My Tympanoplasty, A Retrospective

This is the landing page to the story of my tympanoplasty. However, it’s just a slice in the middle of a larger story, which you can find in the tympanoplasty category of my blog. More importantly, this post and the others contain useful and inspiring stories from people at different parts in the healing process. Always be sure to read the comments, and don’t be afraid to contribute.

Earlier this year, I wrote about an elective surgery I undertook to recover hearing in my right ear. From the time I was little, my right ear drum had a hole in it, a perforation. I went for several procedures as a child to repair the hole, but none of them were successful.

Having that hole in my ear drum had always been a part of me. I learned to turn my head to hear people better, and I adapted to wearing an ear plug whenever around water, including and especially while showering.

Fast-forwarding eighteen years, this last February, my family and I decided it was time to take another shot. Consulting Dr. Lawrence Meiteles, we were introduced to and studied a procedure called a Tympanoplasty.

The idea of recovering any hearing was truly amazing to me – thinking about it made me instantly emotional.

As a student, I’d always refused to take any time off, unless I was particularly sick. In this case, for this reason, I was willing to take any amount of time off, even in the midst of a busy senior year of high school.

I retell this story now because it’s time to wrap it up. It’s been six months since the procedure and everything is well. I can bathe and swim without an ear plug and my hearing is much better, although not perfect. Although recovery was painful and tedious at times, I regret nothing… not even wearing this setup immediately after the surgery:

Big Bandage

At this juncture, I’m renaming the category of the blog that tells this story of my life from “ear surgery” to “tympanoplasty”. Hopefully, that’ll make it easier for Googlers to find my experience. I entirely and without reservation recommend the surgical services of Dr. Lawrence Meiteles to anyone with an ear drum perforation. I couldn’t be more appreciative to have something I thought I’d never have – decent hearing.

There are 482 responses to “My Tympanoplasty, A Retrospective”


  • it’s great to find a site with people going through the same procedure. I had my tympanoplasty 18 months ago, I too experienced the sound of my pulse (it drove me mad) but it does go away. I lost my taste (it came back after 1 month) I was dizzy and sick for a week or so, but it was all worth it as i dont have to keep going to the hospital to have my ear vaccuumed anymore !!! Unfortunately my hearing hasn’t improved its got worse and i wear hearing aids, but my operation was to close the hole to prevent infection to the brain. I was told i could die without the op so my hearing loss is a small price to pay. I’m glad i’m in the minority here with a hearing loss instead of gain following the op – congratulations to all the people it worked for and good luck for the future x

    • Thanks for stopping in to tell your story, Sandra! Good luck with everything.

    • Sandra
      Believe me you are not alone. There has been many of us that just gains a small amount of hearing after the surgery. Actually when you think about the surgery, just to be able to hear again is amazing. The material used to replace the eardrum is much thicker than the original eardrum. So it can only act similar to the eardrum. But at least it works. I, like you, need hearing aid to hear somewhat normal. I lost my right eardrum in a welding accident. I had the surgery a year ago April 3. So in closing, do not feel alone. The best of luck. Keep in touch.

    • Hi Sandra!

      Omigosh, I thought I was the only one who went through hearing my own pulse. especially every night before going to sleep..It’s so comforting to know, I am not the only one going through this. I just had my Tympanoplasty (and canalopasty) last September,ang I am hoping that it will all be okay soon. Cheers to everyone!

    • Manjunath Varadaraj

      My personnel experiences are I am not satisfied with tympanoplasty done on left ear. I had it done during Jun 2010, the surgeon informed you have to go for both typanoplasty and mastediactomy. Soon after surgery within a month I developed red spots inside the eardrum and latter it developed into a small hole which has not closed till date though I still continue taking all medication and being careful that water does not enter into my ears as warned by my surgeon.

      The surgeon also informed care you should take after surgery is you should not develop sinusitis or ear infection.
      Now I continue to lead my life with blocking sensation and very mild ear loss in affected ear.
      The surgeon explains she does not know why the perforation has developed again and she plans for coiterisation, I have to now decide & consult other surgeon’s opinions.

      They also conclude since I am diabetic type 2 it has not healed in my case then my question is why do surgery at the first case.

      • You say you had a mastoidectomy as well did I. i am 6 days post op. Did you have does trememdous neck pain from surgery. The nurse says that people do complain about that due to positioning. I found immediatedly i was able to get more air to breathe. Doc says my hearing may not improve. Wondering how long this sensitivie ear thing will last?

  • Wowza that is a huge bandage. I am glad to hear that you are better!

  • The bandage is a good look for you, you should adopt it as a style statement. Hey, college may be the last time you can dress like a crazy with relatively small repercussions.

    Of course, covering up your ear might render the whole surgery kind of useless…

  • Matt and Kim, you know the real reason I wrote that post?

    I just wanted to get blog comments about that photograph. :P

  • Hi Ricky,
    I wanted to tell you enjoyed your story about the tympanoplasty. My son, who is 12, had this same operation in July. He, like you, has spent his life to date wearing ear plugs while swimming and showering. Because this surgery is not quaranteed to be successful, we thought about it long and hard before deciding to go through with it. We had gotten two other opinions and also researched this procedure at great length. After his surgery evertyhing looked great. He had 3 scheduled follow ups with the surgeon. At the 3rd follow up, unfortunately a small whole the size of a tip of a needle has reappeared on his eardrum. The doctor said there is a chance this may heal. We are keeping our fingers crossed, we will be going back in a month of so to see.

    I felt compelled to write to you because not only did we just go through a similar situation, but I also know you. I work at Dover High/Middle School as a substitute and you are also my neighbor. I live down the road from you. I found your website to be interesting and I wish you lots of luck at Tufts. Beantown is a great place to go to college, enjoy it!

    • Do you know if Pattie’s son’s hole healed back after it reoccurred? My 8 year daughter underwent the same procedure and now 9 months later she has 2 holes in that ear. Waiting to see the ENT on Tuesday but was looking for some information. The hole is from the tube that was in her ear. Her left already has very little hearing due to a different condition and I am very concerned about the holes coming back in her “good” ear. Thank you.

    • Hi Patti (& Richard – glad you wrote this column)
      Just wondering if your sons ear healed over after this? My son (6yrs old) just had the exact same thing happen to him …. I’m so hoping his heals over and he needs no more surgery’s
      Oh I’m just seeing Donna’s reply aswell. Donna did you have any luck with your daughters ear? It’s been 8 months since my son’s surgury.
      Thanks

  • Pattie, thank you for *your* story. I hope, with all of the empathy I can find, that your son has the best of luck.

    And really, thanks for wishing me luck in Boston. I think with all of the luck people are wishing me that nothing could ever go wrong. :P

  • I just came across your blog and my son 13 just had this procedure for the second time. I know this might sound like a stupid question, but was your ear put back properly, or did your ear look different?
    My sons ear is a little lower and sticks out more.

    • Michelle,
      I had my right ear surgery (tympanomastoidectomy) 6 days ago, everything is going as expected but the one thing that bugs me the most is that my right ear sticks out a lot more than my left. I’ve read in other posts that it’s supposed to go down as it heals, did your son’s ear go back? I see it’s been 5 years since his surgery.

      thanks,
      Jeannie

  • Hey how’s it going I’m having this surgery on the 8th of Jan and scared to death its not my first I had a patch out on it a year ago which didn’t work out. So here I am with a little over a week to go until surgery I was just wondering about the pain and how much of a scar that it left behind.

  • Michelle: I don’t like to dwell on this, but yes, my ear was put back slightly off from where it was before. It was very noticeable to me at first, but other people didn’t usually notice it unless I pointed it out to them.

    I’ve since learned to live with it.

    Jasmine: With only 6 days until your surgery, I can understand why you’re afraid.

    I was in a fair deal of pain directly after the surgery, but the pain medication they gave me helped a lot. It wasn’t unbearable.

    I have no noticeable scar.

    Good luck! Please let me know how the procedure goes.

  • Thanks for posting this pic and for your story. I’ve had many tympanoplasties, which unfortunately for me didn’t work. So I had to go the other route. I hope you don’t mind but I linked this entry to a post I made today at britishcowgirl.livejournal.com.

    Cheers!

  • Hey,
    Like yourself ive had ear problems all my life, so recently i decided to have my tympanoplasty about 9 days ago. I know someone already sorta asked this above but i wanted to ask anyways. In regards to your ear being put back on right i noticed this as well. Not only is my ear really swollen, but it sticks way out to me. I feel like i have one of dumbo’s ears… while other ppl say its only slightly noticeable from the front, they all agree that from the back you can really tell. With this said i’m worried it wont go back to normal. While i understand that it cant really go back to the way it was exactly, im curious to as if it will at least go back to its normal place a little bit.. When i asked my doctor he said its just swollen and that it will go back to normalish in a few months once it fully heals. Ive had suregery berfore on my ear twice so my right ear has always been a little off, but it was liveable and not really that noticeable. However, i feel this is VERY noticeable. I guess what im really trying to ask is, will my ear stay like this more or less? or is only like this because its only been about a week since the surgery?

    ~Andrew

  • Andrew,

    The placement of my ear bothered me for a while, but after some time, it either fell into place, or I got used to it. It doesn’t bother me anymore.

    I honestly think that a week since the surgery is too soon to worry or be concerned about this issue. I wish you the best of luck!

  • Richard, I appreciate the information on you Tympanoplasty recovery. I am 61 years old and I am in the process of having a Tympanoplasty on my right ear. I have been in the autobody repair business my whole life and have never really had any major injuries caused by my profession, until January of 2009. While lying on my side under the front of a car, welding on a new inner structure part, a welding spark entered the rear of my welding helmet and into my right ear all the way to the eardrum and burnt a huge hole in the eardrum. It was quite painful to say the least. The burn has finally healed even after a bad infection set in. We are now in the process of scheduling the Tympanoplasty surgery. The loss of hearing for me was quite annoying. Unlike you, I have been able to hear throughtout my life and to have half of my hearing gone in an instant was quite a blow. Like you, having to turn my head to hear and the Tinnitus is really aggrevating. I am looking forward to the surgery and pray that is is successful. At my age, I will not be able to undergo a number of surgeries. So my wife and I are hopeful that the first one is the only one needed. I have been touched by your original posting and I am very happy for your success in getting your hearing back. I am sure that if mine is successful, all of the discomfort and pain that comes with it will well be worth dealing with just to be able to hear again. I can’t immagine going through life not being able to hear as you did. Thanks again for your posting and I wish you all the success in the world at whatever you do.

    • Hi Mr. Bagby,

      I am a 54 year old nurse who developed a bad hospital acquired infection in my ear. I now have tinnitus and some loss of hearing. I find it difficult to hear in noisy social gatherings. My md has asked me to wait a few months before considering surgery.

      Have you had your surgery yet? How is it going for you?
      If you are willing I would love to hear how it is going for you.

      Best wishes for a successful procedure and rapid recovery.
      Kay Johnson

      • Kay,
        I would have to say for the most part everything is going good. My surgery is done and the healing I believe has ended for the most part. I have a major hearing loss in my right ear but at least I have regained something. So that is a positive note. And my objective from the beginning, was to regain some type of hearing. I have got to say that the Tympanoplasty is truly an amazing surgery. It has got to be without a doubt the most irritating and uncomfortable recovery I have ever witnessed. You would think that with all of the things that were going on in my head during recovery, there would be no way that all of the things would just one day stop. And seemed like overnight back to normal for the most part. This to me was truly amazing. I think, with the exception that I have a severe hearing loss, the only other things I have gained from the surgery is an occasional earache, apparently for no reason, and my right ear is extremely sensitive to loud noises. I am told that this may be a problem when it comes to hearing aids.

        I went today to be fitted for a hearing aid. I was told that with the severe loss in my right ear, I would need a powerful hearing aid to recover the higher db loss. So we are not sure if I can use a powerful hearing aid because of the sensitivity of my right ear. The amplification my be too much for the ear to handle. So this remains to be seen. I will be trial and error so to speak. We will start that in a few weeks. So that is where I am at the present.

        Have you made any decision about your surgery? I really believe that there is a lot about this surgery that is yet to be known. There seems to be an awful lot of questions without definite answers. A lot of maybe’s, possibly and lets wait and see. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking the procedure at all. After all it worked for me. I know one thing it is really hard to talk to people that have had the procedure and I truly thank Richard for the blog he has created. I have gained relief through the blog just being able to air my feelings throughout the proceedure. So if you decide to have the surgery, I wish you God’s speed with a fast recovery. Just keep in mind that it is all worth it. Patients and a lot of sleep, will get you through it. And most of all listen to you doctor don’t make any decisions on your own. The blog is here for a reason. Please use it.

        I am here if you need me,
        Billy Bagby

        • Great you recovered so well. I had my second tympanoplasty on the 7th March 2012 to repair left anterior perforation due to a slap to the ear. My ENT gave me the thumps up in May in terms of hole closure, however, I’m still suffering with the tinnitus which is driving me insane. Could you tell me how long yours took to go away? I’m really worried mine wont go away as I’ve had it since the injury last February and its still here after surgery even though i no longer have the perforation 4 months post surgery.

          Your advice would be much appreciated.

          Thanks.

  • I am glad you have a blog, I have had a perforation in my ear for about 10 yeas now and had the surgery 5 days ago…a Tympanoplasty and middle ear bone surgery… you can find 100 articles about the procedure but none about the recovery and people’s experiences with it. Just curious how long did it take for your hearing to come back to where it was previous to the surgery, and for the packing they must put in to disolve or fall out my next appointment isn’t for another month and 1/2 ? I cant hear hardly anything out of my repaired ear yet. Also, like Andrew one of my concerns was my ear is sticking out, and is lower (sounds like a couple of months is the concensus?). Thanks again for the blog, it gives people recovering some real life experiences.

  • Hey ,
    so ive been checking back here every so often,
    considering now its only been a little over a month since my surgery i was seeing if anyone else had posted any new info :). honestly im really happy that you have this website richard cause like paul says there are alot of websites about tympanoplastys but none about recovery… like u said the ear has gone down a little bit still sticks out but im hoping it will go down some more.. again its only been a month the hearing hasnt come back yet but they have done some of that vaccuuming in the ear that u wrote about. im pretty sure the hearing will come back in a few more months along with the ear going back to normal..ish..
    oo and to paul, lets hope its all worth it yea? im in the recovery process like you.. im only a month ahead of u.. all i can say tho is that month feels like forever without being able to hear lol thanks again richard for having this site :)
    bringing all of us hearing impaired together
    ~Andrew

  • ok so i had the surgery like 2 weeks ago & my ear was swollen but it healed. my ear also had dried up blood & that made it so hard to hear & when i talked it seemed like i could not hear myself clearly. after 2 weeks i tried to removed the dried up blood and i did. it was kinda thick & the end of it was still wet because of the ear drops i waz using. the reaosn i did so was because the ear drops didnt go into my ear because it just soaked into the dried up blood. i waz wondering if i did the right thing because right now i feel like my ear is still healing & i have an appointment in 3 weeks with the docotr and since i removed the dried up blood from my ear, the eardrops go straight in. i still cant hear clearly from the ear but its better than before. i hope to get a response because i’m kinda worried because i feel like i shouldnt had removed the dried up blood from my ear. it looked very thick and long too. i know there are still some more in there but i’m not going to touch it until the doctor takes a look at it.

  • Billy Bagby – Thank you so much for your kind words! I really mean this; everything you said was outrageously nice. I wish you the best of luck with your procedure, and I hope you come back and keep in touch!

    Paul – It took me a full six months before I felt I had gained the maximum amount of hearing I was going to. Give it time. It really does take that long for all of that packing to dissolve. Also, if you re-read the information on this page (http://www.richardmondello.com/category/tympanoplasty/) you’ll find, with more detail, how my hearing progressed through time.

    Andrew – Please keep us posted on your recovery! I’m glad you’re being patient with hopes of a full recovery.

  • femi – I’m not sure if that’s what you should have done. I would ask your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Richard, Thanks for the reply on my posting.
    I had my proceedure done on April 3rd. Everything went quite well especially the fact that my ear canal was large enough and after trimming the eardrum for the graft, I had lost over 75% of my eardrum surface which gave ample room to do the proceedure through the ear canal. So I didn’t have to have my ear removed for the proceedure. Although the surgery was done through the ear canal, the first two days after the surgery were quite miserable for me. I went back for a revisit on April 9th and so far everthing is fine. We won’t start removing packing from the ear for another 2 weeks then hearing testing 2 weeks after that. I will keep in touch and let you know the final outcome.

  • i did & he actually said that wasnt a big deal as long as i keep the ear away from water. ma surgery is kinda different from everybody else’s though. my ear drum actually shifted away from its position creating a hole beside it so they took some of my skin to replace the hole inside. i still dunno about this packing everybody is saying. does a tympanoplasty require packing on every surgery? well i have an appointment in 2 weeks with the doctor so they will vacuum the ear & i’ll hearing testing procedure will follow after that. i think getting the surgery was the worst decision i’ve ever made in my life. my hearing waz perfect on both sides but my ear dischaged a yellow liquid but when it dried up i could still hear very clearly. the doctor said if i didnt get the surgery then an infection could affect it going into my brain. well now i had the surgery & ma left ear is ok. not perfect like before but its still ok. maybe if they use the vacumm the it would be better who knows. i’ll keep u guys updated

  • Billy – that all sounds great! Everything appears to be going as planned, and that’s really awesome that you were able to have the procedure done right through the ear canal!

    Femi – Give it some time. You may have hearing return – it’s too early now to say anything for sure. Either way, your doctor’s rational about infection is nothing to doubt. If there’s any place to have an infection, that is not one of them!

  • hey guys. i had my surgery about 3 weeks ago. i keep hearing my heart beat in the ear that i got surgery on. is that normal? Also there’s like some kind of sound that i keep hearing, sometimes its ringing sound & sometimes i hear that kind of sound when you are in the woods camping. i dont know what to do because i’m really stressed with my situation. i just wanted to know if any of these occured to you guys. i still keep using the eardrops & i;ve been stayin away from water ever since i had the surgery. when i was asleep, the dried up blood came out of my ear & the doctor said its normal as long as the ear packing behind the ear drum & around it is still there then i should be fine. pls help me out guys. i just want to know what everybody went through during the healing process,the mumblin sounds & heart beats. thank you

  • Paul you will get all kinds of sounds in your ear. They really can’t tell you why and can’t stop it. It is terribly annoying, I understand that for sure. Even though it is not a ringing only they still call it tinnitus. I have heard just about everything I could imagine after my surgery that I had on April 3rd. So we have been there about the same length of time. As long as you are putting drops in your ears and there is packing in it you will get things coming out of your ear, very normal. Hang in there and best of all be very patient with the ear healing. Good luck

  • WOOHOOO! Jus got bak 4rm da hospital & dey removed out all the ear packings. my ear is clear for now. its actually betta dan b4. i still have anoda appointment in 3 weeks so who knows…my ear could just be perfect again!!! i’ll keep u guys posted.

  • I’m putting a comment bump in this thread, hoping that you all will come back and update me on your status!

    • My 15 yr old daughter had the tympanoplasty about 6 months ago. They cut behind her ear and went through canal as well. They. Leaned out the sinus like cavity that the ear has as well.

      I see many of you are hearing strange things. Are any of you seeing shadows (like people). Ever since my daughter had this surgery she hears whispers and strange noises AND she sees things. Mostly from her peripheral vision but sometimes straight on. It used to scare her but she has gotten used to it.

      Any others with this side effect?

  • I had the surgery a week ago. Everything went well and I had maid pain. In the last two days the pain has been so bad. Saw the doctor he said Im healing well. Im just wondering if anyone else had pain as it was healing. I was trying not to take pain meds.

  • berm – give up the good fight. Take the meds. It’s worth it.

  • When did you feel like your self again? Its hard for me not to be active. The pain is better with the meds. My ear always feels like its throbing,better with the pain meds.Its been only a week and Im back walking with the dog and shopping. I just want to be able to return to jogging and swimming. I don’t feel like that day will ever come.

    Thank you for responding it helps to know someone else has gone through this also.

    • Slowly, my new self became my “self” again. It was a slow process, and I can’t say that I ever returned to the same person I was before the surgery. Over time, I became better than that old person, but it took time.

      Walking hurt me for some time. I missed more days of high school after my surgery than my entire high school career before that point, combined.

      Take it easy. Know that you’re doing yourself a favor by doing so.

  • The pain feels better today, with the meds. I was cleaning the back of the ear and the scab started to fall off. It looks ok and feels ok. When did the incision behind your ear heal? I feel that the back of mine looks good.

    • Heal? Well, I can still tell that the operation happened by feeling behind my ear. I’ll always be able to.

      After getting my sutures out, I felt I was “healed”. It was good enough for me..

  • I had this surgery 8 days ago. Four days after my surgery I woke up with a ringing in my ear and it’s been there ever since. Did anyone else experience this in their recovery? My doc said he wants to see me on Monday if the ringing doesn’t stop. I just hope it has something to do with the packing and once it dissolves the ringing will stop. I’d appreciate any info on this. Thanks.

  • Whenever I sleep I had a little wet and dry blood come out. Is that normal? I know dry,but some wet? My ear is going back in place like before. As far is ringing, I get it every once in a while. Mainly my jaw hurts. Did anyone else jaw hurt? I just feel so fragile, my doctor says Im healing well and I in week two. I don’t feel like I can do to much. Can someone tell some of the activities they were doing in week two. Im walking mostly.

  • Yes fluid discharge is completely normal. I never had any issues with my jaw but my Dr went in through my ear canal instead of making the incision behind my ear, that may have something to do with it. As far as my recovery I went to a wedding three days after my surgery. The only discomfort I experienced was from the packing. Maybe if I would have taken it easy for longer I wouldn’t be experiencing the ear ringing. Consider yourself lucky if you’re not going through this it is quite annoying.

  • Caleb I feel your pain. I had a tympanoplasty on the 17th and have had a sustained high pitch ringing ever since. It is very annoying. I saw my doctor on Tuesday and he didn’t seem too concerned about it. I hope it is a result of the packing and will go away with time.

  • WOW! first off – I am so happy and thankful I found your blog. :)
    Like many of the posts said – there’s NOT any other sites out there talking about the recovery process…

    I am turning 30 years old next month and just had my tympanoplasty AND mastoidechtomy surgery done this past Tuesday – July 21st.
    quick fyi – the mastoidecthomy was to remove all of the scar tissue surrounding the ear drum.

