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Hearing Disorders Message Board

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G'day Everyone.

I just wanted to start by pointing out how helpful and encouraging the information everyone is sharing on these boards. It's probably the best resource I have found thus far regarding the Stapedectomy procedure and outcomes.

The reason I am posting is that I want to see if someone out there has had a similar experience to my own, and may be able to help by indicating what I might expect as I recover from my Stapedectomy (2nd - Right ear).

I had my first Stapedectomy on my Left ear 10 years ago. This procedure wasn't without complication, the surgeon actually broke my stapes footplate, but given his experience was able to repair it, further, there was alot of scraping done inside my canal to insure an adeqaute view given my canals are narrow. Post operation I had no sickness, a little dizziness, and due to the scraping there was a expected amount of swelling and pain.

10 days after the operation the packing was removed with a significant improvement in hearing across most ranges - infact everything was extremely loud. The hearing improvement was somewhat muffled due to drops I had to instil in my ear, however my greatly increased hearing returned a week or so after completion of the course of antibiotic drops.

Long term the hearing is rather good in the ear, and has probably moderated slightly, as my brain adjusted to the sounds. The only concern I have is a slight increase in my perception of tinnitus in that ear over time.

On 29th of March 2011 I had a stapectomy performed on my right ear (the other ear). This operation was without complication, and was in the words of the surgeon 'Perfect'. Immediately post-op, there was no dizziness, no sickness, limited pain, and the given the lack of complications swelling was also limited, although there seems to be a little more discharge and dried blood than I remembered with my first op.

10 days after the operation (Fri 8th April 2011) I had the packing removed from the ear, and noted an improvement in the hearing. I had a quick audiogram at this point which indicated that hearing was probably 10-15 db better than my left ear - a seemingly good result.

Where the hearing does seem better in the mid ranges, I do not have the significantly loud or clarity of the low and high ranges that I experienced after my operation on my left ear. While the hearing is better in the mid ranges in my recently operated right ear than in my left, I do not seem to have the low ranges (You know, the low humming airy sounds) in my right than I do in my left.

Given all this my questions are as follows:
Has anyone had a stapedectomy in both ears, and had both ears recover to near normal hearing, although the recovery was different?
Given my right ear is still a little squelchy and crackly, is there a possibility that the low ranges will come to me, when my canal and area around my prosthesis has more time to heal?
Has anyone had an experience where an ear has taken time (more than 2 weeks) to 'pop' or to realise the full extent of improvement?

Thanks everyone! Stories and comments very much appreciated.
Hi Fantine!

Thanks for the reply. Wishing you all the best in recovery, and hope that you have the best hearing possible as a result of the procedure. When my Dr took the packing out of my left ear it was rather incredible. Although this is usually followed up with them suctioning out debris which is painfully loud when the Stapedectomy has been a success.

Like you I have bilateral Otosclerosis, which is largely conductive - I do have what appears to be minor semi-neural loss however my ENT said it often appears due to Tinnitus presenting in those frequencies. Unfortunately for me, my Tinnitus pre and post Stapedectomy is rather similar, and for me its quite pronounced. When I had my left Stapedectomy my perception of it wasn't so bad, although when it's quite is definitely still there.

My Otosclerosis started in my left when I was 24-25 and I have my first Stapedectomy when I was 27. It started in my right ear several years after the left, and in the last 5 years has got progressivel worse. I decided to take the plunge and have the Stapedectomy as even my hearing aid wasn't helping as much as I required to do my job and feel comfortable in social situations.

My audiograms for both ears when impacted by Otosclerosis were rather the same, both presenting losses in the lower frequencies of around 50-70db.
My left ear 10 years after Stapedectomy is rather robust, I have around 25db loss which the doctor seems to be happy with given the complications of the surgery at the time, and a middle ear infection I was unfortunate to suffer 6 weeks post the operation which required an emergency in chair myringotomy.

In light of the lucky outcome despite the unfortunate nature of my first Stapedectomy experience my ENT was very confident of a better outcome in my right ear. As I indicated in my earlier post, the procedure went perfectly, without sickness, dizziness, and little pain.

During the period post surgery I could hear nothing from the ear as the approach of my ENT is to completely pack the ear, making it rather difficult to hear until the packing is removed 10 days later. When the packing was removed, the hearing seemed good, probably not quite at the clarity I remember from the first but still much better than pre-op. Immediately after removal of the packing a short audiogram was performed which indicated that the hearing in my mid ranges was even better than in my left ear (around 15-20bd), and it did feel much louder in those ranges.

