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Hearing Disorders Message Board

Hearing Disorders Board Index


Reading around the Internet and printed publications about those recommendations is interesting and shows how complex systems our bodies are. The recommendations vary greatly.
Some might have to do with implant used or technique chosen.
Some are up to the doctor's interpretation.
Some will depend on doctor's interpretation of how the wound is healing.

I have discussed the following with my surgeon:

What should I do and don't after the surgery?

Do use the ear drops twice a day from the day 1 till they run out - ofloxacin 0.3% help with wound healing.
Do take antibiotics prescribed 3 x 500mg Amoxicilinum a day for 7 days to prevent postop infections
Do be careful when standing up faster the first few days
Forget about the implant and move on with our life.

Don't get the ear wet as this can very seriously complicate the healing process 6 weeks if you can. Consult otherwise until you inflamation has cleared.
Don't travel by train using tunnels (pressure changes) for 2 weeks post op.
Don't travel by plane for 6 weeks.
Don't ever dive under 10 meters (200 kPa) - this is controversial but the whole concept is mostly built on the theoretical assertions and not much proof exist that barotrauma has different complications for patients after the stapedoctomy. Diving is moderately risky for anyone and many people (from the general population) will not go under 4 meters due to discomfort in their sinuses or ears.
Don't ever skydive

General advice not related to my condition or operation I had:

Never get bath water in your ears.
Avoid air travel with inflammation of an ear (including eustahian tube). This is common with colds, sinus infections etc. blocked eustahian tube and vhanges in ear pressure can in severe cases cause rupture of the tympanic membrane and hearing loss.

But what if I go on the plane and I notice dramatic hearing loss in the previously operated ear? (thinking about Sanguine 2011).

Call us immediately you will be scheduled for ASAP revision surgery. Time is precious in those cases as there is risk of severe hearing loss in case of serious implant dislocation. This could also be due to ear drum rapture. See a doctor who is equipped with otoscope immediately and can look down your ear canal.

I did not write down these answers so this is my subjective recollection. Always listen to your own doctor but don't be afraid to ask.

thanks for info. I will ask my dr. about the flight recommendations.I had very serious popping noises (like fireworks) when I traveled over a 1800 foot pass on the way home immediately after my surgery. I wonder if that's what caused my sensorineural high frequency hearing loss post op (thankfully subsiding a little).
I realize this is an old thread and the original poster may be long gone, but I wanted to add my thoughts and comments on my experience, specifically as it relates to the original poster's question regarding audio quality after a stapedectomy.

I am also a musician and an amateur audio engineer. Needless to say, otosclerosis made my audio engineering work rather difficult. I had a successful stapedectomy performed on my right ear about a year and a half ago and of course it made a huge difference in my ability to work with audio. I am now recovering from a left ear stapedectomy and I am cautiously optimistic that the results will be as good or at least comparable to the results from the first operation. However do keep in mind that my thoughts below pretty much pertain only to my experience with my right ear and there seems to be considerable variation in stapedectomy results so your mileage may vary.

So back to the OP's sound quality topic:

1- My sensitivity to very loud sound has increased tremendously. During the first 6-8 weeks post-op, even moderately loud sounds were unbearable, even painful. That extreme sensitivity did decrease somewhat over time, however it never went back to pre-op levels and at 18 months post op, I don't expect the sensitivity to decrease much more. The ear has a natural defense mechanism against loud sound called the acoustic reflex and a stapedectomy actually destroys that mechanism. So I dont know if this is the sole reason why loud sounds are so painful now, but I do believe it is at least part of it. I also believe the prosthesis and procedure itself are somewhat responsible.

2- Extremely loud sound, particularly with alot of midrange content in say the 500Hz-3000Hz range is distorted, but sound at what is referred to as "conversational volume" is clear and natural, almost pristine. As volume increases from a conversational volume, sound begins to get progressively more distorted (basically it starts to sound like a blown speaker). To make an analogy that audio engineers may understand, I think of it like power handling capability of a speaker: my ears are like smaller speakers that function very well at low volume and they reproduce sound accurately as long as you dont overload their power handling capability. Once you reach a certain threshold, sound quality seems to diminish in a linear fashion as volume increases. In an electrical audio engineering world, this occurs with all transducers like speakers or microphone capsules, and its also true of any signal chain like a mic pre or an amplifier you would find on a home stereo. I think human hearing is similar in this regard and its like any other signal path. In a way, this is beneficial to me because I immediately know if I am exposing my ears to a sound level that is potentially damaging to the auditory nerve, so I know its time to put the ear plugs in. I also now work with sound at lower volume where human hearing is more "flat" across the frequency spectrum and I believe this has actually resulted in more accurate monitoring and better audio work.

3- Most audiologists only test you up to 8kHz' and a few go up to 12kHz. My hearing is within the "normal" range up to 8kHz, but at that point it starts to fall off. My audiologist doesn't test 12k but my audiogram clearly shows a slope starting to form around 8k on my right ear. In my research, it seems that this is not uncommon with stapedectomy procedures. Its generally considered that sensitivity up to 8kHz is required to clearly hear & distinguish human speech, so if you are good up 8k, then your hearing is considered "normal" by most audiologists. However with audio work, extended high frequencies do come into play. But I feel that even though I lost some extended high frequency sensitivity I gained so much in the mids & lows that the trade off is absolutely worth it.

4- I have more trouble distinguishing speech in noisy environments. I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that background noise is SO LOUD now or that I lost some extended high frequency sensitivity. In a noisy bar, its not uncommon for me to be able to clearly hear the conversation going on 8 feet away behind me, and have a hard time understanding what the person right next to me is saying. Again, the trade off is completely worth it, and in normal environments, 99% of the time I have no trouble following conversations and hearing what people are saying.

5- I have never worn a hearing aid, but some people describe the sound as "unnatural" sounding. Once my right ear had fully healed, I would NOT describe my hearing post op as "unnatural", at least at moderate volume.

Hope this helps somebody. I know its a long post, but I had a ton of questions before my surgery and I feel like if somebody had laid all of this out there for me before my first procedure it would have helped ease my mind. Thanks and good luck!

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