    Basically – I had only half of an eardrum left – that is how bad the hole in my right ear drum got. The other half of the ear drum was all scar tissue – due to YEARS and YEARS of ear infections.

    I was 7 when they first put the tubes in – and it became my life not to be able to get water in my ears. To me, it was second nature – but obviously no one around me (except my mom who had the same thing) understood. So after years of my ear problems – I just got “used” to it…

    I am sitting here still with the bandage on my ear, knowing that I will have a few months of healing time ahead of me…my first post-surgery follow up appointment will be this thursday – until then, pain pills are my friend! lol.

    I honestly didn’t even think twice about having this surgery – I have hearing loss in both ears and am also in the process of getting a hearing aid for my left ear. My doctor – who is one of the best in the MidWest – told me that this SHOULD (but obviously isn’t guaranteed) to help the hearing as well as diminish the ringing (I have horrible tinitus as well).

    The hearing loss has really only started to affect my life in the past year and a half. I’ve always had troubles hearing – but not to the point it’s gotten to. I think I’m at about 40% loss of hearing. It started to affect my relationship with my (now) husband – my friends – my job…but once I finally realized that my HEARING was the reason why I started to look “anti-social” to people – I realized something needed to be done.

    So that is my story – thank you very much for sharing yours and I will definitely be checking back to read about other’s healing process.

    I know my doc said the surgery itself should take about 6 – 8 weeks to actually heal and then about 4 months for the hearing to get back to normal. All I know is I hope I’ll be able to get back to being active soon because I’m all about keeping healthy and I have already put my gym membership on hold for 3 months – but that may end up being longer. :(

    Anyways…I’ll end this as it’s gotten long – I just have SO much to talk about when it comes to this issue. Again – thank you so VERY much for sharing your story and for everyone who’s responded to your blog – you have no idea (or well, maybe you do!) how much it helps to know that I’m not the only one going through this. :)

    Thanks and I hope you heal perfectly. :D

    • Keri-Ann – I’m happy and thankful to have the company of all of you! It’s great that this site is working to be a resource for people.

      Your story reminds me so much of mine. The idea of people thinking of you as anti-social because of your hearing, your second-nature ability to keep your ear dry, and the effects of countless ear infections have resonated with me. Thank you for sharing your story with us; I really do appreciate it. Although I’ve advanced somewhat since I started my journey, your story triggers so many memories.

      I hope your recovery is quick and successful!

      Please, please do keep in touch. I come back and read these comments whenever there is a new one, so I look forward to hearing how you’re doing in the future.

  • Well I guess I have made it to the end of it all. I took my hearing test last week. I was told that my hearing is probably as good as its gonna get. I was somewhat disappointed with the outcome. I guess the fact that I have some hearing back should be a big positive note. Now I understand that the 97 to 98% success rate means they can restore some kind of hearing with the surgery. Tests show that I have restored about 25% of my hearing at 4 feet. Past that everything is very distorted. They are not sure that a hearing device will help because of the distortion and have no idea why the distortion is there. That is one thing that I have noticed about this surgery, there is a lot of not really sure and have no idea about the results. It sure was a lot of discomfort and pain for the end result. And now I am also having earache pain in my right ear, days at a time and again no one knows why. It has been 4 months since the proceedure and I am still getting disolved packing in my throat. That thick salty nasty taste I am quite tired of. So Richard I told you I would let you know the outcome and thats about it. I will let you know if there is any changes.

    • I appreciate you coming back to tell us how you did. I know that taste you’re talking about, and I’m hopeful that it will decrease and disappear over time.

      Like you, I wasn’t entirely pleased with the amount of hearing I recovered, too. Then again, I’m now able to shower without an earplug and go swimming. For me, there was more to the procedure than hearing recovery.

      Are you a recipient of any of these “fringe benefits”?

      • Today makes two weeks since my surgery. Type two tympanoplasty. I cant remember the last time I got water in my ears. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go in a pool and put my head under water. was that difficult for you?? the only other concern I have is I took a decongestant a claritin d and my ear hurt that same day I am hoping that would not cause any problems. I asked the doc assistant before I took it she said it was fine but I am concerned wish I never took it. it’s very strong. so i just wanted to write about it to give others a head up

        • Adrianna: My 2 cents is Claritin D is crap. I took it for years for allergies and then I discovered Allegra D (12 hour) and it works better without the looniness of Claritin D. Just my opinion though, if you’re doctor says take Claritin D you might wanna ask him about Allegra D or even Zyrtec D. All of these are over the counter now at your pharmacy.

  • My doctor said that having a hole in your ear drum, is not good because it could cause infections. It’s close to your brain,that is the reason I had it. My hearing was great before,but the doctor said I couldn’t swim. Im in week two and doing sctivites,just no jogging or heavy excercise. Im not back to work because my job requires some heavy lifting. The hard part for me is not being able to hear well because of the packing. I have trouble sleeping because Im not so active. Sometimes I get little dizzy just because my sleep is not great and I have to take meds to sleep with. Right now I say I wish I would not had it done,but the other part of me says. Would I have gone without swimming my whole life? Im doing much better than two weeks ago thats for sure. So that is a positive! I don’t want to have it again if it does not repair. My doctor said I was healing well. Any feed back helps.

    • Berm, it’s going to get better. Just give it some time. I panicked after still not feeling well after a few months – it just needed more time. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing better than two weeks ago! Every block of two weeks will make you two weeks better!

      Good luck. :)

  • Adam, has your ringing stopped or decreased at all? Mine is not as prominent as it was a few days ago. Each day it seems to become less and less noticeable. Hopefully it will be completely gone in the next few days. Best of luck to you guys.

  • Caleb, The ringing is still pretty loud and hasn’t lessened……oh well I guess everyone’s recovery is a little different.

  • hey guys..i just came back to let you know that i’m still going through the healing process..i got over excited about my hearing getting better so i stopped using my eardrops :( an infection came but the doctor told me not to worry..i’m still using the eardrops. been using it for 3 months now & i wonder, when my ear gets blocked how do i still keep using the eardrops because it doesnt go directly int the ear..the dried packing keeps blocking it..i’m still using the ear plugs tho..been using them since i had the surgery..any advice? i would appreciate any help. thank u! ;)

  • Hello again! I just had to come back and post to people who (should) understand. :)

    As far as the ear goes that had the surgery – right now it’s still just healing…it’s been about 2 1/2 weeks now – and i’m FINALLY starting to get some feeling back in my ear…there’s still some numbness, but it’s not nearly like it was. It actually feels like my right ear is a part of my head again! lol. Course, the doc said NOT to pop my ear at all…so of course that ear started popping on its own last week and it’s been driving me NUTS! Did you (or anyone else who may read this) have this problem? Everytime I swallow or sometimes just breathing makes it pop. My next appt is Tuesday so HOPEFULLY it hasn’t affected anything – but we will see.

    But I’m very excited and happy – I got a hearing aid in my left ear. I have hearing loss in both – and i hope hope hope that my right ear (surgery ear) will eventually have hearing returned to it, as my doc says COULD/SHOULD happen with the surgery – obviously though, it will take months to do…but the hearing aid in my left ear is an absolute GOD SEND!

    I don’t think I read if you, Richard, have a hearing aid or not – and I don’t remember anyone else saying anything about having to have one. But I can not tell you how awesome it is to be able to hear people again!

    Anyways…Later!

  • I am in week 3 of recovery from my second tympanoplasty. Yep…both ears have been done as a result of life long ear infections, Eustachian tube dysfunction and PE tubes that fell out and the holes never healed plus an unfortunate accident with shampooing using a shower massage on full blast. I have had the same experiences that you all have mentioned on this website…the pain (take the meds as prescribed to stay ahead of the pain), the swooshing heart beat tinnitus which increases with physical activity-even walking, the yucky salty taste on the sides of the tongue-even when drinking water, the snapping and popping as the ear heals, intermittent hearing the sounds like a broken stereo speaker, and an intolerance to loud low and high pitched sounds. I wear a hearing aid in my left ear which I had turned up a bit to help me out during recovery from the healing right ear. It took about 3-4 months for the hearing to return to my left ear when I had that ear done. I expect the same for my right ear. I am patient with the healing process. It just takes a long time to really heal well. Best wishes to all of you!

  • Well its been a month and Im feeling much better. I did have snap,crackles and pops. I still do. Its getting better and Im feeling more and more like my old self. I do have to say loud enviroments bother me. I guess that will come with time. Im not swimming or lifting yet. I see my doctor this Wednesday hope its still ok.

  • aye berm do u still have pitched sounds? i still have them :(

  • Richard thanks for your article. Around July8th, I was surfing, and was tossed straight to the bottom, left side of my head first. The impact, and the hydraulic pressure caused by a earful of seawater caused my eardrum to rip away from the edges, not typical, they say. If you look at a clock face, from 9 o’clock to 4-5o’clock was peeled back, like halfway peeling the seal from a yogurt container foil seal.

    I knew what had happened immediately, as I had a very slight traumatic perforation in 1998, when thrown from a Jet Ski. It was two little holes near the middle of the eardrum, which healed on their own. When you perforate your tympanic membrane in water, you lose all sense of balance, the first time in ’98 I struggled, the recent one I nearly drowned, as the impact was so hard, it sent seawater through my Eustachian Tube and into my throat. I was in 3-4 feet of water and could not stand up, it was a bit scary.

    Knowing what had happened, I finally got out of the water, and told my wife, “we have to go to a doctor, I perforated my eardrum”. She gave a weird look, and asked when.

    “Now”, I said. We gathered the children, dropped them off with my sister in law and headed to the beach doctor.

    Of course they sent a Physician Assistant to come see me. I told her what happened, she looked in my ear, and ZIP, BANG, she was off to find a doctor.

    They gave me Vicodin, and some Antibiotic drops, and said it would heal on it’s own. Funny thing, they assumed this without seeing the hole. “We can’t tell how big it is because of all the blood in there, but it’ll be okay”.

    A month later, no improvement, and a pending job offer is temporarily declined, until i get it fixed. I go to an ENT. He said the first doctor was a bit negligent with his “it’ll be okay” diagnosis. I was scheduled for Tympanoplasty.

    My surgery was today, technically yesterday morning. They were able to use tissue from my Tragus to use as a patch. They also were able to do everything through my ear canal, so I didn’t have to get my ear half cut off to get it fixed; this was relieving.

    Right now I’m bandaged like in your picture above. In the morning, I go to see the ENT Doctor/Surgeon (same guy). I have a ton of questions, as it affects my employment, but also stuff like, swimming, flying, sneezing, etc; when can I do those again?

    Sorry for the long post, but I’ll come back here with follow up info, as your site was the first to pop up on Google, and was helpful to me. I’m 35 years old by the way. Thank you.

    Robert

    Don’t know if these still work when searching the net but:
    Keywords: Tympanoplasty ear surgery recovery tympanic time Stapes Malleus Incus Hammer anvil stirrup Ossicles

  • Robert H, mine was not done from the ear canal. Im on my month 2, I lift alot for work. I have not been back to work. I was able to sneeze towards the last month,swimming he gave me ok last week but I was to scared. Flying Im ok this month, but also will be scared. I think its all a adjustment. It takes time.

  • I had the eardrum repair and middle ear prosthesis done the first time in 1980. It was a waste. I am scheduled to have it done again on 9/18, hopefully with better results. Dr. has told me that I should be able to go back to work in 2-3 days, but after reading your posts I am not so sure about that. Was the pain from this a mild nuisance or all out?

  • It’s now been two months since my surgery and a little over a month since I first made a comment on this post. My behind the ear incision doesn’t hurt anymore and I can wear glasses comfortably. My graft healed to my ear drum. So, my hole is patched. I am now waiting for the gel and foam packing in the middle ear to dissolve and for the ear drum to thin. I guess the ear drum becomes thicker when it’s patched and as it heals it thins out again. This is very necessary for hearing. Although I can hear using the repaired ear. Optimal hearing won’t be back for another 2 months. I don’t have to worry about water in the ear while showering any longer and I was able to ride mild roller coasters on vacation. (The Cyclone at Coney Island was clickety clack wicked-loved it.) Best wishes to all.

    • Susan, thank you for coming back and giving us an update. It’s the reports of all of these commenters, much more than myself, that make this site a valuable resource.

      I’m glad you’re healing well! It’s remarkable how long that packing will take to dissolve! Just hang in there.

  • I am happy to have found this site as my 13 year old daughter is schedule for Tymanoplasty and ossicular chair reconstruction Sep. 30th. They So downplayed the healing process!

    She is a serious dancer…do you think that this is going to prevent her from being able to dance? She has an audition in Dec for the Performing Arts HS she wants to attend and I am now very concerned with how the impaired hearing and balance are going to affect her…

    I’ll certainly be mentioning all of this to her surgeon, but I wanted the opinions of people who have actually had the proceedure

    • Michelle,

      Hello! I’m sure you will get other replies – but I come here from time to time to read about everyone’s procedures…it has been 2 months since I had my own tympanoplasty (and also a mastoidechtomy at the same time) – and I have always been active as far as going to the gym / being active…my doc gave me the ok to go back and I’ve had NO issues at all. my surgery was july 21st.
      everyone’s healing is obviously different as is their reason for needing the surgery. i myself just had over 25 years of tubes in my ears and 25 years of ear aches – and it just ripped apart after years of dealing with this.
      i wish your daughter luck!!! :)

    • I certainly couldn’t do anything near dancing after my surgery. As you’ve read, I couldn’t participate in my gym class for months. I’m sure this is different for everyone, but I think that you may have to re-prioritize some elements of your daughter’s life, perhaps.

  • I had surgery July 9 and I feel it took me a while to get active again. Im now back to almost normal as far as being active. Loud noises still bother me. It all depends I think.

  • Richard, Thanks a lot for posting on this It is great stuff to read. I just had Tympanoplasty 3 days ago. I have Hiccuped and belched with my mouth closed and experienced some popping in my ear when doing so. Just worried that I have dislodged my graft. Wondering if you are any one else could comment on what it feels like when this happens. or if you have done something simular and not dislodged there graft.

    I also experience some pressure build up in my ear when I chew food. will let everyone know what happens during my followup in 2 weeks. Thanks again for the blog on this.

    • Martin, you’re very welcome!

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the sensations you’ve having. They’re very common. However, if you’re really concerned, call your surgeon. Seriously. It’s better to be put to rest than to worry.

  • Martine, I have alot pressure eating and sometimes bleeding. My ear is ok now. My doctor said it was normal.

  • My tympanoplasty was done in March 09 and I thought I would hear very well. The dr. took the packing out and I took a hearing test. My head feels like a coconut and I really can’t hear any better. Is there still more packing in my ear? Can I use ear drops to clean my ear? I am very sad that I can’t hear clearer. How often do they have to do another operation to get it right?

  • Hey Everyone, I am Sam, I am 27 and live in London, England.

    Thanks for all the useful information on this site. I had my Tympanoplasty on Friday afternoon. I felt no real pain until the early hours of Sunday morning and I have been on painkillers every 4-5 hours since (it’s now Tuesday evening). I am experiencing sharp stabbing pains, throbbing which is like listening to your own pulse, my head also feels like it is in a bubble, diziness and a sore jaw and also a strange numbness in my tastebuds on the right side of my tongue. From reading everyone elses stories this would appear quite normal and all part of the healing process.

    I had a myringoplasty (I believe its a similar procedure) around 14 years ago. This was unsuccessful due to infection. After 14 years of worsening infections and some hearing loss I elected to have surgery again and hope this will releive the infections. Without wanting to sound unpleasant having discharge running out of your ear every few weeks was beginning to get me down. I am hoping that if this attempt is successful I will be able to swim and wash my hair without fearing I may trigger yet another ear infection.

    I am glad I stumbled across this site and feel that through reading others experiences I have been able to put my worries to rest. The pain I am experiencing appears as normal as it can be!

    Thanks for your help and good luck to anyone else going through this x

  • Hi I am Alison, from Cheshire England. had my surgery on 26th November, a tympanoplasty with new ear bones and also closing up of the mastoid cavity left by a previuos op 17 years ago. was extremely apprehensive beforehand, but surgery went well and I came home same evening. Sneezed that night and panicked as ear bled all night, went back to see my lovely surgeon following day and he checked it, all seems OK. Things healing nicely now it seems, but my hearing is odd – I can hear things at high pitch in my ear, which I couldn’t before, but they are on a slight time delay, almost like an echo. Does this settle down when packing dissolves etc? Back to hospital on 18th for another check up, still off work and will probably stay off for 4 weeks to ensure I don’t catch any infection or swine flu from work colleagues! Even if my hearing doesn’t improve, then I will be able to swim etc without fear of ear infection, something I have not been able to do since I was a child. Hope you are all recovering well too. Alison

  • Hey there Richard, your website has been informative, thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve had a hole in my ear drum for almost two years, but only recently had the opportunity to have a tympanoplasty, due to insurance issues. My operation was on the 30th of last month. I’m experiencing many of the symptoms that I’ve read about here, draining, bleeding, vertigo, all of which has become compounded by a particularly nasty head-cold. My ENT, who I respect deeply and has been treating me since I was a child, prescribed oral antibiotics as well as drops to avoid infection. I’ve been taking a barrage of decongestants, but I’m afraid that between the head cold and the drops (which seem to be hastening the dissolving of the packing) my graft has dislodged and failed. Although my drops seem to be kept from seeping into my inner ear, (every time I used drops previous to this surgery, they found their way into my sinuses, of course) when I sniff or blow my nose (I do so as gently as possible, which my ENT said should be alright) I have that familiar sensation of air moving past my eardrum. I won’t be able to get a hold of my doctor until Monday, but would love some piece of mind before then. Have you experienced anything like this while in recovery? I’d love to hear that it’s possible that my graft is acting like a flap and letting this air through because it just hasn’t completely healed yet, but I’ve got a bad feeling….

    Thanks for listening!
    Randy

    • I didn’t experience anything like you mentioned – the sensation of air moving past the eardrum.

      Unfortunately, it’s Monday now. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner! Hopefully you were able to speak with your doctor today?

      • Hello…I never received an email saying that you replied, (I thought i had notifications enabled but I might have been mistaken) so sorry it took long to get back to you. I’ve been told that the graft seems to be in place, it’s now a month after the surgery. My ENT says it looks like it is in place, but seemed concerned that it isn’t healing more by now. Apparently I don’t have long for the graft to start becoming living tissue, as opposed to just grafted dead skin, before it shrivels and will need to be removed. When I use ear drops in my bad ear I can taste them in the back of my throat not too long after, and I can tell there’s still a hole my eardrum when I sniff too hard or go up a mountain (my left ear pops, my right ear doesn’t need to.) I’m hoping that my ear just hasn’t healed yet, but I have concerns…

        I’ll let you know the later outcome. Hope all is well.

        • You always something’s wrong when the doctor looks in your ear and says “Uh-oh.”

          Turns out my graft is sticking nicely, nice enough to seal my eardrum at least. My doctor seemed more concerned now that the drum itself is now concave; a sign that the eustachian tube is not functioning in my right ear.

          Funny thing is he say’s it’s either temporary and will go away, or has always been there. He’s been looking in my ear since I was 8 years old, so I’m hoping that he would have noticed it by now, and it’s temporary. Otherwise, it’s inevitable that the ear will re-infect, blow out a new hole, or both. I’m on anti-inflammatorys now, and have noticed a significant amount of drainage and noise, but the drum still feels pressure. Wish me luck, I’ll report back!

          Well wishes to everyone who’s posted!

          • Well, I went back to the doctors, and he looked in my ear drum and says he see’s a perforation. It may have been caused by my malfunctioning eustachian tube. He wants to give it a month and see what the hole does, and it it’s still there, he wants to put a patch on it.

          • randy i want to know if your eardrum is ok now..i think im experiencing that air too passing in my eardrum..and i had a bad feeling too..

          • Hey Randy, I’m replying to one of your posts from March 2, 2010. You had mentioned that your doctor found a hole and that he was going to give it a month and then try a patch. I’m curious if you ever got the patch applied and if it worked? I’m a year and a half since my Tympanoplasty and the doctor found a hole last week. Needless to say I’m a bit devastated so trying to figure out my options.

  • Hi Richard,
    Thanks so much for setting this website up – it seems to be turning into a tympanoplasty support group!
    I had a tympanoplasty in April of last year – I was extremely nauseous and unwell until the packing was removed. My hearing has not returned to normal. I had a perforated drum but had few hearing difficulties prior to the surgery. I have now been categorised with moderate hearing loss and have been told that I will have to purchase a hearing aid – at a cost of nearly 3000 dollars. I’m just wondering has anyone else experienced this post-surgery or has everyone else’s hearing returned to normal.
    Kind regards,
    Felix.

    • Felix,

      I’m really sorry to hear about your experience. Really, very sorry. Hopefully someone will have some feedback for you. Please, take care.

    • Felix
      I had my tympanoplasty April 3, 2009 almost 4 months after my accident. I had a welding spark go into my right ear and destroyed my eardrum. I was told by my ENT that my hearing would be restored but too what extent remained to be seen. Because the tissue used to replace the eardrum was much thicker than the normal eardrum, it would stand to reason that the chances of the hearing being restored to normal was not very likely. Since the surgery, I have regained normal face to face conversation hearing at about 4 feet not much at all after that. The graph on my hearing test looked more like a ski slope than a horizontal line. After the surgery my right ear was extremely sensitive to loud noises. The ENT and Audiologist were not sure if I would be able to wear a powerful hearing aid necessary to restore my hearing. They were concerned that the powerful amplification might cause other problems and be more that I wanted to deal with. But as luck would have it, it was an incredible fix. I am extremely happy with the end result. Felix as you were saying, my hearing aid was about $3000 but I believe it was worth every penny. Good luck with what ever you decide.
      Now in closing, I would again like to thank Richard for the Blog. It has been a blessing for me through the injury, surgery and recovery. I have learned from the experiences of others and hope I have been able to help someone with mine.

      I am always here,
      Billy Bagby

  • To Felix- I have hearing aids now, too (digital completely in the ear). It’s not so bad. Hearing aids bring your hearing up to normal and really have some amazing tech features. I consider both of my tympanoplasties a success (left 2007, right 2009). The holes in both of my ears are healed. I am waiting for one of my ear drums to thin out a little bit more, but have been pleased with the whole process. I knew that recovery of a little hearing was probable and that complete recovery was not going to happen. I really wanted the holes repaired to prevent outside infection and to be able to shower and swim. My hearing loss was due to chronic childhood infections and normal aging (I’m sure listening to loud music and going to concerts didn’t help). I’m 44 years old by the way. The perforations were due to ear trauma (shower massage mishap). So, my mild-moderate hearing loss was not a result of my surgery. I hear the pain over the cost of the hearing aids, but they will bring your hearing to a normal level. Good luck.

