For the Love of a Child: Thoughts on the Prevention of Middle Ear Infection
  

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By: Uwe Stave, M.D.

The Disease Promoting Environment

John's mother tells me that, since his second year of life, he has had occasional temper tantrums and bouts of aggressive behavior. Also, he has suffered from a string of up­per airway infections, sometimes with fever and earaches. I asked about the home "atmosphere" and learned that the parents frequently had arguments using harsh language. After some years the parents separated and got a divorce. John's ear infections required several treatments with antibi­otics. At age four he was given ventila­tion tubes into his ear drums. His hear­ing was compromised for many years which also affected his learning.

In my years of pediatric work I have seen a great number of young children with similar histories. Many were re­ferred by colleagues and hospitals after several courses of treatment with antibi­otics. Some had ventilation tubes in their eardrums. Usually it was reported that the antibiotics had reduced or eliminated the fever but did not prevent a new attack of ear infections. It was often not easy to obtain an exact history of events, espe­cially not information about the "hear­ing space" at home. I talked with par­ents who even rejected the idea that four letter- or F-words represented abnormal language usage in the presence of young children. It was referred to as "modern language".

Some Factors Contributing to the Child's Hearing Space

1. Conversations and singing, oc­casionally running the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or other appliances.
Most natural situations in a house­hold and most human activities are ac­cepted by babies. If they cannot tolerate the sounds, they will protest by crying. Depending on age, the child will try to communicate his/her feelings; trying to participate in the life around. Most moth­ers consciously protect their children from excessive noise. Therefore, expo­sure to loud noise or continuous back­ground noises remains the exception.

2. Background Noise; the continu­ous sound of a TV, radio or tape; in some places noisy traffic; or the noise from a construction site. This noise is usually created intentionally by adults (who of­ten argue that they need the constant sound to not feel lonesome). Occasion­ally, people turn rock music on, which makes the chest and abdomen vibrate. Since infants and small children are more often shocked and stunned by such sounds their lack. of response can be mistaken as approval or tolerance. The sense perception of infants and small children can easily be overwhelmed and even be paralyzed. Some fall asleep in spite of loud sounds. Such behavior might seem to justify continuing with the noise, but falling asleep must here be seen as with­drawal from exposure and thus a healthy protective response.

3. Shouting and the Use of Nasty, Dirty Words; swearing, often in anger, hate and mood swings.
When I had the chance to observe an infant in a room with shouting adults, I saw an inner vi­bration in the infant, best visible in fine respiratory irregularities. It is not rare for a young child to be­gin crying if exposed to harsh adult language. This kind of response is rather normal and may express con­fusion or even compassion for the in­volved parent. Crying can also be a defense, an attempt to protect the soul. Does the use of angry words affect a young child who does not even know the meaning of these words or expressions?

Careful observation of small children shows that their reactions and perceptions are not really tied to the meaning of such words, but are obvi­ously enhanced by the speaker's mood, soul condition and body language.

Today we are dealing with a constant flow of weakening influences on the child's life body. The attacks and the drain on life forces certainly have mul­tiple causes. Furthermore, the damag­ing effects from the environment are quite different in young children and adults. A child with weakened life forces will over time compromise its biologi­cal defense system and the ability to pro­duce sufficient amounts of antibodies will diminish. The susceptibility of the upper airways to infection in young chil­dren makes it obvious that the middle ear can frequently become involved and chronically inflamed. Often it comes to my mind that the resulting hearing defi­cit may actually protect the individual child from a malevolent environment. Nature knows best.

Dr. Stave is a medical doctor and au­thor of many publications on the kidneys, the metabolism and child develpment. He has worked at the Fels Research Institute of Antioch University, and was Director of Pe­diatrics at an anthroposophical hospital in Germany.






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