Two out of three of my children had to have tubes placed in their ears as toddlers -- not once, but several times because the tubes would come out before they were ready to come out. They were both between one and two when the tubes were put in. They had to wear ear plugs whenever they went swimming, got their hair shampooed, or took a bath. I used the Max wax earplugs.
Having those tubes placed in their ears was the best thing I could have agreed to.
My youngest daughter's oldest child is now seven years old, and he too has gone through having tubes placed in his ears a couple of times. The doctor waited too long -IMO- to place his tubes because when he was two, he was not as verbal as other two year olds, and my daughter noticed that he didn't seem to hear them speaking to him. After the tubes were placed, the speech therapist worked with him on a regular basis for awhile, and today he is sooooo much better for having had the tubes and the speech therapy done. He still has a slight problem, however, but nothing that interferes with his learning as he is a very bright student in school.
It seems to me that the sooner you have the tube placement done, the better off for your child. I think insurance and HMOs have a lot to do with the delay tactics doctors are using today in health care, not because they don't think the kid needs the tubes NOW. Don't let them do this to you. ACT on the problem, be assertive with those docs, and tell them you want ENT consultation or you'll get your own, and then tell that ENT no messing around any longer, to tell you what the real deal is. Best of everything to you!