had blighted him from a young age is remedied and his ambitions to be a professional swimmer are back on track.
Glue ear, as it is commonly known, is very common and eight out of ten children will have experienced it by the time they reach the age of ten. It is caused by a build-up of sticky fluid and can stop sound getting through to the inner ear – as well as causing ear infections. From the age of around three, Edward suffered many ear infections and when he started school, teachers became concerned about his hearing, his schoolwork suffered and mum was fed up of hearing the TV at full volume!
Says 45-year-old Kerry O’Connor, mum to Edward:
“At first the teachers and myself were worried it might be a case of selective hearing – but given the fact he would move closer and closer to teachers at school, and he always turned the TV up, we suspected there was more to it. The ear infections and the fact he was drooling led me to take him for further investigations, which showed he’d benefit from having his adenoids and tonsils removed and grommets inserted into his ears. This worked for a while but as he got older the ear infections returned and the same problems were back.
“We took Edward to Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull where he saw specialist Mr Trotter, who recommended he have new grommets inserted as the old ones had fallen out. Edward swims competitively and the ear infections were also stopping him from enjoying the sport he loves.”
Matthew Trotter, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Spire Parkway, said:
"Edward’s case is not uncommon at all. Glue ear quite simply occurs in children when there is a build-up of fluid inside the middle ear preventing the little bones of hearing from transmitting the sound to the inner ear. This sometimes occurs following a cold, and since the tubes that would normally help air circulate through the middle ear become blocked as they are naturally narrow in children, the fluid can build up and cause infection and inflammation. Thankfully parents and teachers are more attuned to this now, but if not diagnosed it can cause delay in development of speech and language and affect academic development. In some cases the child can be labelled as troublesome as the frustration of not being able to hear can make them disruptive.
“The surgical treatment is uncomplicated and effective – a grommet looks like a tiny cotton reel which allows air flow into the ear and lets fluid effectively drain. It can make a significant difference for children who have been suffering. Since Edward swims competitively, his continual ear problems were holding him back, but the treatment means that with the right ear protection when swimming, he can carry on as normal.”
Kerry, who runs a swim school and is mum to two younger children, added:
“Edward is happiest when he’s in water and we’re hoping he might be our future Olympian!”