  • Hi guys, great information on this site. I am scheduled to have my tympanoplasty next Monday but am having some serious second thoughts. I have had a small perforation for about 5 years, but never had an ear infection or major problems. The worst part is that I can not swim in the ocean because the salt water KILLS if it gets in my ear (as I’m sure you know). My question is did you guys think that all the recovery is worth being able to swim? If I had the infection problems some of you did, I would think it is a no brainer, but I’m just not sure. Berm, you seem the most skeptical so I would love to hear what you think in hindsight and in my position.

  • philippines. i had my tympanoplasty last january 15, 2010. during the first few days, i can hear my pulse in my repaired ear but right now i can’t hear anything but popping sounds when i swallow. is this normal? it has been 2 weeks since my tympanoplasty and i can’t hear anything. i’m scared. i’m scheduled for a follow-up checkup on feb.3, but my fear of not hearing anymore is killing me day by day.. please help..

    • To Clark~ Oh my goodness! You need to relax. You just had the surgery done. It will take a 6 months to get your hearing back. Your middle ear gel foam packing needs to dissolve. Your ear drum needs to thin out as well. It is thick due to the graft placed on it. The graft needs to attach to the ear drum and then it needs to thin out. Right now your ear drum is swollen, red and resembles nothing close to a normal looking ear drum. It’ll be the same on Feb. 3rd. All of the crackling, popping and pulse sounds are normal recovery effects. Concentrate on healing-sneeze big and loud, don’t hold it in, don’t use a straw to drink, don’t blow your nose hard, keep the ear dry when showering to prevent any chance of infection. Try not to work yourself up. It’ll take time to heal. Be good to yourself. :)

  • Hi, I want to let you know I had the tympanoplasty in July. Before that I was getting lots of ear aches and infections and had a hard time flying. I didnt know I was not able to swim. Til about 3 months before surgery. It was a tough surgery and hard recovery. I hated the recovery the popping,bleeding,not be able to chew. My hearing is great and Im back to normal. I probably wont do a concert any time soon, but that is not a loss. It takes time and you will recover. Just remember its a long ride. I know I say I would never do it again but my hearing was fine before and I had minimal pain before. Now my hearing is great and no pain.

  • thank you very much susan! i’m just kinda worried.. i hope my tympanoplasty will turn out to be just fine..

  • Thank you Berm.. by the way, i’m from the philippines… i’ll keep you updated on my recovery.. i hope it’ll be fine.. no infections, no complications..

    • Hey Clark, are you a Filipino? I have had the same procedure and it’s already more than a month since the operation. I had those sensations or feelings before ( post-op) I still have a feelings of clogged or full on my both ears, but I can hear. My ENT surgeon told me that it takes time to notice the improvement of hearing for about 3 to 6 months.

  • First of all, thank you for this site, Richard. It seems all the medical sites that take up the top 200 listings of the search engines only focus on the actual procedure instead of answering the many questions that patients have following a tympanoplasty.

    I actually had a severe random blowout on my eardrum about 4 months ago that woke me up in the middle of the night. It’s scary when you go to a well-known ENT and after looking in your ear he says,”Well, I’ve never seen that before.” I went in for surgery and he discovered a cyst had attached itself to the back of my eardrum which required him to remove 80% of my eardrum.

    It’s been one week since my surgery and I am dealing with the same healing anxiety that everyone else is experiencing. Every time I yawn or hiccup, I freak out hoping I didn’t mess anything up in there. I haven’t had a whole lot of pain or dizziness, but I have had the ringing, the popping of my ear when I swallow, and one symptom I never expected. I actually lost my sense of taste after my surgery. From what I’ve read, there is a nerve that runs behind the ear drum that controls your taste buds and can easily be damaged during a tympanoplasty which can cause temporary loss of taste. The annoyance of not being able to hear a thing is the main downside, though. Being a full-time musician, this is torture. My doctor didn’t seem to be concerned when I called in to update him on my symptoms, so I will take that as a good thing.

    It’s just the waiting game now. Thanks to all who posted here. This site is gold for “post-tympaniplastians”.

    • Bobby, you’re very welcome. I’m amazed every time someone says they enjoy these comments and posts.

      That story is awful, and I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you. Let us know if you have any questions or if you need anything. We’ll all do our best to help.

      Just have hope that things are going to be okay. They will.

    • Hi Bobby!
      How’s ur hearing now?I hope your hearing came back to normal already.Nov of 2009 I had my eardrum ruptured…and so my hearing went form normal to moderate hearing loss…and the only thing that depressed me the most is not being able to hear sounds from outside of my ear,especially my voice. I sing in a church choir and it was really depressing because I wasn’t able to hear the accompaniment clearly, even the voice coming out of my mouth.. and sometimes they tell me I am out of tune,so I figured I had to put my hand in front of my mouth extending to my ear so that i’ll be able to hear my voice(my choirmates knew about this and they were very supportive but they don’t know how many times I cried at night because of not being able to sing properly)…It came to a point where I had to record my voice at home while singing, and listen to it with my other ear just to make sure I am not out of tune..and I cry afterwards.haha!
      My doctor didn’t seem concerned about it too, maybe he doesn’t know it’s that important to me.
      I had my tympanoplasty op last September and I hope it’ll be okay soon…I can’t wait to sing my heart out again! =)

      and to Richard, I know this was posted 2 years ago…how are you now? I just had mine recently.. I just googled post tympanoplasty recovery ( to see if the recovery symptoms I am feeling are normal) and came through ur site. You don’t know how much I felt at ease knowing I am not alone… I wish everyone here Goodluck and God’s grace. =)

      • So happy to have found this site. I particularly related to Bloise’s story about not being able to hear her own voice when she sings. I also experienced the same thing and ended up dropping out of my choral group. Bloise, if you are still folloing this site I would love to hear how you are doing.

  • I thought OMG I drank from a straw,I sneezed…Everything so far is ok. Its been since July and my ear feels ok. It feel full,but that is it. I can hear,swim…it takes time to heal.

  • hello! got some sad news. my doctor told me that the graft they put in my ear slipped out from its position, i don’t know why. he shall soon refer me to the ear specialist to see if i can undergo another tympanoplasty. he also told me there will be lesser chances that the graft will hold on if i decided to have another tympanoplasty because of the scars left by my first tympanoplasty. i really want my eardrum fixed. i’m still praying for it.

    • Clark, I’m really sorry to hear that. You’re in our thoughts. Let us know what happens.

    • I understand what you are going through, I had tympanoplasty done twice on my left ear as well as my right. It is extremely frustrating when things don’t go as planned but after all of my operations I have almost normal hearing! Be sure to not get discouraged and keep a positive attitude! Good luck! :)

  • Hi. I had tympanoplasty on my left ear Feb 5. The worst part was when they sent me home the day of surgery. I was SOOOO nauseous, vomiting, couldn’t move to even go to the bathroom! I NEVER want to feel like that again! God bless my mom for taking care of me like a little baby! After a couple days that went away and I just vegged for about a week. It is important to eat properly as low blood sugar made me get the shakes and tingles, which made the dizziness even worse. The problem I’m having now is my neck, shoulder and arm on my right side – guess it’s from having to lay on that side for so long – having to get massage to try and relieve the pain. The doctor says it is healing well. My hearing is a little better, but the packing has not dissolved yet, so I am hoping for much better results than I have presently. It sure gets boring not being able to get out and exercise! My energy level is way down!!! I’ve started taking vitamins again and am tempted to get some of those 5-hour energy potions. Guess time and patience is what is needed now. Thanks for your blog! It’s always helpful to hear what others have experienced!

    • PS: Keep Q-tips out of your ear! My arm accidentally got bumped and the Q-tip shot into my eardrum like a bullet. I have a friend whose mom was cleaning her ear and her husband opened the bathroom door and bumped her elbow and the same thing happened to her!

  • It’s been almost 3 months now since my surgery. The packing seems to be dissolved mostly, maybe a little left. I get some ringing occasionally. I guess I’m 75% now re my hearing, not quite sure. Thinking I’ll never be “normal” again, though – the barometric pressure can really mess with me. Still wish I hadn’t stuck the Q-tip in my ear! Guess it could be worse!

    • I had my surgery three months ago and will see my surgeon for my third post surgery check-up next week. At present, I have fluid in my ear, slight discomfort in my ear, and hear crackling sounds occasionally during the night. I wonder if that is normal and I am anxious to see the doctor to see if all is as it should be. I am so glad to read about the time frame for complete healing..seems so long. I wear a hearing aid in the “surgery” ear as well as the other one but have not been able to have the aid for the surgery ear in three months. Being an active person involved in lots of activities, I have felt frustration and, at times, grief. Hearing is minimal and I wonder if the packing has completely dissolved. So good to have found this site as I now know that healing is going to be a slow process. I probably should not have delved into activities so soon. Thanks , Richard, for providing a place to express concerns. Here I know others understand.

  • Hi richard.

    I just had my Tympanoplasty yesterday and im at home today. I am having pain and i was wondering what the recovery is like. Please be honest with me. i am 15 but like you in a way that i have never ever missed one day of School even if i was a little sick, but i am taking this time off for recovery. I need some answers because i am hearing my pulse alot! Its driving me insane, i have occasional ringing and i have had quite sharp pains. Also hoow did you shower?

    • Hello there!

      I’m sure that by now these problems have mostly subsided. For showering, I had my Mom help me wash my hair in the bathroom sink. while covering my ear with an earplug and a layer of plastic layered over it when a cup held up to make a tight fit.

  • I was born with a 60% hearing loss and have undergone 14 operations to get it fixed, including tympanoplasty 4 times (twice on each ear). It is amazing what can be accomplished these days with surgeries! My last operation was almost 2 weeks ago and I can already notice a huge difference in my hearing which is just amazing and I am so excited to go back for my post-op visit to get the packing taken out.

    For those of you who have gotten sick after your procedures, I believe that it has a lot to do with the type of anethesia you receive. With 14 operations I have had plenty of time and chances to get it just right and I no longer have any sickness after my operations. I normally wasn’t able to eat anything except for jello and apple sauce after my surgeries before we figured out the anethesia was the source of my sickness. With this last surgery I was able to eat anything the day of my visit! So if you know you get sick, be sure to talk to your doctor because maybe they can change up your anethesia and hopefully that will solve everything!

    If you live in Florida and are planning on having the operation done, Dr. Silverstein is absolutely wonderful and his whole staff has just been so nice! (www.silversteininstitute.com) Good luck to everybody who is planning on having it done, it’s such a blessing to have a second (well…14th?) chance at hearing! :)

    • Chelsey, thanks for your perspective on this! I completely agree — many of the problems post-operation are anesthesia. I remember how much it bothered me when I went for graft operations as a child. It’s scary stuff, really.

  • And also, they say to never stick anything in your ear that is smaller than your elbow!! They have ear drops out that help to dry up your ears if you get water in them and also helps with removing wax!

  • I had bilateral tympanoplasties done in the 80’s. Now some many years later my right ear is still great but my left is gradually lossing some hearing and I have recently develeloped tinnitus. Overall it was a miracle to regain most of my hearing back then and lose the risk of menningitis.

    glad your doing fine.

  • thanks for this blog. It’s nice to see input from people with surgery!

  • Richard, great info on here! Hopefully, I can add a little info here for the folks needing tympanoplasty and similar procedures due to cholesteatoma.

    I had a modified radical mastoidectomy with tympanoplasty on my left ear when I was about 14. Due to the more serious nature of that surgery and the damage caused by the cholesteatoma, all of the ossicular structure had to be replaced, as well as a cartilege eardrum graft made. For about 20 years, I enjoyed remarkably good results out of that ear given the extensiveness of that surgery and prior pathology. Only recently (I’m 33 now) has there been any noticeable diminution of hearing in that ear, but in having a strong right ear, I never had to wear a hearing aid or contemplate further surgery.

    However, one morning I woke up, and I just couldn’t hear worth a crap from my right ear. I thought possibly I had an infection, so I started taking Mucinex and popping my ears more frequently in hopes that this would correct the new deafness. After about 2 months, nothing happened, so I went to the doctor who had been maintaining my previously operated upon ear (cleanings, monitoring, etc.) and he recognized what he thought was a cholesteatoma in my right ear. Sure enough, after he passed me across the hall of the otolaryngology center to a doctor experienced in identification and correction of cholesteatoma, the diagnosis was made, a CT scan ordered, and a hearing test administered. My right ear hearing was now only as strong as my left ear. Before I even left the Dr.’s office, he was working on getting me a loaner hearing aid so that I wouldn’t have to suffer my new deafness when around others at work or home.

    So, I just had a tympanomastoid type III w/ ossicular chain reconstruction yesterday. The operation was over at about 2:45 pm, and I was in the car on the way home at 4:15, still dizzy and very sleepy but otherwise feeling fine. Got home at 5:30, after my wife swung by daycare to pick our daughter up and ran into the drugstore to get some mild pain meds. I slept from the moment I got home until a little past 8 this morning. I feel surprisingly good. I have decent balance and mobility, and any impairment I have is probably more due to the mild pain meds and residual effects of anesthesia and hunger than to the effects of the operation. Honestly, I think I may go back to work on Monday if I can pull away from the pain meds sometime on Sunday, which I think I can do.

    In yesterday’s surgery, the doctor made the incision behind the ear, removed the cholesteatomatous growth, did a light cleaning on the mastoid, and replaced a part of the incus which had failed or disconnected due to the disintegrating effects of the enzymes present in the cholesteatoma. According to my wife, per the doctor while I was in recovery, an eardrum recreation was not necessary, which is obviously great news for me, and will probably mean that my hearing has a much greater chance to return to normal.

    For the time being, however, I have a loaner hearing aid in my left ear to compensate for its historical weakness until (hopefully) the hearing in my right ear returns to the normal range, of which my doctor seemed to believe was the most likely outcome.

    So, I’ve had cholesteatomas in both ears now, and had successful operations to correct them. The more extensive operation in my left ear has left a slight impairment due to the fact that I effectively have no ear canal to compress and direct the sounds (canal wall down)as well as having a cartilege – as opposed to skin – tympanic membrane graft. The cartilege prevents a future retraction of the eardrum into the middle ear, preventing another cholesteatoma, but obviously doesn’t have the sensitivity of an epitheleal graft.

    20 hours after my surgery, I’m feeling good and I’m excited that I probably won’t be laid out for the next 2 weeks. Who wants to burn all their vacation on recovery from surgery?

    By the way, I rather enjoyed the anesthesia as it was first administered. It feels almost like first big drop on an old wooden roller coaster! Coming out of the anesthesia, it’s better to just go back to bed and sleep if off than to try and fight it. The worst part of this operation was getting the IV inserted, and that was even less painful than giving blood for a physical checkup.

    • A few corrections: I did receive a tympanic graft. I even have a divot above my ear to prove it. The Dr. had to shave up into my hair (and I’d just gotten a haircut!) to create a spot to dig it out.

      Still, no pain to report. I am astonished. My first surgery 20 years ago was miserable. This time, I was on about 2 Aleve a day starting just two days after the surgery, and Friday (day 7 since surgery) was the first day I took nothing at all.

      I did go back to work for part of a day on Monday (I work in IT) and regular hours the rest of the week. Honestly, the first day I felt REALLY NORMAL was Friday (day 7). The biggest symptoms of my first week of recovery were a slight change of taste and a super sensitive tongue – salty food was killing my mouth – as well as constant thirst. Water is cheap!

      Right now (day 8) I still have a little trickle of discharge in my ear canal that doesn’t ever amount to more than a speck of the red-to-red/brown fluid on a cotton ball, and only a few times a day. I am a little concerned because it doesn’t smell good; it honestly reminds me of the smell of the fluids that would come out of my ear when I was a kid and prone to infections. I have placed a call to the nurse’s pager and will get this checked out, but it’s Saturday, and the day before July 4th. Bad timing. Oh, well. It appears Berm actually had some puss-y infectious liquid, and his eardrum came through.

      The only other thing I can think of right now is that my tragus hurts. Evidently, Doc harvested some cartilege, either for a disc to preven drum retraction, or, possibly, and much less of a good omen, to recreate a footplate connection on the stapes.

      That’s another thing. Regarding my doctor, I’ve only spoken to him the day he diagnosed me, briefly the day of the surgery, and the following Monday for him to sign a release for my return to work. My wife spoke to him briefly while I was in recovery, but she isn’t quite as interested in the details as I am, so I have no way of knowing the extent of my surgery. It’s really a point of frustration for me. However, he works in a co-practice with my regular ENT who maintains my other post-op ear.

  • Thank you to everyone who has posted on this site. Richard may you always be blessed with everything you do. I just had this surgery July 2. I had a Tympanoplasty with ossiscular reconstruction. I am in day 3 and doing very well except for the fullness I feel that comes later in the day. Not really sure what that is about, feels like someone shoved a cork in my ear and it is stuck ! Overall I was off pain meds on Sunand use tylenol occasionally. Your site has assured me to give it time and I will. I will post again after my dr visit friday. I have gone nearly 25 years with not being able to hear well and this will truly be a god send if this works.

  • I am two weeks post op and things are going very well. The pressure I was feeling was relieved when I was given drops for my ear and that took about 2 days. Right now I have some bubbling noise and some heart beat noise that I can constantly hear. I can already tell a difference so I am very excited.

  • I had my operation June 28, 2-1/2 weeks ago. Thanks, Richard for creating the only online “forum” for t-plasty recovery. Considering the discomfort and worrying following this surgery, perhaps we should start an actual forum…I think the reason that hasn’t happened is, despite how you feel a few days or weeks post-op, the vast majority of patients have excellent results.

    I had my 2 week post op a few days ago, with good news. I was terrified that I’d dislodge the graft somehow. My doctor sort of chuckled when I told him that. I think it’s important to be very careful, but we all probably worry more than we should. One thing which concerned me was the popping sound or feeling when swallowing, and sometimes spontaneously. This site was helpful in calming my fears about that.

    For me, the first week was very rough. I needed pain meds until the morning of the 4th day. On the sixth I got out of the house a little. With the 7th day being a holiday, I returned to work on the 8th. I could, and still can, tell when I’ve overexerted because of the pressure and resulting pain in my ear. Haven’t taken anything for pain since about day 9 or so, but that means I have to either ease up (go home and lay down–office work still stresses and hurts) or just deal with it. To paraphrase Richard above, take it really easy and let your head heal up for goodness sake.

    I am a paddler – solo open canoe – and clearly can’t go anywhere near a whitewater river. Shouldn’t have before, I’ve been asking for an infection by paddling unprotected since I accidentally punctured my tympanic membrane a year ago. I’m very curious about when I’ll be able to use some good earplugs and get back out on the river. I’ll let you guys know all about that as my journey progresses, including durations and earplug details – I hear you can get some that keep water out but let sound in. By the way, my hearing loss was minimal pre-op but I believe the hole was enlarging and I’m glad I went ahead and scheduled the surgery, despite the fact that I’m missing about nineteen paddling trips!

    So, at 2-1/2 weeks my pain is minimal. Packing removed and my hearing is slightly worse than pre-op with tinnitus about the same. On this, the 3rd weekend, I’ll actually get a little work done but pay close attention to the pressure and pain and ease back when it begins.

    Thanks again to Richard and all you posters,
    Elliott

    • Just had my post-op on Friday (3 weeks to the day.)

      Like most of the posters, including Elliot above, I, too, was worried that I was overexerting myself. I had a Friday surgery and was back at work the following Monday, with no pain and only mild sensations of occasional unsteadiness. Really, for me, pain was non-existent but for a slightly sore/stiff jaw muscle. It did take about 2 weeks for me to feel at 100% energy-wise, though.

      Anyway, the Dr. walked in, sucked a little bit of the remaining antibiotic goo out of my ear canal, and said, to the word, “You can get water in your ear now; also, it’s OK to blow your nose – in fact, I prefer you do so that your ears both pop.” After 3 weeks!

      Anyway, I’m only now starting to hear the popping of the packing in my ears; occasionally, I’ll experience an epiphanic pop followed by a remarkable jump in hearing levels. Intermittently, through the last 2 days (days 22 and 23), I have moments where I heard either the highs or lows with great clarity, and then the packing shifted or re-adhered to some momentarily unbound surface and my hearing subsided to “normal” low levels.

      Dr. says that if my air bone gap doesn’t close to withing 20 decibels, he will realign my prosthetic ossicular chain through my ear canal until we get good results.
      Anyway, don’t worry about the graft working or not; I was slightly careful after the surgery, but there were times when an unruly child needed by attention and suddenly I was heaving 50 pounds over my shoulder! I also carried a few servers and monitors only a week after surgery, although I was careful not to give them the usual shrug-and-strain dead lift.

      Just think of the Dr’s warnings as “just in case” guidance to prevent you from becoming a worst-case scenario, not to tell you that if you do accidentally sneeze through your nose that your surgery is a bust!

      Good luck to all. These surgeries are usually successful when measured by the air bone gap results. My Dr. says 85-90% are within 20 decibels on the first shot.

      • Well, my hearing did eventually get back up to within 20db on the air/bone conductivity comparison. This didn’t last for long, though. After reaching its peak this past spring (approximately 9 months after surgery), my hearing started to diminish again. The Doc inserted a tube during one of my regular visits but this only lasted a few months and gave no noticeable gains in hearing. This did allow him to determine the problem was middle-ear-related, most likely due to the placement of the prosthesis from the last surgery.

        So, I had another surgery last Friday, Dec. 2. This time, Doc was able to go through the ear canal. Last time, he had to go in behind my ear due to the presence of the cholesteatoma and the need to clean it out very thoroughly. I must say, this surgery through the ear canal was a breeze. I was on my feet and walking out of the recovery room 1/2 hour after being wheeled out of the OR. We even stopped by the grocery store and picked up some snacks on the way home. I am now on day 8, and pain has been very minimal.

        The only real concern thus far has been the large, very hard “plug” of dried blood that came loose and fell out of my ear this evening. It was rather disconcerting; I hope there was nothing attached to that thing that needed to stay in there! :) I am likely just being paranoid, though. Anyway, hang in there, everybody!

    • Elliott, you’re very welcome. I’m so glad to hear my site has helped you and that you’ve been taking my advice to take it easy for as long as you can afford to. Awesome. Please come back and keep us updated.

