If parents are okay going through the ear infection-antibiotics cycle and waiting to see if the child grows out of the problem, then placement of ear tubes is an elective procedure. But if there is any speech delay, tubes really need to be placed so the delay doesn't become permanent.
David Roberson, MD, Boston Children's Hospital Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement
Your child will begin to speak only when she begins to hear sound. There are several causes for speech delay in children, including neurological causes, behavioral difficulties, and access to appropriate environmental stimuli. However, the most common cause of speech delay in children is the persistence of fluid behind the eardrum and associated hearing loss. Caused by chronic ear infections, this hearing loss could delay speech.
How Children's approaches speech delay
Children's has a skilled team of highly trained audiologists. If your child has been diagnosed with speech delay, or if your family has a history of hearing loss, an audiologic evaluation will help determine the best course of treatment.