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Hearing Disorders Message Board

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Having read some interesting and informative threads on ‘stapedectomy’ I thought I would give a UK perspective on my recent operation. I’m not sure if there has been many UK individuals who have posted in here, but in any case, if there has been, then I’m sure one more thread won’t make that much difference.

Firstly, in March 2013, I had to go for a pre-op. For anyone who may not know what this is, it is simply a number of tests such as blood pressure, urine samples, weight; swabs for detecting ‘MRSA’ and a plethora of questions asked.

Then the following month, I had the operation. The day of the operation I saw a couple of surgeons who informed me about the operation, side effects and such like. I was also given the chance to ask some questions. Finally, I was given some support socks to reduce the chances of a blood clot occurring.

As I was first one in theatre that day, I was the first one to leave. I was given a general anesthetic and then it was off to sleep. When I woke up, I felt as if I was choking and a little delirious. Thankfully a nurse was at hand who reassured me everything was fine. I do recall at this point, that my right ear felt like water hitting the drum and it felt tingly. There was a slight pain but not anything to worry about from my perspective. My real interest was knowing if my ear could hear or not. The sound was muffled but I could hear. This gave me the confidence that the ear was not dead.

When I was moved to the ward, I noticed there was a little leakage. I told the nurse, who gave put some cotton in my ear. At this point, I felt nausea and a little dizzy but I was not in pain.

I was discharged the following day and my girlfriend picked me up to take me home to my parents. I then got myself into bed with the socks that the ‘NHS had given me. It was only when I was at home that the sounds like the front door and people talking become more salient to my ears. However, I still had fresh cotton buds in my ear to prevent leakage: the ear was not bandaged up.

I did sleep on my left side for about a week and took my time blowing my nose: I had picked up a chest infection and cold-something that should be avoided according to what I read in another forum. In any case, there’s not much one can do if one picks one up is there?

However, after four days, something very odd happened. I noticed that I was hearing different pitches in both ears! Thinking I had ‘diplacusis’ this was extremely worrying: I write and play classical guitar. So, you can imagine my fear, apprehensiveness and worry when this happened to me. However, this evaporated after the seventeenth day and the pitch is the same in both ears.

I must say that I’m so far pleased with the results of the operation and no doubt will get the my left ear done next year as it is below the average rating.

I would like to however, just add a few things that may be beneficial to those who are planning on having the surgery or who have had the operation. This would include:

-If you are to carry a bag, make sure it has wheels, the last thing you want to do at this stage is to be carrying weight. I was amazed at how many people were carrying bags! DON’T.
-When you have a shower or bath, insure that you use cotton buds with 'Vaseline' on the outside to prevent the ear becoming infected.
-Try not to exert yourself for the first seven days. Trust me, it can be tempting to do this as there is nothing wrong with the body, just the ear. Had it not been for my cough and cold, I no doubt would of done more physical things.
-If, like me, you hear different pitches in your ear, it may discontinue-it maybe the ear healing itself. In any case, give it between two-to-three weeks to see if it changes.
-There was no ear packing to be removed. A lot of people have had ear packing after the operation. I expected to have this done, but didn’t receive this.

I should also point out, I’ve heard post operation stories from people who have had the operation only to find that after a number of years, their ears have deteriorated and they have had to wear hearing aids once again. This I am sad to read. I’m not sure the percentage of this happening. So I cannot commit. However, there is a chance of risks and complications regarding this and just about any type of operation. Also, everyone is different. All I can say, is that I’m pleased I took the chance to have it done and yes I was extremely apprehensive about it: took me nearly a year to ask for the operation to be carried out. But, I am so pleased with the results. The sound I am hearing is much wider in my right ear and sounds more powerful too. So while there is a risk, the choice is up to the individual.

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