  • Richard,
    Hi, I am 34 years old and suffer from chronic middle ear problems. I have unilateral buzzing tinnitus. I have been looking into a tympanoplasty as I have bilateral perforations.
    Just wondering if you had tinnitus before your surgery? Or wondering if anyone else here had pre-op tinnitus and the effect on the tinnitus post-op?
    Also, I am having a hard time finding a surgeon. Any recommendations out there? I’m willing to travel, but I live in the midwest.
    Thank you so much!

    • I recommend Dr. A. Fishman at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I just had a tympanoplasty on Monday, so far so good. I do have tinnitus however it was worse before surgery. Richard, I found your blog on the eve of my surgery and it helped me to know what you and others have gone through during recovery. Thank you!

    • Annie
      Where in the midwest are you located. I am in St Louis. I had my Tympanoplasty last April. I have a great surgeon if you are interested.

  • P, thank you for the recommendation, I appreciate it! How is your recovery going? So good to hear that so far so good!What type of tinnitus did you have before surgery? Was it both ears? Constant? Buzzing, ringing? Could you tell immediately that it was better? Also, if I may ask, why did you need the tympanoplasty? And, did your doc recommend surgery or did you request it?
    Billy, I am also in Missouri! Yes, I am interested! Who was your surgeon?
    Thank you guys so much.

    • I had a big, huge hole in my left ear drum. The doctor recommended it. The ringing was one of the clues.
      It’s so hard to describe. It’s like a leaky faucet or a motor. Sometimes it’s like a hammer. I think it is in both ears and I can’t really tell if it’s better because today everything is muffled. No one knows what caused the hole but I’ve had ear infections for years and it might have occured during a cross country flight.

  • I had my 5 week post op a few days ago. Doc said “I see a dry eardrum, no packing, and a patch. No visible holes.” He instructed me to continue to keep it dry for two more weeks, though I can shower with an earplug now (still doing the shower cap and separate hairwash with water pic and tupperware cover), and I can paddle conservatively. The funny thing is, I don’t feel very brave about paddling right now. I feel very cautious, even though I know that my doctor’s instructions are more cautious than some I’ve seen here. Richard was right, the Tympanoplasty changes you, and the recovery apprehension lingers, though subtly, for some time.

    After the doctor checked me out, I visited with the audiologist who fitted me with Doc’s Proplugs. She insisted I use the non-vented kind, though I protested that I’d read about kayakers using vented (kayakers must roll the boat and be prepared to get wet much more so than an open boater) in order to keep water out but still hear. She stated that the vented kind will let water in. She’s the expert, but I’ve found evidence online which seems to disagree. The vented plugs apparently have only a tiny opening to allow sound but not water through. In any event, the non-vented plugs which I got still allow sound in, much more so than a plug which inserts in the ear canal. I used them in the shower for the first time today, and it seemed like a drop may have gotten in, probably operator error. I’ll get better at inserting them.

    At almost six weeks post-op my pain is very minimal, an occasional ache. My scar has blended in with the help of Vitamin E oil. I have just a little bit of a ringing sensation, and my hearing is improving every day. I went to a restaurant this evening and the ambient noise barely affected my hearing. In past weeks loud places have tended to exacerbate my sense of hearing loss. Sensations of pressure persist in the morning; these are easy to mistake for hearing loss and usually return to normal soon after my morning routine. Rubbing finger and thumb together next to my ear is getting louder and louder, though I still can’t perceive the same high pitched “shoosh” that my good ear picks up, just the bass tones. I can again enjoy music at a normal volume without the sensation of being in a sewer pipe. This is a big emotional milestone.
    I spent last weekend at a lake house with friends, we rented a ski boat. I drove the boat and held the video camera. It was a little disappointing but I just had to keep the long term goal in mind. There will be other ski boats, but this attempt at repairing my eardrum took much time, money, pain, and discomfort. Repeating it would be much less pleasant than skipping a turn on the wakeboard.

    I return to the Doc in 10 weeks or so to check up and perform a hearing test. That will be about 15 weeks post-op. For the record, I’m a 33 year old male who suffered from a punctured tympanic membrane for about a year prior to my tympanoplasty. My puncture was accidental and self-inflicted while cleaning my ear. The ear in question had been punctured about 13 years previously due to trauma, healed fine the first time but refused to do so this time.

    Hang in there my tympanoplasty friends, it does get better.
    -Elliott

    • I forgot to include a small detail that you should know: I also quit smoking on the day of my surgery. I had smoked for 17-18 years, or about half my life, and my last quit was 13 years or something like 100,000 cigarettes ago. I was absolutely terrified to quit. Being knocked out for 4 days on pain meds helped quite a bit, by the time I came around the physical withdrawals were pretty much gone. I’ll carry the psychological demons around for the rest of my life, they’re pestering me right now.
      If you smoke and you’re going to have a tympanoplasty, don’t put your recovery at risk by continuing to smoke. Once you’ve fully recovered, take advantage of your progress and stay quit. Don’t take another puff. It could be another 100,000 cigarettes before you’re able to put it down again. Cold turkey is the only way to get it over with quickly; don’t settle for cutting down or other Nicotene Replacement Therapy. These methods only prolong withdrawal and reduce your chances of quitting for good. Please check out http://www.whyquit.com if you’re considering quitting. Thanks for listening to my ex-smoker rant.
      -Elliott

      • Elliot,

        Thank you so very much for leaving these stories. Although I’m clearly beyond healing, I appreciate that you’re willing to leave a piece of your life with us. And the call to stop smoking — so true, so true. With luck, your comment will help someone.

  • Well, I visited the doc yesterday for my 8-week post op (Tympanoplasty). Bad news quickly surfaced when he noticed a hole had developed on my new drum. He placed a patch over it and administered a powder form medication and gave me a prescription for this.
    It interesting, when I visited the doctor three weeks prior before returning to work my ear was fine. I am suspect that the heavy lifting and activities at work contributed to this new hole. The doctor doesn’t seem to agree, but I am really disappointed.
    If this patch doesn’t work, he will have to go back into my ear (surgery again) lift up my new drum and place a piece of cartilage behind the hole for reinforcement and to complete the drum. I really hope I will not need surgery again :(
    Did anyone else have a similar experience after their tympanoplasty and new eardrum was placed? Thanks!

  • Mike G,
    That’s troubling news. I’ve got fingers crossed for you. Keep it dry and stay positive, eat right, get lots of sleep, lift nothing, etc. Do everything you can to help it heal.
    -Elliott

  • Hi everyone,
    I have a perforated left eardrum…got it about 2 years back. My doctor has advised me to go for a tympanoplasty…so i`ll most probably be under the knife this november.

    Anyways, a few days back..i came to another city..the temp here is much cooler than what my hometown is at this time of the year..2 days ago..my left ear started behaving strangely…it feels kinda like its “blocked”…I suspect it`s just earwax…i am not in pain…also there have been no discharges through my ear…however this feeling is quite annoying…since I`m new at this pplace…it`ll take some time to find a good doctor…in the meantime i was wondering if anyone among you had an idea as to what was wrong?

  • I underwent Typanoplasty and Mastiodectomy 3 months back in India, Bangalore.
    I am diabetic, Though the surgery went successfully without much pain, took rest for 10 days with recommended dosage of antibiotics, but after 1 month I had sinusitis but took doctor precautions by taking antibiotics and cold suppressants this took sometime to control.
    After 1 month I visited doctor as advised and it was noticed, my ear was infected with small hole in the eardrum, antibiotics was recommended and my recent status is the hole still appears but infection is controlled. It is now advised to visit after 2 months and was told hole should close automatically, informed it could have happened due to cold.
    Care should be taken water should not enter the ear and with sinusitis (nasal spray and cold tables are advised to be taken regularly)
    I am not satisfied by the surgery, only hope it will heal and the small hole will be closed automatically.

    manju

  • Hi,

    Just posting my 2 cents. My left ear as a child had nine sets of tubes for drainage issues. Last one was when I was 18 entering college and my ear drum was weak but hearing was decent and it had no holes. That was 17 years ago and not a change in my left ear. Then, highly competitive tennis this past June had an overhead land right on my left ear and blew the weak ear drum out. I debated all summer but trying to wade in a swimming pool with my two year old and four year old boys with an earplug in my ear just wasn’t suitable as well as the obvious hearing loss. Thus, I went in for a tympanoplasty on October 4, 2010.

    I found this blog about two days after my surgery as like many of you, I underestimated the state I was going to be in following the surgery. Everything you experienced (ringing, loud hammers, pain, etc) I experienced too including the doubt that things were actually getting better.

    I just had my 2nd follow up appointment today (at 6 weeks) and got a mixed bag of good news and bad news. First, the ear drum is in one piece with no holes after the doctor did his Hoovering on the foam gel he could see. However, after doing a hearing test my hearing was really worse than he expected. It was kind of pointless for me during the hearing test too – I could tell the woman was pushing sounds to my ear but I just didn’t want to guess nor I could hear the sounds in the left ear. In any case, the doctor thinks the gel behind my ear drum (in the inner ear) isn’t dissolving because my eustachian tube might not be functioning properly. He just prescribed me an antibiotic. This is the 3rd time since my surgery I’ve had an antibiotic because I got a cold 2 weeks after surgery and he wanted to ensure I didn’t get a sinus infection. In addition, he prescribed prednisone and nose spray. I’ve very worried at this point because he says he might have to put a tube in the ear to help the drainage if things don’t clear up on their own. Anyone else have this happen to them? Obviously, my history of having to have tubes in my left ear doesn’t bode well for a properly working eustachian tube so I’m concerned about my hearing long term.

    Ricardo

  • i loved reading this and actually seeing that people have gone through exactly what i have. I have been suffering for 10 years with these issues..only i had holes in both of my ear drums. i found an amazing doctor in cleveland ohio who performed surgery on my left ear in april and my right one in august. this makes me happy

  • Thanks for this blog, as many of you, I just went for another typanoplasty 2nd weeks post op now, this time is the left ear , as I had one done last Feb for the right ear. Thanks God, my right ear was the worse nightmare for me for at least 2 years. As I had both ear drum busted since I was a child from chronic middle ear infection. As the result, both of my ears had holes, and the right ear had much bigger hole ( doc said its size was 2/3 of eardrum, so you could imagine, but the thing was I did never noticed I had any hearing loss but prior to the op they did tested me I lost 50% hearing loss in the right ear, all I noticed I always struggled when chewing and listening at the same time, my hearing at that time was close to zero, i could not hear anything. But all that time I had no problem with any ear infection for 20 years, but lately, I had it and had a lot, it was out of control no medication or drops could help . So the operation was the only way. YES, my right ear done last Feb and it went so well, doc even surprised the progress that my right ear went. As after the right ear op , he said, it took him much longer in the operation room than he expected, as a lot of inflammation inside which he could not see, after the op for right ear, I did feel throbbing sound in the 3rd week ,it lasted for about 10days, and went away, he said it actually a good sign as the blood vessel growing into the graft. I had so much pain after the op for right ear though, I was in bed for 1 week as so much headache and dizziness. But the op was a big success as after 6months I had my first hearing test, it is 99% hearing like a perfect ear. Doc said it is very rare that the condition like mine that it has restored hearing that much.
    So the left ear op just got it done 2 weeks now, this one was much smaller hole but the chronic infection was the reason I had to go ahead with this. I feel not much pain at all like the other ear op, just hearing a little high pitch sound, that is all. Will see the doc in 1 week. Hope it goes well for me.
    Hope you guys out there all go well with this kind the operation, it is worth it as for me I had no more ear infection for right ear ever since, I am looking forward to jump to the pool

  • As a follow up to my original post so others can see my progress, I had my 10 week checkup this past week on Wednesday December 15, 2010. My ENT removed some leftover gel packing that was still in my ear canal (mild pain but nothing serious) and we also did a hearing test. The hearing test turned out a lot better than my 6 week checkup. I got 15 decibels of my hearing back but the left ear that had the tympanoplasty is still not where the doctor wants it with respect to the hearing even though the ear drum itself has healed really well. We have decided to do another 10 day course of steroids, switch from regular Claritin to Allegra-D (not covered by my insurance so $65 for generic) and another prescription of Nasonex nose spray. He also gave me the go ahead to blow through my nose and clear my eustachian tube 4-5 times a day as he thinks I still a fair amount of fluid in my inner ear. I am meant to see him again in February and that will be D-day with respect to putting a tube in my ear. He said he’d prefer to put it in an area of my pre-existing eardrum and not the area covered by the new graft from the tympanoplasty but he won’t know until we actually decide to move forward with the tube. I really don’t want the tube as it would mean at least 2-3 years of no water in the ear and there is likely to be a hole in the eardrum afterwards but it if means I can hear “normally” again in the left ear then it might be worth. Update in February 2011.

  • Also, as much as I truly appreciate Richard’s blog as there was no other place with any kind of patient experiences, I thought it might be worthwhile to start a Tympanoplasty community at WebMD. If you are interested, it’s here:

    http://exchanges.webmd.com/tympanoplasty

  • Hello all! I have truly found all of your postings informative and inspirational. My first surgery was at the age of 2 1/2. I had several cholesteatomas in my right ear that ate away my ear drum and three bones. I had surgery again when I was 22 on the same ear for the same thing. I have had 85% hearing loss in my right ear for most of my life. I am currently 31 years old, and I had surgery last November to repair my hearing. I have a new eardrum and three artificial bones. It has been just over a month since my surgery, and I am still feeling a lot of pain behind my ear. I think that this is because this is the third time my ear has been operated on. I have occasional moments where everything and everyone is extremely loud, and I am excited to see what the future has in store! Good luck everyone!

    • I recently had another surgery to patch a whole in my new ear drum(the ear drum that was constructed in 2010). The doctors found several problem areas from my 2010 surgery. The doctors went in to patch the ear drum, and when they did they found another cholesteatoma, and two areas that weren’t healing well from the 2010 surgery. This last surgery was the day before Thanksgiving and I still feeling a lot of pain in, out, and around my ear. Has anyone on here ever had this many surgeries? I’m wondering if the pain I am experiencing is normal, especially seeing as this is my fourth surgery in 30 years.

  • I’m 9 days into my recovery and am so angry with my Dr. that I refuse to go back and here’s why He told me nothing!! Trusting him I didnt read up on it and now I’m not finding alot of info on recovery and just to let everyone know what all the Dr. did say was 1. cant wash your hair for 5-8 days, and the care sheet sent home from hospital says keep area dry no antibiotics was sent home with me and I’m trying to read the wonderful comments and replys but as many of you know it’s well dizzing so to speak but thanks for all the info and hopefully soon I can get it read to find out where Im at in my recovery and when I can shower my long hair… ps Did I mention I have 5 kids 2 whom are on the Autism spectrum!!

  • Your page was really interesting to read. My 11yr old daughter just found out today that she will have to undergo yet another tympanoplasty. She had tubes as a toddler, and one of the tubes left a perforation in her tympanic membrane. She has had two tympanoplasty surgeries. The last tympanoplasty was successful, as the graft did take. She had significant hearing loss, however she had two great years of being able to swim, shower, etc. with no problems. Then a couple of weeks ago, she had a cold, and somehow, the congestion, the infection or whatever….caused a new hole. The surgeon at Cleveland Clinic who performed the most recent surgery, said that part of the graft was thin. I believe it just blew. So….as we are planning for another surgery, I was online looking for some miracle sollution to this problem. We want to find a doctor who is an expert in this field. Her doctor at the Clinic was great, but he no longer practices there. We are hoping that someone out there knows something we don’t. My daughter has a total perforation, meaning there is only the rim of the tympanic membrane left. Therefore this is very hard to repair. However, I find it hard to believe in the year 2011, there is no permanent repair? I am hoping that someone can recommend a surgeon/specialist in or near Ohio who specializes in repairing this condition. My daughter was upset about having to go through all of this again. I reminded her that many children are dealing with much worse. That helped to put it into perspective, and she is doing ok now. Thank you for sharing your story and for creating this web page. I wish you, and everyone else much luck!

    • Tiffany, The doctors in Otolaryngology at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago are very good.

      • Just happened to come up on this blog by accident again. Daniel, since my last post, my daughter underwent another tympanoplasty at Michigan Ear Institute, along with a Mastoidectomy. The repair was successful, but there was no improvement for her hearing. Dr. LaRouere at M.E.I. looks forward to more advanced implantable hearing devices to be available in the next 5 years, and we hope to eventually take advantage of them. For now, my daughter’s ear is repaired. The doctor recommends that she keep water out of her ear for life as a safeguard. While this is disappointing, it is tolerable.

        • Tiffany, thank you for your post. Maybe in time her hearing will improve. The body sometimes takes time to heal. I’m just sending hope as I don’t know the exact circumstances. I had multiple tube surgeries when I was younger than 10 yrs old. When the last tube came out the resulting hole never healed and so I had a hole in one eardrum for over 20 years. I did not go underwater without a plug for all that time. Finally, last year, I had a tympanoplasty that successfully (so far) repaired my drum. My point is that I have been ok keeping water out of my ear for all that time. I wish your daughter good luck. While she can’t hear that well now, maybe her other senses, like sight and smell will become more acute? Either way, medical technology gets better and better..

  • Hey….When I was 16, I had a serious ear infection that wrecked havoc on my left ear…I went to the doctor but he told me the problem would heal on its own… A couple years later…When I tried to enlist in the military — I failed the hearing test by 20+ decibels on my left ear. My hearing didn’t heal on its own.

    On January 25th, 2011… I had my Tympanoplasty surgery…not sure which one…but it’s the one where they cut a little piece of your ear and plug a hole.

    it’s been three weeks… I took a hearing test on 2/14/2011, and so far, my hearing has improved between 15-25 decibels depending on the frequency. And there is still room for improvement…I will take another hearing test in 6 weeks — I will let you guys know how it works out.

    The pain was very minor, I only used the pain medication for the first 2 days…A LOT of popping, crackling sounds.

    I am inexorably happy I underwent tympanoplasty surgery.

  • Finally, some good news…

    I went to the doctor a few weeks back for a 4 month checkup and found out my hearing is almost 100% in the left ear where I had my tympanoplasty in October of 2010. I only have a slight hearing loss on high pitched sounds. My left ear is the ear with eustachian tube malfunction and thus I’ve had a lot of tubes put in my eardrum over the years so the doctor in December of last year really wanted to put a tube in my ear when my hearing hadn’t returned. He was extremely concerned about infection as not everything had drained properly. I’m super happy I convinced him to try another dose of steroids and allergy medicines to clear the eustachian tube because it worked. I also got permission at that time from my doctor to hold my nose and clear my eustachian tube. He said to do that 4-5 times a day from December of last year until my appointment earlier this month (February 2011). If you are having drainage problems after your tympanoplasty you should ask your doctor about what worked for me (i.e. steroids and clearing the eustachian tube). My hearing has returned and my left ear is actually popping with elevation now – something it never did as a kid. I’m meant to go back in six months now although I have to be on the nasal spray and Allegra-D pretty much the rest of my life. I can shower again without the cotton ball/Vaseline combo on April 1. I’m very much looking forward to that. It’s been a long journey and one that I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be but right now I’m here telling you all that there is a chance that you can hear and swim again although diving into pools is something I probably will forego without an earplug. Best of luck all…

  • Hi richard!thank you for you blog where i found in google while searching about the tympanoplasty surgery.Am so worried about myself because i need to undergo tympanoplasty surgery by july 2011.I was advised by my doctor to undergo this kind of surgery since he said my right and left eardrum was totally damaged.
    I have a chronic middle ear (otitis media)since childhood.it was severe during my childhood days up to high school days.I still suffered during college days but not much.it was during my high school days that i noticed some difficulty in hearing and i even end up to speech defect.but due to poor living of my family i didn’t get any chance to consult a doctor nor a chance to tell my family that im not comfortable with my situation.instead i prayed and prayed and believed in God that someday He will lead me to a place where i can find the answer to my prayer.
    And now i came to a place where i can say “this is the place where i can find the answer to my prayer” And it was indeed true.Am presently working as a live in caregiver and i found out that in this country where i staying now,the tympanoplasty surgery is free.My doctor said i will not paying any charges after the operation.
    But my worried now is about the upcoming surgery on july.my doctor just told me that i need to undergo tympanoplasty surgery since my two eardrums was totally damaged.So he referred me to a specialist who will do the surgery.I never undergo to CT scan.is this strange?you guys undergo ct scan first before you had your surgery?my doctor told me that the surgery will only takes 1-1 1/2 hours and then i will go home the same day after the surgery.he said after the surgery i will stay in a recovery room just 2-3hours to have a rest and after that they let me drink water and send me home immediately.is this true?because am worrying.my employer doesn’t know about my plan for the surgery because i don’t want to tell them.when my doctor told me that i will go home the same day after the surgery i thought it will be alright not to tell to my employer since my work is not so heavy so i thought i can work immediately after the surgery.my work as a caregiver is not heavy.am taking care of an elderly who is still doing good only need to have a company since she had an alzheimer.do you think guys i can resume to work after the surgery?
    And i want to ask question about after the surgery,you guys have the same pictures as with richard?having the ear wrapped with bandages around the ear and in the forehead?
    thank you and am hoping for your response guys.am so worried now but am trusting God in everything

  • dear belle,
    i’m happy for you that you’ve found a way to get the surgery performed.
    after the procedure, you will need time off work in order to insure the success of your healing. you will not be able to hide the procedure from your employer. you will be in pain and require pain medicine and rest in order to recover properly. plan for about a week in bed, you may be able to go back to work sooner but don’t put your ears in danger for the sake of a day’s work. after that week you’ll still need to be careful, keeping your ears dry and not straining to lift. please follow your doctor’s orders, not mine, and err on the side of caution.
    best of luck to you. please take good care of yourself after the procedure.

  • I’m not sure if anyone is still reading this forum. There really is a lack of info on the net for recovery experiences for this type of procedure.

    I had a tympanoplasty 8 days ago. From behind the ear. The first few days were fairly painful, with a small amount of bleeding. In terms of sounds, my ear pulsed for about 3 days continuously. I’ve been taking it very easy.

    Right now, I basically feel fine. However, hearing out of the ear is near non-existant. I actually was expecting more pop-ing sounds. Anyone, have/having a similar experience?

    It’s rather un-nerving to have all of this work done… and then feel fine… and to have worse hearing (hopefully, just temporarily).

    Also, am I the only one who is paranoid about burping and hiccuping? My ENT said it’s nothing to worry about. But wow every time it happens. I near freak out.

    • Hi Dominic!