Where my concern lies though is that I do not have the low/high frequeny clarity that was evident post-op on my first procedure. You know that 'hum' in the air. I recall having that after my first operation, and those frequencies are still better in my left ear, than the supposedly better recently op'ed right ear. I do get this feeling that perhaps the possibility is there, and the stitching still needs to dissolve, and any fluid needs to dry up and clear, before I get that 'Pop'. My right ear cracks and squelches if I move my jaw or air pressure changes in the ear. Plus I get a very weird sound when even the breeze blows against my ear. Is it still reasonable to hope that I still might get lower/higher freq clarity as I heal? It's only just 16 days since the operation.

Thanks very much for your reply Fantine, and feel free to ask any questions that might help you.
Hi, Matt!
Thanks for your detailed reply. If I were in your shoes, I would talk to the surgeon about all your concerns and make sure that you have another follow-up appointment. If that doesn't resolve your concerns, can you see a second surgeon for a consult? It does sound as if your right ear isn't completely healed, based on what you say about all the noises and pressure you feel.
I've heard that the removal of the debris is VERY noisy, and I'm dreading it tomorrow. I'll report in after I get back from the surgeon.

]I first noticed a hearing loss when I was about 45 years old, but until I saw my current surgeon, it was diagnosed as a mixed hearing loss. Only Dr. Kim suspected that I had otosclerosis and ordered additional tests. I wish I had had the proper diagnosis 10 years ago and had the operation then; maybe I wouldn't have tinnitus now, as I do. I Oh, well, these things happen. I have about a 50 dB loss in both ears at the lower end, so I'm really curious to see how I will test post-op. I don't think that I will get tested for several weeks, if I understand how this surgeon does things. At my age, I do expect to have some neural loss in higher frequencies.
BTW, my sister and my dad also have hearing losses, and my sister definitely has otosclerosis (our dad's is probably related to his military service). My sister has decided to wait for her surgery until she finds out how I'm doing. I'm the little sister, so I get to be the guinea pig!
OK, I'm back from my first post-op visit to the surgeon. He used a probe to take out the packing, which looked like a little bloody cone -- no suction needed, apparently. He said that the ear is mostly healed, but that I should continue all the restrictions (no water in ear, no straws, no hard blowing of the nose) for at least another two weeks. He tested my hearing only with a tuning fork, and it was better in my operated ear than in the good ear with a hearing aid. But I told him about hearing resonance, he said that that happens sometimes and should disappear. I have to see him in another four weeks, and only then can I get my hearing tested. I told him that I didn't think that I was hearing upper frequencies all that well, and he kind of shrugged me off and said that I had to get used to hearing lower frequencies, and we'll know more in four weeks and after the hearing test. My ear is still kind of popping, so I guess it's not completely healed inside. He didn't seem disturbed by any symptom I was reporting to him. Also, I'm supposed to take Ciprox ear drops for two weeks.
Hi Fantine!

Very happy to hear that the ear is healing well and that the hearing is better in the newly operated ear.

You seem like you have similar concerns to me post-op. I didn't have higher and lower frequencies when my packing was removed. My ear however is crackling alot and is rather squelchy.

I'm actually happy to report that I had a little 'pop' Today and the clarity of my hearing in that hear improved somewhat. It's definitely better than in my good ear through most ranges (except the really low), and given the loss in my previously better ear (left) was only in the 25db range. I shouldn't be complaining or perhaps stressing as I am. I suppose like everyone I hope that I get the maximum result possible given all the stress and anxiety that can be associated with first the hearing loss, and then actually deciding to undertake the procedure.

The only thing for me that hasn't improved thus far is the tinnitus (ringing). I get it quite badly in both ears, and where the ring is lower and hard to discern in my left ear, it is higher pitched at present and more pronounced in my recently operated right ear. My ENT did indicate that it should moderate as my ear heals. I very much hope that is the case. :)

All the best as you recover further and I hope the outcome is one that changes life for the better. Keep me posted of your progress, and of course ask me any questions you might have.

I'm still hoping there might be someone out there with a similar experience to mine. Be great to have hope that my hearing will improve some more, and that the tinnitus will be less pronounced or noticable.

Oh before I forget I was also prescribed drops with 3mg/ml of Cipropraxin for 10 days. That seems standard procedure. The drops tend to lessen then perception of any improvement in hearing I have noted because of the fluid and build up. I recall from my first op though that this tends to subside within a days or weeks after you finish the drops.

Take care all!

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