      If you read around this site, you’ll see that I had a similar experience to yours with the temporary hearing loss. I was terrified, hoping each morning that I’d wake up with some hearing back. I can’t promise you anything, but I really want you to know that your experience isn’t unheard of. Just hang in there.

      • Yes, I did read that. Thanks for the reply.

        I wish I could “feel” the packing better. I know it’s there, but my ear basically feels the same as before the surgery, except with greater hearing loss…

        I guess all I can do is be patient.

  • Thank you to everyone for sharing your experiences. I just had a tympanoplasty a week ago. I am carrying a lot of stress, worrying about damaging the graft; not leaning over to far, not lifting anything too heavy, loud sounds, stretching, yawning, coughing, smiling, laughing too hard, eating hard foods (like nuts)…I am used to the tinnitus from years of it and the pulse in my ear I have heard before. I hope it goes away. Has anyone had issues with completing a full yawn or even burping (through the ear)? I am afraid I will pop the graft off! Also, two days ago I put pressure on the drum by sleeping on the affected “packed” ear. I heard a “pop” each time I lifted my head from the pillow. I am concerned I pushed on the drum by leaning on the packing that fills my canal all the way to my outer ear. Thanks for any feedback.

    • I had mine two weeks ago. I talked to my surgeon about the burping/yawning thing. He told me not to worry – the bigger issue is “forcing” air out by holding a sneeze in or trying to pop your ears. Even though he said that, I still stress about it. It’s hard not too…

  • Daniel,
    I am close to 10 months post-op and I understand your anxiety. There were times I wanted to contact my ENT surgeon for an appointment as I was sure that I had done something to compromise the graft. Each visit to the surgeon proved to bring good news of a normal, healthy recovery which relieved my stress – for a short time before I began worrying again.
    I think the removal of one of our senses heightens the anxiety. Then come the noises and sensations like the ones you described. If you have any kind of an imagination you can invent a way that a certain sound or feeling means trouble. I would say you’re carrying quite a bit of stress.
    The simple fact is, there’s no sense worrying because you can’t do anything about it. If the graft does become dislodged, your doctor himself can do nothing but wait. All that’s left to do during the recovery phase is rest up, be careful, follow doctor’s orders, and work on calming that anxiety. I think posting here is a step in the right direction.
    That being said, the statistics are pretty good on successful tympanoplasty recovery. I can’t speak to your particular circumstances, but my research and personal experience were pretty positive overall.
    I hope this helps you get through the next few weeks.
    regards,
    elliott

    • Thank you Elliott for your considerate reply. And thank you Richard for creating this blog. You’re right Elliott, there is nothing I can do. It’s that loss of control that creates more stress. I can’t see my drum and I never will. The pulsing continues. I sneezed yesterday for the first time, through my mouth. There was a silence afterwards, as if a car had just crashed. I needed to sneeze and sometimes I laugh. I’m hoping it continues to heal.

    • Elliott, I’m just curious if all is still well?

      • Hi Debra,
        I’m also two years post-op now. As far as I can tell, I’ve had no regression in my condition. I noticed early on a persistent tinnitus and a eustachian tube which is difficult to clear. These symptoms persist; the eustachian tube issue may be related more to bad sinus function than anything else. In my earlier posts I mentioned a “pressure”, and I soon learned that this was the cause. I don’t hold my nose and blow to clear the tube, just afraid to. Rather, I’m pretty good at swallowing to make it go away. Certain things like spicy food will make it clog, I’ve noticed.

        These things are a little bit annoying, and facing them as possibly eternal afflictions was difficult early on. But I’ve learned to deal with them and they’re not so bad. Your daughter may have a recovery that is similarly “less than full”, but the cure is by no means worse than the disease.

        I enjoy watersports as much as I did before, especially whitewater, without fear of getting my head wet. Balance is key in this sport and I don’t notice any deterioration in mine. I still wear earplugs in the shower, but it’s no hassle and in retrospect it’s probably not a bad idea anyway. My hearing measures 100% according to the ENT, but certain very fine details are harder to pick up by comparison with my other ear.

        You asked below about appearance and symmetry. As Rick said, I think one ear may be lower than the other. But as you mentioned, I can’t verify if it was like that before! I definitely don’t look in the mirror and see a lack of symmetry. No one has ever mentioned it to me, nor do I notice anyone staring at my ears back and forth. I don’t think it’s noticeable and frankly, I don’t think the barber can even see my scar when cutting my very short hair.

        In short, I’m happy I had the surgery despite the few issues. Rolling the dice with infections and possible complications from them would not be preferable, in my opinion, to the results that I’ve had. One indirect result that is absolutely positive is that I quit smoking and still don’t smoke. Thanks for posting and I’ll be happy to answer any other questions you have.

        -elliott

    • Elliott – you mentioned that you still wear earplug in shower, why’s that? Do you wear one white-water rafting? The main reason my daughter wants the surgery is to not have to wear an earplug anymore and be able to not worry about getting water in her ear.

  • Thanks for this blog, I just recently had this surgery done 5 days ago, the pain seems to get worse as each day passes plus just recently i been getting pain in my jaw…the pain isn’t my concern really, I know it’ll get better sometime, it’s the loud banging pulse noises I hear in the ear like it’s my heartbeat or something…did anybody else have this problem and how long didn’t last? The noises will get worst if I lay down so I have to sit in a recliner chair to sleep though, I just want to know if anybody else had this problems and how long did it last? The beating is starting to get unbearable…thanks for any help, I skimmed through most of the comments to see if anybody had similar issue.

  • the pulsing noise is very common and will diminish over time. yes, it feels like it’s never going to go away… but it will.

    Increasing pain however isn’t. if you’ve been taking your meds (as prescribed) and the pain is still increasing, I would contact your doctor.

  • Thanks dominic for the quick reply, strangely enough pretty much all the pain went away when I woke this morning, I have a slight pain left but barely feel it, I’m still stuck with those pulsing noises though, I’m glad to hear they’ll go away, it’s been 6 days now, hope they go away soon.

  • I’m at week 3 post-op. Currently dealing with pretty intense popping an crackling when swallowing. Anyone else dealing with the same thing?

  • I sure did, and it was hard to eat. Is very normal

  • Just wanted to give thanks to everyone who answered a question over the last few weeks.

    Saw my doc today. (Just under 4 weeks post-op). Ear drum is closed and looking good. Hearing results were only slightly better than pre-op, but there is still much healing to be done.

    • Wow, Dominic. That sounds really good. You already had a hearing test? I just saw my doctor too. He said it looks great. However, I can’t hear anything out of the ear. 3% maybe? I am assuming it’s the packing on the other side of my drum that isn’t dissolved..

      • My doctor told me not too worry if the results weren’t great. The internal packing has to dissolve and the ear itself has too heal and mature, which can take anywhere from 2-6 months.

  • Thank you for the post-op resource! I am 6 days post mastiod-tymanoplasty of my Rt ear due to tympanosclerosis, past cholesteatoma and mult chronic ear infections as a child. (I’m now 53). This is the second surgery to my Rt ear, and I had a previous mastoid surgery to the left ear as well (the first two in 1997). I don’t remember the pain being such an issue with my previous surgeries. I’m day six and still taking hydrocodone! I am a nurse, so I feel like I have a good expectation of the recovery process, but everyone is an individual and so are the procedures we undergo. I called my surgeon because of the pain (he said this was to be expected and enc. me to keep taking the pain meds), and again because I had increased bloody drainage on day 4 from the ear canal (again – to be expected – drainage varies). Then yesterday I awoke from a nap to find the incision behind my ear draining. Fortunately it was not completely open, but their was a lot of bleeding and it was bothersome. I called my dau. who is also a nurse and we packed the incision w/adaptic and 4X4’s, and wrapped with some pressure (similar to what they sent me home with), and called the surgeon again. This bleeding is not normal. They started me on some Prednisone to address the inflammation. Today the bleeding is stopped (for now at least). I use vasoline on the incision when I wash my hair, and try like heck to keep the area dry, but this may have contributed to the bleeding. I do think I’m hearing somewhat better post-surg. I already have bil. hearing aides, but really noticed an increase in hearing loss over the past 6 months. I was fearful the increased loss was going to affect my nursing practice so returned to the surgeon. I guess time will tell. Just remember, each case is different and if you are concerned with your post-surgical response – don’t be afraid to call the MD! Also, just because they send you home right away doesn’t mean your recovery won’t take time – allow time and rest! Thanks for the postings!

  • It has been 5 months now since my tympanoplasty. I had a cholesteatoma in my right ear (for who knows how long). I’d had a hole in that eardrum for years previously with no symptoms, no infections, no problems. After an earlier hospitalization (about 5 months later) due to toxic shock syndrome from staph aureus from a spider bite (for another forum!) I developed significant hearing loss in that same right ear. I went in to have it checked out and the ENT said he suspected a small cholesteatoma. It turns out it was a bit larger than originally suspected and had eaten away part of my incus bone. So it’s a good thing I went in as soon as I did; he was originally telling me not to worry, no emergency, you don’t have to have it done right away, etc.

    The recovery process was painful, as many of you have described: sharp stabbing pains, esp. the first week and occasionally thereafter. Pain meds did zero for me except make me sick. So I had many sleepless nights that first week.

    I still have tinnitis (which I had developed about a year or 2 previous to surgery), strange tongue sensations and change of taste (very sensitive to taste, esp. salty foods), numbness in the outer ear, sensitive scar, and occasional sensations and hearing of dissolving in that ear.

    Since the incus bone was removed during surgery I have NO hearing in my right ear (other than conductive, which is useless for the everyday world).

    Presumably, at my 6 month checkup they will give me the rundown on my chances for success at a second surgery to reconstruct and replace the incus bone.

    My worries and concerns: How successful will it really be? I would love to have enough hearing restored in order to function bilaterally instead of unilaterally. My chances for cholesteatoma recurrence–I’ve heard these things can come back! Also, what about all the scar tissue that develops as a result of surgery? Another related issue: I’m in perimenopause. I’ve been having all kinds of strange things happen to my body lately that I could’ve never predicted a year ago…

    Anyway, just want to say that I really appreciate this blog! There is nothing else out there that I’ve found in the past 5 months! Thanks for keeping this up and thanks to all who share and respond!

    • Hopefully they can reconstruct an incus for you to improve your hearing. It is so frustrating to not hear and really does impact your life! I saw my surgeon earlier this week and asked about the chances of the sclerosis/overactive scar tissue dev. reoccurring and he didn’t have a great response – “we’ll just have to wait and see”. I also still have the funny taste and tongue sensations on the right side of my tongue. I was hoping this will improve? I’m weaning off the prednisone now (that did help a lot with the initial pain and swelling issue). I live in the mid-west and pollen/allergies are terrible around here. I always have issues in the Spring and Fall, and I don’t know how bad it would have been if I had not been on prednisone – it certainly wound have impacted my recovery further. I’m going to bite the bullet and see about allergy testing and desensitization shots because all this is connected and if I can keep my sinus issues under better control, it should help my ear issues. (Meds just don’t do the trick anymore).
      I think my hearing is improved (the TV vol. setting is my benchmark) – but it comes and goes. It’s only been two wks, so time will tell. Unfortunately I will prob. have to do this all again before the end of the year for the left ear too (deductable is met), as the hearing on that side is worse than the right was initially.
      I too appreciate the blog – these are not common issues and the surgical recovery involves a lot of issues. I appreciate hearing the indiv. stories!

      • Thanks so much Kathy for sharing your experience–I hope all goes well for you. It does seem to be a roll of the dice–hence the doc not being able to tell me what to expect…I too have allergies, and purposely scheduled my initial surgery for December to avoid all the spring mess! May do the same again this time as well…I, too use the TV as a benchmark for my hearing…Hopefully your hearing will be restored to better than it was before! Best of luck to you!

        Hope

  • Great site! I’ve just had my tympanoplasty done on May 3rd. It went really well. Getting ready to go into my 3rd week of recovery now and I’m starting to get a lot of the popping noises as describe and a good deal of pressure inside the ear(slightly painfull but not bad). Since the excessive popping sounds started my hear has decreased which I assume is pressure from the packing on the back of the drum. I had never really gotten dizzy until all the popping started, lol. But hey what can you do?!

    My question is, Anyone out there ever actually feel this packing draining inside your ear? I feel it feel/hear it pop and I will feel a little drainage. When I wake up in the morning and take out the cotton ball there is discharge like ear wax(but not the same consistency) on the cotton ball, brownish in color. Is this the packing dissolving or a different issue? Any help, thanks.

    • I never really felt any drainage. If you’re getting a lot of drainage you should call your doctor.

      However, the brownish red discharge is likely just the packing material coming out of your ear. Completely normal. If the discharge changes in color/smell, you should definitely contact your doctor asap as it might be a sign of infection.

      • Hi TJ,

        Yes, I was able to feel the packing dissolving; sometimes I *still* feel a dissolving sensation in my ear, even though it’s been 5 months! The discharge is most likely the packing. My doc said it’s the same color, but different consistency from earwax…

        Hope

  • Well let’s just say I feel like it’s draining but it’s way inside my ear. That little bit of brown stuff only happened once and it wasn’t but a small amount. It didn’t have a smell at all.

    • TJ,

      That sounds normal to me, at least from my experience. Initially, I never got much drainage. There was some drainage later on, maybe a few months on, but never that much. No smell is good (no infection). Sounds like things are going well…
      Hope

  • Well maybe dissolving is a better work for what I’m feeling. But yeah things do seem to be going well.

    My hearing is a lot better today. It snap, popple and cracked inside my ear and then I was hearing almost like I use to.

    Thanks for the comments.

  • I too am getting more snap, crackle and popping. The hearing comes and goes, and the fullness is also present. Kind of like an earache, but not. I hope this resolves and clears. Again, the allergies just compound things. I’m taking a day off and staying in the house to see if it makes any difference. Glad things are going well with you!!

  • I went into the doctor yesterday due to some pain in my ear and he found more fungus growing in my ear which is cause by moisture building up in the canal some how. When he suctioned all that out the pain went away, my hearing was restored and the popping and crackling noises were gone. And talk about a relief…….wow!

  • I had my typanoplasty done on may 13 and it went better than I thought it would. I actually had more pain from the incision or graph site that the ear itself. I stopped taking my pain meds after three days. Its been a week since my surgery and the soreness on incision site is still there. I cannot rest my head on that side or I get pain and a headache. I am going to ask my doctor about this today when I see him today, but would like to hear from anyone else who expierienced this. Is this normal, or a complication?

  • Hi Dave,

    I had quite a bit of pain that seem to radiate from the lowest incision knot on the back of my head behind the ear. I also could not rest on that side for quite some time. I found that putting ice on it helped. Eventually ibuprofen helped relieve *some* of the pain (I took 3 200mg pills). I recall that it took several weeks for the most severe pain to subside and then gradually it has eased after that. The incision site is now lumpy and sensitive, but not painful.

    During the first few weeks, I called the doctor’s office in the middle of the night because the pain was so bad (prescription pain meds did nothing to relieve the pain, nor did ibuprofen at this point) and his nurse told me it was normal! I was told as long as no inflammation or redness or discharge to not worry…

    • Thanks for the reply Hope. My doctor said the pain on that side of my head was normal. Now that its been two weeks since my surgery the pain has mostly subsided. Now I have a new thing that worries me, my ear started popping everytime I swallow. Its not the popping I had in the first week because of the packing dissolving, my doctor removed the packing after the first week. Its more like the popping you get when you descend in an airplane. I called my doctor about it and he said its normal and its the eustation tube doing its job. It still scares me though as I can feel my eardrum buckle each time it happens. Did anyone else experience this?

      • Hey dude, Im 17 and had to have this surgery in order to go into the Military. Its been about 5 days now and Im starting to hear / feel popping when I swallow or yawn or even sometimes when Im just sitting here. I go for a follow up this monday, so I dont really know what it all means. Ill let you know, Ill ask the doctor and all. Thanks for your post, I was getting a little nervous with all this popping. Im glad Im not the only one and your doctors explanation of the packing dissolving is encouraging to me. hopefully it all works out!

    • I also had a lot of pain and it frustrates me to hear a nurse say “that’s “normal”. It is normal to have the pain, but the pain should be treated!!! If your pain is not under control then call your MD and ask for something different to control it. (The same thing happened to me!).

      • Hi Kathy,
        yes, I was very frustrated by this “no solution” response. In fact, when I asked the MD about it, he said ibuprofen worked for most everyone (and as usual, I didn’t fall into that category!) and that’s what he recommended to me. I figured better suffer than deal with just getting sick from something else they prescribed. But the situation was treated as an either-or type thing: either try the H-codone or the ibuprofen!

  • Hi everyone – have read all of your comments with great interest. My 17 year old son had his eardrum ruptured last year when he was hit in the ear by a water balloon. On a day to day basis the ear behaves much like it is healed but if he gets water in it he experiences the sharp stabbing pain and “fullness” that is indicative of a ruptured eardrum. Saw the ENT specialist last week and while he couldn’t see anything via microscope or telescope he believe there is a rupture that is not being seen. He would like to do an exam under anesthesia and if there is a tear repair it then. My son’s ear canal is rather difficult in that it takes a sharp bend to I don’t believe he will be able to graft via the ear canal – we would probably be looking at behind the ear. My questions/concerns are: he has a huge hiking trip planned in 3 weeks so I believe having the surgery now is out of the question. 3 weeks after that we will be flying to a beach vacation so I think he shouldn’t have it then either. When we get back tryouts for high school soccer begin and as it’s his senior year I don’t want him to miss this either. That being said, we may have to wait until after the soccer season is over in October. Am I being unreasonable in my thinking? The dr led me to believe this is no big deal but reading all of your comments has me really concerned about recovery. Any thoughts, suggestions any of you have would really be so appreciated!

    • Laura,

      In my experience, you are by no means being unreasonable!!! Now I know everyone’s an individual, but when I spoke w/the nurse about recovery, she said it would take at least a week and longer was not unusual! The doc was telling me I’d be fine in a few days. Glad I had that talk w/the nurse so I wasn’t taken by surprise. Now, I’m 44, not 17, but I sure wouldn’t want to take a chance. For me, it was painful for several weeks, no sleep for the first week, basically and pain meds did nothing to help that at all! I had shooting pains off and on for several weeks after as I recall. It sounds like given the unknowns, esp. w/your son’s unusual bend, etc. (I had tiny canals–like a child’s) so they had to go behind the ear…) I don’t think you’re being at all unreasonable. You can’t get water in for several months (I had real challenges w/showers, etc.) and couldn’t go swimming for a long time after either…. Anyway, just my 2 cents worth…

  • Hey Laura,

    My eardrum was ruptured playing competitive tennis: a tennis ball hit me on the ear after an opponent struck an overhead. This was May of last year. I also had a vacation planned to Hawaii in September after the rupture so I decided to hold off on the surgery because flying is a no-no for about 5-6 months. In addition, I wanted to time the recovery during a time when both the tennis season was over but also could afford me the possibility of being able to swim again in the summer (without an earplug). Given how much a sensitive time high school is, I’d personally wait until October. It’s a annoying not to be able to swim or shower without an earplug but disrupting normal/fun activities in addition to recovering could be disheartening. With that said, my plan luckily worked very well. I spent the first few weeks of October last year recovering while not playing much tennis and then was able to play tennis near Thanksgiving. In February of this year I was told my hearing was almost 100% back and I could shower without an earplug again in April, just in time for summer swimming and summer vacations.

  • Hope and Ricardo thanks so much for the advice – can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! We’re going to go ahead and wait until later this fall to have the procedure done. Maybe Thanksgiving time so he doesn’t have to miss a lot of school. I’ve bought him some good earplugs and while he complains that it is not really comfortable at least he can get in the pool. I’ll keep you all posted later this fall!

  • hi
    i found out yesterday i have to have this surgery and i am bricking it to put it mildly. now i may regret asking this but where do they cut you and how big is the scar left and the pain afterwards? i am hoping to get this done this year as i am getting married next year and would like to be healed before my honeymoon but waiting lists in the uk can take forever :(
    any info anyone can give me would be great right now

    • Hi Michelle, understandable you are nervous about this; I was too! The incision is made behind the ear (if your canals are too small to go through, which mine were) and is maybe about 1/4 inch or so away from where the ear actually attaches to the head. The scar is not very noticeable once it heals because it will flatten out more and more as it heals and your hair will cover it.

      As far as the healing process, it varies from individual to individual, but for me, the first few weeks were the most painful. H-codone was prescribed but didn’t work. I used 3 200 mg ibuprofens after that, but it didn’t really help til 2nd week. An icepack actually helped me the most as the knot on one of the stitches was quite excruciating. I was told later this was nerve pain. Off and on I would get stabbing pains in my middle ear that would come and go at random for the first few months and then they gradually went away. The hardest part besides pain management is dealing with showering/cleaning. I had to keep the area absolutely dry for quite a number of weeks and the canal for several months as I recall–very tricky to do! Overall, I managed, but at first if you don’t know what to expect, it can be unnerving. Hope this helps! Good luck!

    • Hi Michelle,

      I am 1 month post-op — I had this surgery now because I am getting married this July and I want to be able to swim during my honeymoon to Hawaii. I also needed to do it at least this far in advance to ensure full recovery prior to flying! So far things are good — I get a check up Mid April where I will really see if it has worked. The Dr. did an amazing job of hiding the scar completely within the fold of my ear so you can’t even tell! Literally, my fiance was supposed to clean it after surgery but COULD NOT FIND IT! The doctor was extremely accomodating for me since he knew I was getting married. He made sure not to cut my hair, hide the scar, and even told the nurses to work me into the schedule to ensure I got everything done in time. So no worries! I would suggest going for it!

  • Hi Michelle,

    my experience on the tympanoplasty surgery is it left a scar behind my ear (keloid scar) and also a small residual perforation in the ear drum for the surgery happened in jun 2010.
    I consulted another surgeon & I had done keyhole surgery recently to close residual perforation and for keloid scar behind my ear (the portion which was cut about 1 inch size during my first surgery) weekly Injections are injected in to the scar to reduce the scar (after 4 injections the scar is reduce to 1/4 its size) since it is painful the doctor asked me to visit after a break of few weeks for scar reduction.
    About the keyhole surgery it is healing but will know only after few weeks.

    That is all for now best of luck on your surgery and take care of all the precautions, I mentioned above facts only from my experience. I heard from the surgeon this happens 1 in 30 cases and I was the unfortunate 1.

    my best wishes for good health and speedy recovery.

  • jacob.,i had my tympanoplasty 2 wiks ago.,i also feel the popping sound when i swallow.,and im experiencing tinnitus..the pain didnt last long in me..its just 2 days..and i only use the pain reliever 3 times..
    its just sometimes when i drink i think i feel the water going up to my ear..
    so im worried if the leaks i feal in my ear is nit just the gel foam..is anyone here also experience this when drinking..
    plzz reply..
    but anyway tnx for the blog..richard this really helps..:)

  • Hi, I am soon to be 61 yo and recently concluded the 3rd tympanoplasty on the same ear (14yo, 29yo, 60 yo). This is in addition to a modified radical mastoidectomy at the same time as the first procedure and an incus interposition at 45yo. all of the above was due to a poorly functioning eustachian tube. Each procedure has been followed by an increasingly easy recovery. The most recent (this year) was done on an outpatient basis with virtually no discomfort once the compression bandage was removed at 24 hrs post-op. Each procedure resulted in a patent graft with significant hearing improvement. The most important counsel I can offer is to have the procedure done by an ontologist who does these in significant numbers and with regularity. Practice does make perfect. I would also share that the ear is more pinned back than the non-operated side. This is due primarily to Tyne need to remove some cartilage for mastoid procedures. Good luck all.

  • Hey, I had typanoplasty surgery 7 days ago. Everything is going fine but tonight the incision behind my ear has started to seep a discharge its kind of clear with a tinge of blood. I haven’t bumped my ear or picked at the scar. Did anyone else experience this? I would really appreciate any responses. Thanks

  • I know exactly how you feel. I have had two tymapnoplastys on my right ear and three on my left ear. It’s rough but worth it when you hear everything so much louder.

  • hiya
    well i had my surgery last monday (at last) now in the recovery position of immense pain and feeling fed up. the surgery took 2 hours as the back of my eardrum had become fused onto the small bones in my ear so this was also sorted out and a small piece of skin harvested from my head to make the new eardrum. this leaves a nasty bruised head behind which chuffing hurts. i have the packing in my ear which is painfull and at times leaks which feels very weird and not that nice either. i have to have this packing in for at least 2 weeks then it will be removed. i am hoping the operation was a success as the pain had better have been worth it and i hope this operation will give me some of my hearing back as well.

  • Hi guys,

    I just had my procedure performed this morning. I have the horrid bandage on my head right now and it is so tight that my eyes are bulging and my head will not stop hurting despite the vicodin and percocets that I am alternating with. So far I don’t know what to expect for the future. The doctor said that the bones were intact(surprise) because before surgery he said they needed to be rebuilt. So I should regain more hearing than we thought. I have a 20 percent loss in my left ear due to nerve damage and a 50 percent in my right ear due to nerve damage, no eardrum and frequent infections. This will bring my hearing up to a level where I can get a hearing aid for both ears. Thank you for your blogs Ricky, I have been reading them non stop in preparation for this surgery. I am 35 and have suffered with this my entire life. I don’t think I will ever go swimming without an ear plug even if I am told that I can. It’s ingrained in me to use them. Thank you again and good luck everyone. I will blog with any changes. So far, first day not much dizziness and some pain around the ear but more in the head and eyes from the bandage. I can feel the ear draining and popping. Of course, I am highly drugged right now. :)

  • ok guys advice needed please
    it has been a week since my surgery in the uk. i am in agony and have been since i had this done. the dressing inside my ear keeps oozing and there is pain in the stitches around my ear. also i keep feeling a popping sound in my ear and this is worrying me. i am not due to have the packing removed until the 8th December
    is what i am feeling normal or do i need to worry?

    • Seems quite normal to me. Call your physician if you have concerns.

    • Michelle,
      so sorry you are such pain. I would definitely get the stitches checked out, especially if they are red/irritated. Are the stitches the ones behind the ear? I recall those hurting quite a bit for the first week, but then fading after that. The popping is normal. Not sure it should be oozing a week after surgery or not…I would call/go in…good luck xx

    • I had a second surgery (Lt ear) at the end of October (first in April Rt ear). For both surgeries I ended up taking Prednisone due to excessive swelling which was causing the incision behind the ear to open/drain (on day 4-6 which is abnormal once closed). I’m hoping I’m done with the ear surgeries for a good time now, but just an FYI – sometimes a prednisone burst can really help with swelling (which greatly improved the pain as well). If I need this again in the future that will be on my list for the MD! This surgery indeed takes time for healing. Nerves are sometimes affected, and the eardrum takes a long time to properly “thin out” and work to maximum effectiveness. Be prepared to give it time and good luck!

  • The popping sounds and pain are normal. You may want to call your Doctor as well.

  • thanks guys i called the acute referral team at the shrewsbury hospital and they said due to the surgery i had done that the pain inside my ear was normal and would subside after about 3-4 weeks.
    the dressing inside my ear has to stay put for the next week or so and then they will remove it.
    the oozing is also normal i am told and that i should keep taking regular painkillers to help with the pain although my eyes feel like they are gonna pop out of my skull right now.
    i will be so glad when this is healed and if it hasn’t worked then there is no way i am having this done again
    this blog is awesome for people to get information on tympanoplasty as it has given me more info than the surgeon did

  • This site is terrific…it has helped me get through my recovery.It has been 3 wks since my tympanoplasty. I had perforated my ear drum while descending on a plan flight and then 2 years later developed a cholesteatoma…that was a surprise. I have experienced most of what everyone has mentioned..I am now in the ear popping phase. In regards to the stitches behind the ear I found that Bacitracin ointment was a lifesaver, it kept it moist and took care of the pulling sensation. I still hear the pulsing in my ear, which is annoying at times, but at least my ear has stopped draining. This has certainly been an experience, but definitely worth it if my hearing is restored.

    Anne

  • Well I’m about to enter week 3 after my operation. The pain is still there but more so in the side of my head and the whooshing sound drives me crazy. I went back to work after a week ( wedding and honeymoon to pay for) and I would sell my soul for a decent nights sleep my ear is still oozing and I do not get the packing removed until the 8th so I’m
    Hoping this will feel better then. I also have a rotten cold and hate that I can’t blow my nose

    • Hi Michelle;
      Sorry you are still having pain. Does the pain go away when you take Tylenol? Since I am approaching week 4, I thought it might be helpful if we compared notes. The whoosing and the pulsing (don’t know if you have that one) is a nuisance. I found the beginning of week 3 the popping and crackling when I swallowed actually made me feel better. Do you feel and pressure or fullness in your ear? I still do when I wake up. So far I have about 2/3rds of the packing removed. My doctor didn’t remove it all at once. Part is the cotton material and the other is the gel which can be partially removed and also disolves. I think you will feel much better after it is removed. Having a cold definitely makes it worse. You may want to speak to your doctor about using a saline nasal spray to keep your nose moist (also helps to prevent germs entering the nasal area in the winter) or some Afrin nasal spray to help you breathe (only use for 3 days). Hang in there ..it will get better.

  • about to enter week 4 i had the packaging taken out on thursday and there was loads of it. my ear canal is now massive and either itches or hurts. i am having to put drops in 3 times per day and today i had the most amazing surprise when i could hear my fiance talk to me in my left ear i am slightly hopeful that my hearing will return now to some degree

    • Good news on having some improved hearing.I found after the packing was removed my ear felt full with pressure, even a bit of pain but that subsided after a few days.
      I guess it is from the pressure of the vacuum they used to remove the material. Is your ear popping when you swallow? Tomorrow is week 5, I am hearing my own voice clearer now, but I still have a “full ear” sensation in the morning the outside of my ear is very sore. Are you experiencing the same?

  • the outside of my ear is very sore and i still have the blocked ear feeling as you describe. my ear canal is very stretched and itches all the time. i wear glasses and they sit on the scar above my ear which is quite sore. i am hoping over time that it will get better at least i don’t have to take painkillers every day which is a bonus

  • Hey everyone, great comments. I had my tympanoplasty 3 days ago and unlike most of you, I’m feeling great. I’ve had no pain, just taking advil as needed and am on antibiotics. I havent had any ringing, popping, or drainage. The majority of the procedure was done thru my ear canal, so I have a small 1/4 in insicion behind my ear that was secured with glue. No stitches, no bandages, just a cotton ball in my ear. My first follow-up is thursday so I hope no pain is a good thing!

  • Hello,

    I had Tympanolasty done seven days ago. Lots of drainage and tinnitus since the surgery. My hearing is pretty much zero so I am getting pretty nervous. My follow up appointment is not for another ten days.

    • Update,

      I am about a month post op and have more than half my original hearing back (based on a recent audio-gram). In my case, the whole eardrum needed to be replaced as it was completely gone. After the doctor looked in my ear, he said it looked perfect and it could not be healing better.

      Still draining at night and have popping frequently. If I hold my head a certain way, the gel foam located in my inner ear seems to move around which allows me to have great hearing.

      I am confident that as the weeks pass, my hearing will continue to improve.

      Thank you Dr. Kaplan (Reading California)

  • Hi Everyone,
    Sorry I was not replying for all the messages I read regularly.
    The reason being I don’t hear perfect recovery at all from all the patients shared here, including myself.
    The same message I hear from my colleagues, friends, relatives and other patients in the hospitals.
    Only conclusion from my side is we have to undergo surgery depending on type of perforation or infection there is no
    escape from it else it becomes worse when the it gets infected.
    The post surgery pain recovery process for me was OK, took about 10-15 days since I selected one of the best hospitals; having personal medical insurance was advantage here. After 1 month my middle ear developed very small perforation, I don’t know how it occurred but my Surgeon’s opinion was it may be due to cold,infection are due to my type 2 diabetes. All medication, ear drops, nasal spray prescribed by Doctors didn’t help me since 1 year to close this perforation without surgery. later I underwent postoperative surgery under local Anestesia at different hospital to close small perforation, not painful, but doctor had to remove small tape on my soft ear tissue grafted to close the perforation after 1 week. Now it 2 years since my tympanoplasty and mastiodectomy later followed with procedure to close the small perforation.
    Only advantage in this operation I conclude is it saves us from further infection, no improvement in ear loss or blocking sensation.
    I am still careful & avoid water entering my operated ear, if it enters accidentally I apply few antibiotic ear drops as advised by doctor. the problem here is we cannot see our own inner ear condition we have to visit doctor and explains us what they have seen or if your hospital provides one request for live camera view of our inner ear (I forgot its technical name) to be satisfied about the condition of our ear inside.
    My prayers and well wishes to all of us for painless recovery and healthy ears.

  • I had my tympanolasty two weeks ago, minimal pain and drainage and was back to work with in a week. I had my entire eardrum replaced.My question is has anyone had experience with this perticular surgery and smoking? Im wondering if anyone has had any complications from smoking post surgery.

  • well ir is almost february and i had my surgery in november 2011. hearing not much improved and the pain in the side of my head is as bad as ever (i am wondering if a nerve has been damaged) as combing my hair hurts like a demon. no follow up appointment yet to see the consultant to see what stage i am at. feel the whooshing in my ear daily and it is driving me nuts also i seem to have an almost constant headache and my eyes feel like they are going to pop out of my head (anyone else had this?)
    i hope this operation has worked as i am gettingmarried this year and want to enjoy my honeymoon in florida to the extreme and not have to worry about gettingmy ear wet when i swim with a dolphin (or an orka if i am really lucky) at least i am managing to not take painkillers anymore.

  • i did they said i have tension headaches and prescribed amitryptaline for them, but i do not have a tension headache i have pain in my ear and this constant whooshing sound from it and pain over my ear on my head and it just does not feel right at all. i am wondering if something went wrong with my surgery or if this is normal?

    • I also had my surgery for a tympanoplasty and removal of a cholesteatoma in Feb and I can relate a bit to what you are experiencing. I still have a constant hum in my ear (not really whoosing anymore) and the feeling of pressure (not sure if it is coming from the inside or outside of my ear). I had the sharp pains on the side of my head last week (which Advil helped to relieve) but that could have been unrelated since it is better- but it definitely did not feel like headache pain.. How is your hearing? I am hoping that it is still too soon since the outside of my ear is still numb… is yours numb also. Have you lost your sense of taste?

  • I just had an operation two days ago and I was recuperating well. I made a blog about the ordeal. Please click the link below. I can say that all the comments here had prepared me for the operation as well as for my post-op. It’s still a lot for me to expect so I will promise to come back and keep you posted of the recovery process. Thanks all for your comments. It helped me greatly.

    http://freespiritedguy.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-initial-tympanoplasty-operation.html

  • One week after the operation, I was doing great. I can feel my hearing greatly improved without wearing my hearing aid. It was a big challenge though on my taste because I only had a bitter taste every time I chew on the operative side. Instead, I chewed on the other side. I’ve lost 5 lbs for not eating. So far, there’s no pain. Thank God, because I can’t stand Vicodin. It makes me sick and my doctor forbade me to vomit because it will cause pressure to the inner ear. All in all, every thing is great. I will be seeing my doctor tomorrow. Hopefully, everything will be ok.

  • Hi I had my operation (Tympanoplasty) 3 days ago and got out of hospital yesterday, They went in thru the ear canal so I only have padding and cotton wool in my ear. I have no pain, and feel good, just in the mornings I feel a bit light headed. I do suffer from Tinnutus which is still there,other than that I do feel great. Im due back to doctor in 8 days time to get the padding removed so I wont know until then how I have really benifited from the operation. I was told that I might not benifit now but need to get the hole in ear fixed and it will benifit me in later years. It was my first operation ever so I was a little nearvous about getting it do, but the worse part was getting the line in arm, and even at that it was nothing. So far so good, I will see how the next couple of weeks go.

    • Wondering how you made out with the surgery? I am supposed to have tympanoplasty this Dec and I am worried. I have had hole since 1997 . Too scared to have surgery!

  • My daughter is 15 and a competitive cheerleader. She only has a very small hole in her ear that has never healed from repeated tubes in her ears. I know as a teenager she doesn’t want to have to wear an earplug and she does get infections when she swims and we do have a pool, but right now her hearing is good and I’m afraid of adverse affects and surgery creating hearing loss. The hole is also so small and it sounds like a lot of people ended up with small holes after surgery still, so I’m wondering if this is even a good idea.

    • Hi Debra,

      After spending 18 years having to wear earplugs while shower or swimming, I found the end result of my surgery to be a relief. That said, this is your and your daughter’s call. I wish you luck in making a decision and finding comfort in that decision!

    • Hi Debra,
      Have you already tried having it patched? If it’s a small hole they will usually try this first. Mine was a small hole as well, but because of its location (on the edge of the eardrum rather than in the middle) it didn’t take. There is hearing loss associated with the surgery because the grafted skin is a thicker material than the natural eardrum, however, after 2 surgeries, I finally have an ear with no hole and minor hearing loss ( I still hear well enough without having to worry about any hearing aids or anything). I also don’t have to worry about infections. My surgery was to remove a cholesteatoma, which had grown through the hole in my eardrum. My guess is, my body was trying to heal the hole on its own but couldn’t and it wound up being a bigger problem than the tiny hole I’d lived with for so many years. You might talk to your doctor about the chances for small holes after surgery. It hasn’t been my experience and my guess is since she’s young and healthy, her healing would be much better than mine as a 45 yr old.

      • See that’s one of my concerns for my daughter, hearing loss due to the grafted skin being thicker than natural eardrum or hearing loss for any other reason from the surgery, because currently her hearing is very good (all except one pitch and it doesn’t affect her whatsoever).

        • I wish I knew enough to put your mind at ease about this…and I understand about not wanting to make her hearing worse. I lived for who knows how many years with a hole in my ear and didn’t really get many infections at all, maybe one, but I never had problems as an adult. The ear that wound up w/the cholesteatoma and subsequent tympanoplasty and then incus removal and replacement, was one that had repeated infections as a child. My guess is that when I went for a cleaning (I am prone to lots of earwax), the doc poked the hole in my eardrum with the instrument he was using to clean it out. I’d say maybe 7-10 yrs went by before I had a problem with my hearing and discovered cholesteatoma and had to have the surgery. My father in law is in his early 80s and has had a hole in his eardrum for years and years, never having had surgery or any problems other than he can’t hear well at all now in the affected ear (due to aging more than the hole). I guess what you have to weigh is the likelihood in her case for infection vs. quality of her hearing. For me, the hearing loss is across the board, and just under normal for that ear. But overall, since my hearing had gotten so precipitously bad with the cholesteatoma and the incus bone being eaten away by it, it was overall an improvement (at least so far!) Don’t know if this helps or not…did you ever find out anything about the ear patch?

  • I just had my surgery 7 days ago. I had a perferation in my eardrum for 6 years. I am experiencing lots of weird sounds. But as ive read this all seems normal. The most worriesome is the popping sound when I chew or swallow. It makes me think I have dislogged my graft. Other than that it has been ok. I know I still have a long recovery road ahead of me. For me I have little hearing out of my opperated ear. Hopefully it will improve, but my main reason for surgery is to be able to swim and get my head wet with out worry of pain or infection. For me better hearing is a bonus. Thank you so much for this website. Whenever I get worried or stressed I come to this website and read the comments to ease my fearsand learn more about if what I am going through is normal.

  • Hello Rick/all
    Had my Tympanoplasty and a Titanium bone replacement on the 20 April to repair a retracted ear drum. Packs were removed a fortnight later(by nurse) and looking good some hearing has been restored. Dont get to see Ent Dr until June 18 as I have been told there is no point seeing a Dr until sweling has gone down?.So all I can do is hope and pray that all is good and that my hearing gets better.

    Cheers Kev
    Ps have suffered all the tinnitus and heart beats and cracking noises. And still do.

  • Hi Rick,

    I have been diagnosed to have a VERY LARGE hole in my left eardrum. I’ve been experiencing hear loss and this has greatly affected my jobs and my study. I’m very worried I may not be able to hear again normally. The doctor suggested that we observe for a week. He gave me antibiotics and anti-allergy pills (for my allergic rhinitis). For now, I’m really depressed about this. I’m thinking, “How can I live normally now?” or “What if I changed jobs, will a company hire me because of this?” My family and friends don’t understand what I’m going through right now. I read all the posts about the surgery you’ve gone through. I think all of you mentioned that your hearing won’t ever go back to being normal. That depressed me more. :(

  • Message for Rick.
    Am only 4 weeks in to recovery and found that after my packs were removed that my hearing was quite good. But now am finding my hearing is going dull again. Did you find this?. My op was done by the ear canal no cutting. Also had a cartlidge graft and titanium bone.Prior to op I had an infection for nearly 2 years and when clear my hearing was fairly normal. Also big thanks for your blog:)
    Cheers Kev

  • For those who had ear opened up for surgery, I read stories of the ear not looking quite the same after being sewn back…did anyone else have this issue or did everything seem to be normal? Could just be that a difference of the two ears was noticeable afterwards because they were comparing the two where prior to surgery they didn’t really even compare them. Just wondering if anyone has any input on that..

    • Debra,
      See my above response to this question but, long story short, the symmetry of my ears is perfectly imperfect after surgery :)

    • Good question Debra! I have noticed a difference. It is possible it was always there and I just never noticed it before! :)

  • For those who had surgery more recently (this year), I would love to hear how you are progressing and recovering.

  • For how long were all of you told you had to be careful not to have any impact to your ear after surgery. This is another of my main concerns as my daughter is a competitive cheerleader and there is always possibility of that happening.

  • I had both ear drums repaired October 2011. It didn’t work. I still have “fullness of the ear”. I still hear air through my ears when I breath at times. And swimming……forget it! Worst pain ever. I get this horrible hurt-burning sensation that runs from my ear to the glands near my throat. I’m scared to go back to the ENT because I fear permanate hearing loss.

  • I had tympanoplasty surgeries of my ear drums. It’s almost 2 weeks after my operation. I had this procedure on 18th May 2012. I don’t know if these are normal….I heard pulsing, clogged on both ears, I can hear my own voice, with a minimal high pitch. I can hear both but not the same before the operation. My left ear is better than right ear, when it comes of hearing, seems something clogged in my right ear….can anyone explain me about this?

    • Your eustachian tube is clogged. I had that problem in July. If you have post-nasal drip,or allegeries, you clog up your eustachian tube. I took zyrtec for two weeks and it went away. I read somewhere online that you can use nasal spray to clear your eustachian tube also.

    • For those of you who just had surgery, what Wilbert described is normal.

  • I had a right tympanoplasty and bilateral adenoidectomy yesterday. Feeling pretty good….trying not to do too much. Still all bandaged up, anxious about seeing the incision behind my ear and how much bleeding/drainage there is. My neck and ear area are hurting but more or less controlled by pain meds. I had hoped to return to work next week, but may take longer to recover – probably need to rest. Can already tell that the ringing in ear is worse now than with perforation. It hurts to chew and my bandages are getting itchy…they come off tomorrow :)

    My problem started about a year ago when I had a horrible case of eustchian tube dysfunction…I suspect that I had low level ear infections for years and it finally reared its ugly head. I did not have tubes in my ear as a kid or really significant ear problems, but at 29 I had my fair share! I had a myringotomy after begging my ENT to relieve the fluid in my ear. The hole soon healed and I then begged for a tube to be placed in my year…that finally worked, but when the tube came out…the hole would not heal…hence the need for surgery. From what I was told, a great deal of scarring was found in my ear…want to hear more about this at my follow-up appointment next week.

    Anyone else have adenoids removed? I think that they are the root cause of the overall problem.

    • Ricky – Thanks so much for posting this blog!! I am 17yrs old and until now, I hadn’t met anyone who can relate to having perforations in my eardrums. Finding this blog, it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone and that there are others going through similar things and surgeries. I’ve had mine for about 9yrs now and like you, have had to deal with keeping water out of my ears including using earplugs when showering. Eventually I got used to them and now using earplugs is like a daily routine to me, nothing out of the normal. I used to do swimming lessons regularly when I was younger but since having perforations, I haven’t swam at all. Now that I think of it, I haven’t even been to the beach in all 9yrs.
      Anyhow, again thank you for writing up this blog where so many have shared their experiences here. You have brought many of us together so a huge thank you for that!

      Trisha – I will be having Myringoplasty surgery in three days from now of which I don’t really know what to expect and am finding it very daunting. My ENT doctor says that there’s a 10% chance of the perforations staying the same or getting worse from this surgery. I’ll have ear packaging all the way into my ear where it literally touches the eardrum to hold the cartilage in place. I’ve read a few comments from people who have been through this surgery and they say having the ear packaging puts you in agonising pain and that it is much worse than they expected.. I’ve had colds in the past where my ear aches are extremely severe and ears are sensitive, but this surgery sounds like it is that much worse in regards to pain so I’m really quite worried now, especially since I feel under pressure after having been advised by the ENT doctor that I can’t cough, sneeze, etc the day/night after the surgery otherwise it might wreck the healing process… With a 3 month recovery period to let it completely heal I don’t know how things will turn out since I have university (1st year this year). My doctor has given me the ok that I should be able to go back to uni classes after a week or so but I still have to adjust to only being able to temporarily hear out of one ear.

      Yes I have had my Adenoids removed in an earlier surgery in 2012 i think it was? My surgery went smoothly but I can’t say the same for this myringoplasty surgery (yet?)

      These past 9yrs, I have not had significant hearing loss but when I have colds, my ears ache a lot to say the least, I have discharge throughout a few weeks, my ears become extremely sensitive and i have to take antibiotics. Not sure if ‘sensitive’ is the right word though – my hearing fluctuates over the days where sometimes I struggle to hear and understand what people are saying as it sounds like very quiet mumbles and can barely hear a thing. Other times I hear things extremely loud – eg. I remember one time I walked under the airconditioning at home and it was so loud to me that i was in absolute agony and found it unbearable. Times like these are one of the main reasons why I chose to take this myringoplasty surgery.

      I haven’t really been able to delve into these experiences very much to my friends and family because they struggle to relate to how these perforations affect me, so it is really good to be able to properly share my experience here where people have some idea of what I’m talking about. I am very glad to have found this page, thank you Ricky!

  • Hey I was very happy to come across your page. I had the same exact surgery almost two weeks ago. Your writings made me feel a little more hopeful b/c i have been in a lot of pain sense the surgery. I was wondering if you had a fever after getting the surgery? I’ve had a slight fever for a little over a week now and I was wondering if that was normal. I have my post op in a couple days. Thank you! I really knew what you meant by having it be a part of you. I always tell people to be thankful to have two good ear drums!

  • Awesome blog/site!

    I am hopefully going to see a doctor next week. Last year I was cleaning my ears with q-tips and hydrogen peroxide (which I have learned is bad, but I was just doing it the way my mom taught me). There was immense and painful pressure in my right ear for 6 hours straight. Finally got some stuff from CVS to get rid of the pressure. Ever since, my ear has been leaking a somewhat foul-smelling liquid every day. It doesn’t hurt at all. I can even hear fine as if nothing happened. Just…the liquid. I haven’t had insurance until these last few months, otherwise I would’ve been to the doctor already.

    So looking online, I think the worst thing I would need is this surgery. Obviously a doctor will have to determine that. But I just have some questions if it comes to the surgery.

    1. I am absolutely terrified of having surgery. I am afraid I will wake up, or that it will be excruciating pain that will last forever. I *know* that this has to be unrealistic, but can anyone describe in detail how it really is?

    2. Following from #1, the aftercare…I am also afraid of being in unrelenting pain for weeks on end after the surgery. I know you get pain meds, but you know…I am just so new to this stuff. What is aftercare like, exactly? Also, will I be able to watch videos online? I am watching a few different lectures online and don’t want to fall behind if possible.

    Again, I will be making an appointment for a doctor…just want to know some things ahead of time to calm my nerves about this. :)

    • Hi James,

      Everyone has a different experience, and in all honesty, pain is subjective. I had less pain with the second surgery than with the first one, but I’m healing much better. Go figure! Of course you can still watch video’s online. I was right in the middle of a class and was able to go on. I’m not saying it’s not painful, however, it is not horrific nor does it last forever. Best of luck to you! :)

  • I’m glad to find this blog and read about your experience. My son is 20 years old and found out today that he is going to have the mastiodectomy performed. Jordan (my son) developed his first ear infection at 6 months old. Got his first set up tubes at 2…his last set at 15. Hopefully this will give him his hearing in his left ear(at least some of it) back.

  • Hi Rick and everyone.
    Just to let you all know that it looks like my op was a success. My hearing has improved compared to previous hearing test. And the cartlidge graft/eardrum seems to have taken quite good. Next check up 6 weeks will keeps you posted.
    Cheers Kev.
    Ps My op was Tympanoplasty and a Titanium bone replacement on the 20 April

  • Hey y’all. So good to read all of your stories. So reassuring that my recovery seems to be headed in the right direction. I was not so sure last week. I had tympanoplasty surgery on June 6- 13 days ago. I thought I was recovering fine until last week when I started having horrible pain radiating from what felt like my jaw all the way up the side of my head and down my neck on the side I had the surgery. The pain went all the way to my molars. I was in tears it hurt so badly. My ENT thought it was TMJ and tolde me to visit the dentist. They took xrays and found NOTHING. I am baffled- has anyone else experienced this radiating pain?

  • Meg: This sounds like one of my horrible sinus infections. I had the same issue for years and went to many dentists with two root canals and a crown and finally another root canal when I finally recommended I go on antibiotics and that fixed the issue. An X-ray showed the sinuses pressing down on my molar.

  • Hi Ricky Mondelo,

    I had a tympanoplasty procedure in my both ear drums, the left ear and the right ear, my surgeon fixed my ear drums at the same time. I had these operations last month, it’s already been more than a month. I am still on post operative procedure to visit my surgeon every 2 or 3 days to clean and check the graft. He told me that my right ear drum is 95% healed compare to my left ear drum which is slow. Then, he told me that my ear drums are both healing and in right position and he showed me my new eardrums via microscopic apparatus. Sometimes I feel popping when I swallow. Would you please my answer my questions base on your experienced. Was it good to have a tympanoplasty procedure on my both ears at the same time? Why my left
    hearing is better than my right hearing, what do you think? How long is the maximum that both my hearing back to normal? Please answer my inquiry…..

    • Hi Wilbert,

      I don’t have answers to any of your questions. Trust your doctor, and if you have any additional questions, ask him. I’m sorry I can’t be of any more help, but I’m not entirely qualified to answer questions about your experience.

  • Hi,

    Has anyone ever had a hole/tear in their eardrum after their tympanoplasty? I’m curious what the options were that were discussed with your physicians. Off the cuff, I’m thinking surgery again but with Type II (cartilage is stronger) instead of Type 1 or patching. I’m curious if anyone has successfully had a patch applied to their hole/tear without having to have surgery done again.

    Thanks,
    Ricardo

    • Hi Ricardo,

      My eardrum tore after my first tympanoplasty. The next step depends on how large the tear is. I waited a year to have it done again. That was a personal decision based on trying to finish my Masters program. I had it done again in the summer and this time it took. Although it still feels plugged up, I can tell the difference in my hearing! Best of luck to you!

      • Thanks for the reply Liz. I actually got really really lucky. The tiny tear in my eardrum healed itself after about 2 months. From this point forward I’m always wearing an earplug in the water. I went underwater and turned sideways and the water gushed into my ear. Not sure if the tear was before that or not though but I’m very happy my hole is gone without needed another tympanoplasty.

  • Thank you so much for starting this blog on the recovery aspects AFTER surgery. The take home AFTERCARE instructions
    the hospital gives you leaves a lot to be desired in my
    opinion. I just happened across THIS blog this morning – 8 days after having an outpatient tympanomastoidectomy surgery done on July 9,2012 & now its July 17 so 8 days after; Surgery went well & basically slept & rested for 3 days using vicoden, so pain was minimal while staying at my daughter’s home.
    YOU WILL DEFINITELY NEED TO REST AND/OR SLEEP IT OFF THE FIRST WEEK. I had a little problem with balance walking,
    but just walked very slowly and held on to things, but that I believe was mostly effects from the Vicoden.
    A caution to women, though, in taking antibiotics for a
    period of time, you will want to eat yogurt to prevent getting hormones/enzymes out of whack as sometimes
    antibiotics may cause a yeast infection to develop.
    Returned home after that and continued to just rest and take it easy the first week. Called the ENT
    office to schedule my Post-op appointment last week and was really put off as the earliest they can see me is
    AUGUST 7TH! That will be 4 wks, 1 day from the date of my surgery and I was very concerned about the inner packing
    – UNTIL – I found your blog, I saw this surgery performed
    on YouTube, but never gave it a thought about the gel-foam packing disintegrating somewhat. My instructions for the
    antibiotic ear drops states NOT to use them until seven days PRIOR to my post-op visit. I do take
    oral antibiotics 3X a day, though for 15 days, and daily change the outer cotton ball and dab ointment on the
    incision behind my ear. I seldom now take any Vicoden so its on an as needed basis. Dr. told my daughter most of the
    sutures are inside and it appears the outer incision behind my ear was with dissolvable stitches as I cant see
    noticeable. Im a little more active this week..not much
    as I cannot lift anything that weighs more than a gallon of
    milk, nor anything strenuous yet – but I do notice the packing is draining more blood which is to be expected.
    I had tinnitus before, and continue to have it, tho at a lower volume. Doc did say the hearing may not improve
    as main issue was the cholesteatoma, and hearing may be re-visited 6-9 months down the road. As being a 63-yr old
    female, may reconsider that one, too. I am taking 2 weeks off work as sick time so this is week 2. As I work in an office setting, I am contemplating returning to work next
    week; if not, it will go towards disability leave. My only concern I have is if the packing will acquire a “dead animal’ stench from the oozing draining being left in
    that long and if the cotton ball will “plug” the smell.
    I have long hair that I have not washed yet but will try
    the vaseline-swabbed cotton ball in the ear before I do wash it. Really just brush the hair back & place it in a
    bun so its not like helter-skelter. I dont want to
    anticipate any further surgeries unless absolutely necessary. I, too, experience, the “pounding” sounds (more like a door thud closing) in the ears & also hear
    my heartbeat. It was my right ear operated on, so I lay on
    two pillows with my left ear down, or on my back. Again, instructions said just “use two pillows” – nothing about which ear, or on the back. Thanks again for this blog, and continued success and good healing to all of us.

  • I am 42 yrs old and had tymnoplasty surgery to repair a hole in my eardrum. The surgery was 7 days ago. The incision behind my ear has healed well and the oozing from my ear canal has stopped. There was not much pain and the only downside so far is that my hearing is much worse and I hear a constant high pitched tone in the ear. I have my first follow up appointment tomorrow. Is noticeable hearing loss normal right after surgery and how long before I can expect it to improve?

    • Hi John,

      I wasn’t able to hear anything for weeks after my surgery. If you read everything there is to read on this blog, you’ll see that I was dismayed. Eventually, my hearing did come back.

    • Hi John,
      since you’re only a week out from surgery, you cannot expect your hearing to be restored to a more normal level for 6 months or longer. The primary reason is all the packing they put in the ear after the repair. I too had tinnitus following both my surgeries, and occasionally still have it, even after the repairs made. I had regular follow-up visits at 2 wks/3 months/6 months and 9 months after surgery. Each person is different with respect to recovery and how much hearing is restored. Since the graft used to repair the hole makes a somewhat thicker membrane for the sound waves to travel through, it does not give a perfect restoration of hearing, but you should be able to get a pretty good result. I am now 11 months after my 2nd surgery (which followed my tympanoplasty…my incus bone had to be removed the first time around since the cholesteatoma had eaten half of it away…they used a tissue grafting to anchor it to the ossicular chain) and though I have permanent hearing loss in that ear (right), it was restored to a significant level (I have certain frequencies which are more affected than others) and is classified as a mild loss. You’re lucky you didn’t experience much pain! I would ask your doc. about the tinnitus…sometimes it goes away completely, sometimes not, but I’ve never been given an explanation as to why. Your hearing should return to near normal, based on what I’ve read and experienced and heard from my own doc. Good luck!

  • Just an update; after a snafau with the Dr office & Benefits dept at work, they moved up my Post-op exam yesterday – 3 wks to the day from when surgery was performed. Doc removed all the packing, then vacuumed out any remaining fluids/remnants left behind & put eardrops in my ear, then plugged it again. Wants me to continue w/antibiotic eardrops for 2 wks then will see me in a month. My ear still feels numb and I cant hear anything from that ear which was to be somewhat expected. I do notice that the ringing in THAT ear has stopped (still have it in left ear only volume is much lower). Just have to give it some time for total healing & and I know being an older patient, it may take a tad longer. At least the pre-surgery drainage & itching is gone. He repaired the eardrum, ear canal, enlarged the mastoid area, and did something with the hearing bones–so Im sure its tender still on the inside, tho cant feel it. I, too, wait and hope that the hearing in that hear eventually returns. Just taking it day-by-day & returning to work today.

  • Hi everyone, I have found this page a few times, but wanted to let posters here, especially parents, know of a web site I am developing for parents of kids with cholesteatoma. The site is for both congenital and acquired cholesteatoma, and is available at http://www.bornwithcholesteatoma.net. I will add a link in my resources page to this site as well, since I am sure it will help many parents understand the magnitude of this surgery. My child’s story is still being written as we await our first major surgery next month. Best to all and hope to add yet another helpful resource for anyone looking for information on cholesteatoma.

  • This blog is very helpful for someone who is experiencing these issues. Just wanted to give an update. I had my first post op appt a week ago. The doc said it was too soon to tell. I have to go back a week from today for another checkup which will be 3 weeks after surgery.
    Tinitus is greatly reduced. I noticed that I now have a popping sound in my ear every now and then when I swallow. Just curious how long it typically takes the graft to take? Should I expect the hole to be completely sealed after 3 weeks or could it take a few weeks/months longer? I am wondering if the popping sound i am hearing is the hole opening and closing around the graft edges?

  • Hi my daughter 6 years has had a large hole in eardrum for a year due to a single infection. She only had the one infection. She has lived with the hole no problems and hearing is very good. But we have been advised to have the operation to close it to prevent potential future problems. I have read so many horror stories about this operation i find it impossible to decide to go ahead when she is in such good health and excellent hearing. Is it really worth it?

    • your daughters situation seems simlar to my son he developed the hole when he was about 3 we went ahead and did the surgery oct 2 i can tell you right now i am very scared it seems that he hole is back but i will know more in 2 weeks as for the surgery my son actually did really well with it hope this helps and all goes well

    • I had 3 surgeries. My last surgery was done on Oct 10, 2012. If I had to do it all over again, I would not do the surgery. Even though, I’m not fully recovered yet, I can tell from the other two surgeries I had, this last surgery is different. My recovery is slower than the last two. I’m getting a hearing test in two weeks. I think my hole is closed, but my hearing loss is not better. Before the surgery, I can hear ok. However, there is probably more packing in my ear that needs to be dissolved.

  • Hi everyone! Like most everyone on this site I want to thank you for setting up the blog! I am having a second tympanoplasty done in about three weeks. Although this may sound odd, I am so thankful to read that everyone else experienced pain post-op! Most ENT sites state the pain is mild; yeah right! Like most of you I also endured a lot of ringing in my ear for awhile. My story is just a little different in that a few weeks post-op my doc became almost obsessed with removing a “blood clot” in my ear. I finally made him stop messing with it! I do believe that either the first or second time he tried to get the blood clot out he re-tore my eardrum!! I am now being sent from Idaho to Salt Lake to have it redone by a new doc. Do not look forward to wearing the Jock strap (LOL) again but I guess if I can make my friends and family laugh it is worth it! :) I am currently in my internship as a mental health counselor and hate that I have to sit with my head turned in order to hear. Hopefully I will get some of my hearing back in the right ear. If not, then hopefully I will get to see what it is like to shower without cotton or an ear plug!!! Best of luck to everyone!!

  • This is such a great thing to see! I am meeting with Dr. Meiteles at the end of this month. I also have a very large perforation in my ear drum since i was 5 years old; there have been 2 surgeries to repair it but neither had been successful. It has been 12 years since the last surgery and now at 24 I am hopeful that Dr. Meiteles can be the doctor to make it work.

  • I’m now a little over a week post-op for the second tympanoplasty. The pulsing and ringing in my ear has already stopped. (knocked on wood) As of today I can eat without pain. :) I go back in a month to ensure all packing is out and hearing test in a few more months. During the last surgery they did not cut as much behind the ear. I had a hard time getting the tape off this time and it was really, really stuck. After I pulled it off I started picking at what I thought was a piece of hair with glue on it. Don’t do that! It ended up being part of the dissolvable stitches and I just yanked it out! It was not comfortable; to say the least. :) Best of luck to everyone and again I am so glad I found this site.

  • I had my surgery done two weeks ago and today the packaging got removed. it’s the first day and I still can’t hear much out of the operated ear, I wear a hearing aid in my right ear to help me hear better. when the packaging was in my ear, I heard some noises in my ear that woldent go away and got really annoying, that lasted about 4 days, I guessed it was normal because of the healing/packaging. I found it very hard to sleep at night as I had to sleep on my right ear. I have to go back to the hospital to get the sponges in my ear near the graft to be removed in a month. I’m really hoping this works for my ear, as I’ve had a lot of ear infections and time off school and really knocked my confidence. doctor says if it works for me, then he suggests I have the same operation on the right ear. I’m just really worried that it might not work. how long did it take someone with the same experience for you to actually hear better after the graft healed?

  • I am 3 months beyond tympanomastoidectomy and I still do not hear out of the operated ear very well, which was formerly my “good” ear as I wore hearing aid for the left ear. No other issues and still going for post-op checkups. Dr told me at the onset, tho, that hearing may not return as that wasnt the main reason for the surgery, but rather removing the chloesteoma

  • I just went in and had a tympanoplasty done on my left ear on Tuesday.

    Today is Thursday and I took my dressing off on Wedsday morning. I just noticed my ear is moved LOL. I was looking in the mirror wondering why my face looked different and noticed that they moved my ear.

    My surgery took around 1 1/2 hours and they sent me home about 1 hour after entering the recovery department.

    They put me on Tramadol and Percocet along with some other medications in the Recovery room which when I left made me throw up.

    Once I threw up I was fine I actually went home ate a full 3 course dinner along with some other snacks.

    I have been taking Vicodin every 4 hours and really haven’t even noticed any pain.

    I actually went back to work the day after the surgery with zero issues.

    I had this surgery done due to having tubes in my ears twice when I was a kid and the hole not closing up which provided me 30 years of ear infections and not able to go swimming due to ear infections if I did go under water.

    The surgery itself and recovery appears to be pretty easy. I just took a shower today by wetting everything shoulder down as to not touch my graft area or my ear with water. I also take some vaseline and some cotton balls and change them out every 4 hours or so to make sure the blood doesn’t get dried in my ear.

    I have a post op follow up next wedsday so 1 week after the surgery around there. I hope the news is good and the graft is taking.

  • my 7yr old son had the tympanoplasty sugery oct 2 . when he was 3 he had the ubes put in both ears but 6 months after the tubes were in he developed a hole in his left ear next to the tube. right ear is fine closed and perfect left ear had the hole since he was 3 . we went 1 week post op the dr said everythin looked fine and emoved some packin , we went 2 weeks post op everything fine still cleaned out some packing again and told my son he could go back to regular activiies gym, soccer ect. we went for 3rd week post op appt and dr checked said everything was ok but i asked to see the ardum when i looked i notices what looked to me like a hole i asked the dr and he said the ear is still healing but i could ell he was tring to make me feel better he told me to stop using the ear drops so i know that as well is a sign there is a hole please le me know if anyone has somewhat a similar experience and if there is any chance that hle may heal o i may no be a hole at all thanks or his blog

  • I had my Tympanoplasty surgery (Post auricular surgery : incision behind the ear) done 15 days ago on my right ear and 4 days back Dr had removed the stitches and gave me ear drop and asked me to put 3 times a day for 5 days (each time 3 drops).Every thing went well till 3rd day.4th day when i put ear drop i felt pain in the ear and ear drop came in mouth. I am worried whether the perforation in the ear is closed or not.Please if anybody had the same issue please share ur opinion.

  • Hi, I have now share the matter of tympnoplasty in my right ear, which done before 1 yrs ago. But unfortunately the surgery failed and since 1yrs the pus continously discharging from my ear. During this period I had visit many ent surgeon and local hospital for treatment and still in medication, but no improve found. Finaly doctor found a another perforation in my ear drum & suggest for a surgery name mastiod exploration, bt they not suggest for another tympanoplasty which seems to me very interesting. Now plese give ur opinion.

  • I had 3 surgeries now. Two were done in 1995. The last one was done on Oct. 10, 2012. If anyone have any question feel free to ask since I was once in your shoes, looking for anything that I can find online about tympanoplasty. I’m having my hearing test done in two weeks. I will keep you posted of the result. The reason I did this third surgery because when I went swimming and put my head in the water (of course with an ear plug)I had this extremely sharp pain in my left ear. I knew it was from the hole in my eardrum. My second reason to do a third surgery was to recover hearing loss.

  • Due to fungal infection, I got perforated eardrum (Left one) about 2 months ago. After waiting for six weeks, without any kind of infection inside the ear, the hole didn’t seem to be healed on its own. Doctor suggested me Tympanoplasty for fixing the eardrum.

    After having my surgery 2 weeks ago, I am facing problem in hearing in that ear. Before operation hearing loss was recorded to be of 40% in the left ear. Doctor said that, after another 2 week (almost 4 weeks after operation) I will be able to hear, as at this time gelfoam has not been resorbed.

    2 days ago, while I woke up in the morning, I am feeling vertigo (dizziness). I called doctor, and he is saying that it should not be like this. The vertigo can be felt only after operation and for 1 or 2 days only. Also, I can not walk confidently after the operation till now. Has anyone here feel anything similar to that of mine? I am too much worried about the dizziness as it is persistent for last 3 days.

    Please, Give your opinion on this.

  • Hello everyone! I will be having this procedure in two days. I am fourteen years old and I have been dealing with a perforation in my left ear for twelve years. For the last few months or so, I’ve been getting bad pains such as the feeling of acid eating away at the inside of my head, a hot poker going down my ear canal, someone hitting me in the ear with a hammer, and blood pouring out of my ear at random times. I have had so many ear infections in my life, and have been through many ENT’s, none of which were able to help me. I heard someone talk about ear vacuuming earlier; I think that’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. Anyways, I’ve lost most of my hearing in my right ear, and like you, have bad to learn to turn my head when people talk to me and wear my custom earplug, not only in/near water but also when I’m out and about because it helps me reduce any pain I may have when I’m awake. I have several drainage problems as well.

    I have a few questions that I didn’t ask the doctor at my pre-op yesterday, because I really didn’t get to do any talking (my mother did all of that). I would like to ask people who have been through this procedure these questions, and it looks like I have found the right place :)
    1. How long do you have the wear the ear wrap?
    2. Will sneezing/yawning make my patch blow (I’ve heard many an ENT tell me this, so I just want to know if it’s true. I’m allergic to what seems like every plant on this earth and I am on medication to control my allergies but it doesn’t always work…)
    3. How long do you have pain after surgery and what does that pain feel like?
    4. Does the Hydrocodon and Vicadin help this pain very much?

    Thank you so much!! I’m so glad to find a place with people who know what the thing I’m going through feels like :)

  • Oops! I said right ear, didn’t I? I meant left! Something else is going on with my right ear, something that the doctors can’t really figure out.

  • Hey. I know what you are going through. I have had numerous surgeries as I continue to grow up and many of them have been for my ears. I just had my second round of tympanoplasty this year. I had one last year also and it didn’t work. Except for me she does both ears at the same time. This time it was worse though. She had to cut off my whole top of my ear drum due to a really rare scar tissue that formed from the last surgery and rebuild it with fat and skin from my ear lobe. And on top of that I was put on medicine that I just learned I am allergic to. So that extended my recovery time. Not fun. Just want to say thanks for being a good sport and writing a blog such as this to get people aware of what is going on and what kids go through all the time. And good luck to all of you whom are going to go through the procedure in the future. :)
    -Kaitlyn
    Age 17

  • I have been thinking about my tympanoplasty quite a bit lately as this is my one year anniversary since my surgery. Surgery has held up thank God,although I don’t think my hearing is as good as it was before the injury,but I can swim and shower. I was very concerned that I would lose my job due to this as I am a State Law Enforcement Officer,but at the end of the day the only thing I needed to go back to work was a clearence letter saying I was fit for duty. They never asked for the results of the hearing test. Anyway,I am happy I had the surgery and I would say it has given me an appreciation of things I took for granted in life. Best of luck to all and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • I had my surgery last Thursday and I am petrified I will do too much and distrust the graft. I am still in quite a bit of pain. This evening I started having more intense pain, is this normal?

    Also, can someone explain in depth (or post a video) of how to seal my ear with Vaseline to shower? My doctor said to wait 7 days to shower, but as mentioned above, this surgery has me very nervous. Should I wait longer or is this a sufficient amount of time?

    • Hi Ashleigh, I just had surgery last Wednesday. For the first few days, I was in pain A LOT and now, it comes and goes…but when it comes, it IS intense! But, my doc had to replace practically my entire ear drum, as there was just a tiny bit of tissue on one side of the rim (which thankfully was very much alive and not dead).

      I get concerned with everything I do that it’s going to effect it. The hardest thing for me has been to remember to not use a straw at restaurants…I taken a few sips through one on a couple of occasions – and it makes me worried that I’ve messed things up – I sure hope not, but it is a concern, obviously, since you’re told not to.

      As for the shower…I took a few baths before venturing the shower. Yesterday was the first shower I took, and I just stand with that side away from the water to wash. In order to wash my hair, but doctor told me that for now, I can hold a washcloth up to my ear, or a cup…I’ve been doing the washcloth method, along with a clean cotton ball in the ear. It’s worked pretty good. I’m a pro at not getting water in my ear normally, because for as long as I can remember, I haven’t been able to get water in my ear…but right now, I’m taking whatever precautions I can.

  • My typano mastoidetcomy and damaged bone removal was done to my left ear on November 16, 2012 at UCLA. I’ll be approaching 4 weeks soon since the surgery. Before the surgery my hearing ability out of my left was almost nil. The doctors at UCLA said the surgery was a success, but it will be at least 6 weeks for recovery and healing to occur. My ultimate goal to hear out of my left ear with assitance of an hearing aid. If no hearing aid is needed, then all the better. Before the procudure, my left ear drum was gone, and all 3 ear bones had to be repaired (one new bone implanted). The pain afterwards last for a week. I believe my surgery was a little more extreme than most people will go through. I too have the lowering of the ear affect, but I find that will be a gift once hearing developes. It’s been since 1982 that I’ve been unable to hear. So this procedure is well over due. The other blogs I’ve read have some people saying it didn’t work, some hear a little and some others hear really well. I’m taking the “it’s better to try than not to try at all.” I’ll provide updates and answer any replies I may receive. Good luck to us all who are hearing impaired.

  • Hi mark! I had my eardrum repaired and the back of my eardrum removed from the little bones in my ear ( they had fused) and scar tissue removed from the little bones in my ear in November 2011. I was recently fitted with a hearing aid and the change is phenomenal! I can hear from my left ear for the first time in 4 years and it was worth every bit of pain and discomfort I hope it works for you

  • Ashleigh, to “seal” the ear, you need to take a cotton ball, tear off enough that will fit in your ear canal, then grease the cottonball with vasoline and & place in your ear; this is the “seal” part as you’ve waterproofed the cotton ball from getting water in your ears.

  • Hi Michelle,
    My Doctors said I can use a hearing aid with an ear bud type type of device. They do not want anything deep in the canal. I can now hear out of my left ear. Something that was impossible before my surgery. UCLA is going to perform a second surgery (now my right ear tomorrow on 12-12-2012). Both of my ears wear damaged due to ear infections as a child. I’ll provide updates…

  • had my tympanoplasty surgery on my left ear (to build up the bone structure) about 4 months ago now and so far i can hear a lot better. a few weeks ago i went back to the hospital and my doctor said that i have Cholesteatoma infection in my right ear, so i have to have mastoid surgery in a couple of months in 2013 to have the infection removed and the bone. has anyone had mastoid surgery? i’m just really curious if it’s similar procedure as tympanoplasty, like how you feel afterwards and affects.

    • Chloe, a mastoid surg. is pretty common for cholesteatoma, in addition to a tympanoplasty. In fact it’s often called tympanomastoidectomy… It means that they will clean out the whole mastoid removing any cholesteatoma and infected areas, as well as down into the ear. Mastoid surgery is done from behind the ear, and a little more involved. Try to find out what the dr will do with the canal wall – leave it, take it down, repair it, etc. I can’t say how it is personally as it was my toddler who had it (and she doesn’t talk much yet), but she was really like herself in 2 days, just a little tired at first. I think personal experiences vary, but you might want to check out the cholesteatoma group on Facebook, lots of adults there with experience with mastoid surgery… HTH, Tasha

    • Hi Chloe.
      So far I have had four ear surgeries. I was 2 1/2 when I had my first and it was to remove cholesteatomas. My second surgery was at the age of 21 to remove more cholesteatomas. Each time they made an incision behind my ear. I don’t really know the difference between a tympanoplasty and the mastoid surgery because when I went in for my fourth surgery Nov. 21 of this year, they were supposed to go through my ear canal but found another cholesteatoma, so they had to make another incision behind my ear. This last surgery was a little more painful for me, but I think it’s because my ear wasn’t fully healed from my surgery that I had in 2010. I hope that since this is your first, then maybe it won’t be so bad. Good luck!

  • I had a tympanoplasty 5 weeks back in my left ear due to 60% perforation. I did not have any problems post operation, no cold , no infection and doc says my graft has been 100% successful. Am back to office now but I feel frustrated because my left ear is still blocked and I feel hard of hearing . I need to know how much time it will take for me to hear clearly and the constant ringing in my ear to stop? Is this normal?

    • Hi Viral, I know how frustrating it can be to have that blocked feeling and lack of hearing. As I recall, I did not get hearing back for several months and the ringing in my ears subsided somewhat, but has never completely gone away. I had a cholesteatoma and 2 operations in the right ear. I think by 6 months, things were almost “normal”. The right ear continues to produce much more wax though during certain times of the month (hormonally related perhaps). The blocked feeling and subsequent hearing loss should continue to improve over time, but it does take a lot longer than sometimes people are led to believe. Best of luck! P.S. my last operation was in December of last year (it was to replace the half-eaten incus bone in my right ear)

  • Hi, I am now 5 mos past having a tympanoplasty done and my hearing returned gradually, I’d say between 4-5 mos down the road. I had a canal wall up & canal wall down performed for the cholesteoma (sp) with repairing/patch the eardrum. I hear fine out of that ear now; the other ear I do wear a hearing aid. Only difference I can tell is that the ear canal to the operated ear feels like an airport hanger compared to a normal ear canal. The external area is still somewhat numb to the touch but its getting better day by day. I did not experience a lot of pain…perhaps keeping Vicoden in me for two days afterwards helped that, HA.

  • Hi everyone! Quick question. After this second surgery (same ear) I am still having pain behind my ear. Everything looks good from the outside, but burning pain (on the inside). I didn’t have this before. Anyone have any ideas on why it is still stinging after 3 months? Good news though, my hearing is back! Yesssss. :)

  • I needed advice. I was invited to go to a shooting range, but am a little concerned. I had my surgery on November 29. I, of course, would wear ear protection, but I was wondering if anyone had an experience/advice on what I should do. Thanks!

  • Oh Ashleigh, since you and I are only one day different in our surgery dates, I couldn’t even imagine going to the shooting range right now!! Now, mine might be a little more serious than yours…I don’t know….my surgery was to replace the entire eardrum. I would suggest that you speak with your doctor about it though.

    • Anita-

      How sensitive is your ear?

      I ended up having to have my entire eardrum replaced also.

      • Well, as I’m starting to hear some things out of it, even though there’s still packing in there, some things even sound louder than they used to. Plus, the ear protection you wear at a shooting range is pretty tight….I wouldn’t be able to handle that on my ear yet.

  • My wife had tympanoplasty exactly one week ago. She seems to be fine except she is still taking pain medication on average 5 to 6 times in 24 hours? Could anyone share his or her experience? How long the pain will last? Any advice for the next steps. she will visit with the ENT specialist on January 3, 2013. Thanks much in advance for giving me some insight!

    • Wally, everyone is different depending on how they handle pain. I was taking Tylenol 3’s every 4-6 hours for the first 4 days….then didn’t take another one until day 7. I haven’t taken any since. Her pain should be subsiding soon, hopefully. I’m at 4 weeks since surgery today, and I still have twinges of pain that lasts for a few seconds, but no need for pain meds.

  • My wife had tympanoplasty exactly one week ago. She seems to be fine except she is still taking pain medication on average 5 to 6 times in 24 hours? Could anyone share his or her experience? How long the pain will last?

    • Hi Wally,

      I recall the pain for me lasting at least this long, primarily because of one of the incision knots (I had a behind-the-ear procedure) pressing on a nerve that led to a spot on the back of my head…it was quite painful and nothing would relieve it but ice, and even then, only temporarily…so yes, it can take awhile, depending upon the source of the pain…It should be starting to subside I would think…if not, I would definitely have it checked out…

  • Hi all,
    I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this website. I had 3 tympanoplasties on my left ear as a child, which held until an ear infection last year blew another hole in my ear drum, this time where the drum attaches to the bone. I’m 29 now, and just had the surgery again 3 days ago. I’m working on my recuperation. My experience is very similar to the people listed above – quite a bit of pain in and around my ear, jaw pain, loud heart beat sound through my ear, and fear every time I feel like I might sneeze or burp. I’m also finding that over the past couple days my good ear has become sensitive to loud noises – maybe because it’s trying to adjust to having zero hearing in my left ear right now? I’m so nervous that the surgery hasn’t worked. I have an absolutely wonderful ENT doctor in Washington DC (please let me know if you need a recommendation!), but there’s only so much he can do with a damaged ear. He removed skin growing in my middle ear that he said was also causing problems (I don’t even know what this means?!). The second of my surgeries as a child was horrifically botched, and I suspect that the doctor found some residual damage from that as well. I go back in 10 days for the first check up, but I’m unsure if he’ll be able to tell if the graft worked at that time.
    I just wish there were exercises or something I could do to help the healing. It’s frustrating to have an injury that you can’t see, can’t really monitor yourself, and have such limited control over.
    Thanks all for your insight and questions – it’s been really helpful to make me feel “normal” about my ear problems and my recovery. Best wishes!

    • Lilly, the skin in the ear is cholesteatoma, but you should confirm that with your ear doc. There’s lots of info and I actually run a web site about it if you want to know more (let me know). Anyway, my daughter shares your name, and so far perhaps similar ear troubles (she’s not yet 2). Best of luck that you may find more answers for your ear soon. It worries me too that this will be something my L will have to deal with for life…

  • Tasha, thank you so much. I couldn’t speak to the doctor right after my surgery, so my caretaker wrote down the information but didn’t catch the actual name of the condition. Now I can see that a lot of people with similar ear problems have also had cholesteatoma. I’ll get more details when I see the doctor for follow up. That’d be great if you can share the link to your website. Best of luck to you and your daughter! Chronic ear problems are such a bummer, especially as a child. My advice is to find a good ENT and don’t be afraid to get second opinions if something doesn’t seem right.

  • had my surgery 5 months ago on my left ear and few weeks ago, my ear has popped and i can’t hear out of it unless i blow my nose and make my ear pop. i have a appointment in a few to go back to the hospital to get it checked out. anyone know what could happening? it’s really annoying waking up in the morning and not being able to hear out of it :(

    • Chloe, so sorry nobody answered you. That does not sound like a good thing at all…especially after 5 months. Have you had your appointment yet? If so, what did they have to say?

  • Well you can call me the ear infection queen! Wish I found this site when I was researching, so I’m here to share my story. I have had ear infections my whole life. When I was around eight I had vents or tubes put in my ear for a drainage issue. This I had not thought of for many years. As an adult I have been plagued with infections. During college I would have as many as six a year. I’m now thirty five and had continual ear infections for four months with one week a symptomatic. It all began with a horrible ER visit in Europe. The capstone was continual drainage and a hole in my ear drum that never closed. My ENT couldn’t clear it. Finally he referred me to a colligue of his for further investigation. A CT revealed my mastoid bone was 75% blocked. The surgeon said he had to operate to remove a portion of my mastoid bone to prevent the spread of infection to my brain. Also the hole would have to be repaired to prevent this from getting reinfected. Shock!!! I was just thinking I had infection that didn’t go away! Post op I find out I have a mass attached to my inner ear bones plugging the air flow from bone to canal. This had to be scraped of my bone and removed. I’m 8wks post op. I have my hearing test later today but I have to say i know from the volume of the TV I can already hear better. More bone was romoved than expected. I’m still dizzy, vertigo like feeling and sensation is still not fully back. I’m lucky. My next symptom would have been meningitis. My advice see doc for reoccurring problems, don’t ignore it. I never knew my ear infection was just a symptom of a bigger issue.

  • In addition, the procedure scar is a bit shocking initially. Mine runs from behind my earlobe following the natural crease behind the ear right up to the top of my ear and yes I did have part of my head shaved but not a lot. My scar is so neat and tidy! The tissue is lumpy but this should settle over time and the scar will blend to look like the crease naturally. My ear also sits a little tighter to my head but only I notice it! I also had pulsating noises on my ear mainly at night but that has passed and is totally normal.

  • i went to the doctors yesterday and she checked both of my ears. she said my ear is blocked with wax and she put me on some antibiotics to help the infection and said its normal to feel pain in my operated ear because it hasn’t been done long. i’m going to the hospital on tuesday to get my ear cleaned by the suction thing and looked at by the professional top doctor. however on new years eve i went to see a band playing and i got a REALLY sharp pain in my operated ear 3x.. but i’m guessing thats normal because of the loudness?

    • Glad you can get the wax out.

      Yes, I would guess the loudness would cause pain like that…I now it does for me. It all just takes time to normalize.

  • Hello all! I have lots of questions and hope no one has gone through this but if you have…i would love to know how you handled it. My daughter will be 14 next month and has had 4 sets of normal PT Tubes, adenoids out, twice, tonsils removed, 2 sets of the longer lasting tubes, & TWO tympanoplasty surgeries with tubes inserted each time. The last one was this past Thursday. (Let me say it is 2013 and I’m sure by now these surgeries are as common as just simple tubes). Her doctor sent her home with no packing or pain meds! After 14 years of ear troubles we feel like pros but this time she is having serious pain and nausea! Has anyone else gone through this and what have you done o fix the problem and who did you see? As her mother, it is breaking my heart to watch her suffer through this for her entire life!! Advice

  • Hello all! I have lots of questions and hope no one has gone through this but if you have…i would love to know how you handled it. My daughter will be 14 next month and has had 4 sets of normal PT Tubes, adenoids out, twice, tonsils removed, 2 sets of the longer lasting tubes, & TWO tympanoplasty surgeries with tubes inserted each time. The last one was this past Thursday. (Let me say it is 2013 and I’m sure by now these surgeries are as common as just simple tubes). Her doctor sent her home with no packing or pain meds! After 14 years of ear troubles we feel like pros but this time she is having serious pain and nausea! Has anyone else gone through this and what have you done o fix the problem and who did you see? As her mother, it is breaking my heart to watch her suffer through this for her entire life!! Advice please!!!

    • First, have her see someone at The House Ear Institute. World renowned and that is all they do. I just had tympanoplasty (ear drum ruptured aaafter several years of tubes) done by my dr/surgeon there. They are top notch and seem to get to the bottom of things rather than just treat symptoms. Second, my daughter’s oral surgeon recently told her to take 2 Advil + 2 extra strength Tylenol for pain. Dr. said she’s found it is as effective Vicodin for pain for her patients.

  • It’s somehow comforting to see all of these posts from people who have experienced the same thing as I am going through. I had an invasive cholesteatoma removed in 12/11 and just got out of a my second attempt to repair the eardrum and ossicular bones. Has anyone else had this? Although the packing is still in place until tomorrow (2 weeks post surgery), the sounds that are reaching my left ear seem distorted, like a poorly tuned AM radio. The noises squeal in sympathy to high-pitched sounds, too. Normal? Thoughts?

    • hi Eric,
      Yes, I’ve been through 2 surgeries to reconstruct the ossicular chain…in my case the incus was removed and tissue was used instead of bone or titanium to take the place of the incus for my second surgery. I got a significant amount of my hearing back, though by no means “normal”. My surgeries were due to an invasive cholesteatoma as well. It takes awhile for the strange sounds to go away…it’ll get a little better after packing is removed and then should gradually get better and better over time…

      • Thanks, Hope! You were right. Now surgery plus 43 days, the sounds are normal, the ringing periodically almost goes away and the hearing is, well, “improving”. Apparently ears heal very slowly. Did you bite the bullet and use a hearing aid of some sort?

        • Hi Eric, glad things are improving for you! Yes, very slowly…
          I chose to just wait things out…I think it was 6 months after the last surgery…had a hearing test and it showed that in all but 2 frequencies (which looked flat on the graph) my hearing was in the normal range for the affected ear. It was very strange going around for over 2 years with only one good ear, but I got used to it and I just told people when necessary. I still have tinnitus (was hoping the doc would be right about it disappearing after the last surgery, but no such luck for me) but it only is noticeable in very quiet environments or during certain times of the month. All in all, I’m pleased to get back hearing in the ear, and I believe it is better than before I started down this road! (plus hole in my eardrum is no longer there) Best of luck for continued healing, Eric!

  • I had my operation done on Monday (Feb. 11) and just got to the point to where I don’t rely on Hydrocodone to be my best friend for pain. I still have drainage daily and my hearing is extremely muffled due to the packing they place inside the ear. The right side of my tongue is numb for whatever reason.

    • Hi Tyler,

      I can respond to the tongue numbing as that happened to me. There is a nerve that connects to the tongue that runs very close to the place where they operate and if it is injured or damaged, it can produce a numb sensation. That lasted awhile for me, but then did come back and is almost completely normal (over a year after my last surgery). I only notice an occasional difference in sensitivity and taste on the right side of my tongue (my right ear was operated on)…Hopefully yours will come back to normal over time as well.

    • Tyler: My first surgery, to remove my cholesteatoma, damaged the nerves that effect taste and sensitivity on my tongue too. Actually, not “damaged” so much as “removed”. The likelihood is that your sense of taste is impaired too, correct? Anyway, my physician explained that there is some redundancy in the nerves to your mouth, so, once your brain figures it out everything will probably balance out. Also, if you’re taking that much Hydrocodone, I’m guessing there must be quite a bit of swelling involved–which takes well over a month to subside. Keep up the faith! (P.S. drainage is normal).

  • Hi guys 1year back i had my tympanoplasty surgery … Everything was quite good but recently i’m getting fluid from my ear , when i conslutd my doctore he said you caughT bad infection in your middle ear , he given some 5 antibiotics injections to my vein :( after those injections blood colted in vein now its stil healing and my nose also blocked… Doctor said it will get cure wait for sometime but 1mOnth got over ,, am still feels like there is some fluid in my ear …. Does anbody found this kinda problem??? If so let me know??? And yea i consulted another doctore when i moved to another place he said you have nose conjuction so u need to go for nose surgery?? I’m getting mad plz helP me

  • Hi all!

    I had my tympanoplasty surgery the end of November and last Friday went in for my first hearing test. The doctor said I need to start popping me repeatedly throughout day.

    Has anyone else been advised of this? With all of my ear problems, I’ve always been hesitant to pop them.

  • Ashleigh: Yes, advised me that it was ok to pop 4-5 times a day but this was only because my packing wasn’t dissolving and I’ve got a bad eustachian tube. Holding my nose and blowing 4-5 times a day for a few weeks fixed it. My hearing all of a sudden came back and life was good. I still have the bad eustachian tube but have learned how to open it without holding my nose and blowing thus avoiding damage to the eardrum that was put in from the tympanoplasty.

    • Ricardo,
      My doctor didn’t tell me why; he just said to pop them repeatedly throughout the day. How did you pop them? My doctor said to plug my nose and gently blow, but nothing happens when I try that. Any suggestions?

    • What other methods do you use to open your Eustachian tube? I’m 3 months post-op. I have fluid in my Eustachian tube and the mild blowing isn’t working. My dr doesn’t want to have to put a tube into this new ear drum but as a last resort.

      Also, when my ear drum perforated, my tinnitus’ volume increased substantially. I thought surgery would fix it, but so far no luck. It’s like having a smoke alarm next to my head all the time. Anyone else have this problem?

  • Hi all,

    I am 4 weeks post tympanoplasty. I still get popping noises when I swallow but the recovery overall has been pretty good. Like others on here I am terrified of blowing off the graph. I fly a lot for my job and am supposed to fly mid April, around the 8 week mark. Anyone experiences flying that close to the procedure ? I’m quite nervous and am thinking of canceling. Other question… How long til hearing fully returns? My hearing was at the low size of normal before and it is currently bad with the last part of packing in there…

  • Ashleigh: I don’t want to tell you to blow harder because you could blow out your brittle eardrum. I would call the doctor and ask him if you should try to blow harder or come in for a checkup. In my case, I blew softly 4-5 times a day for a few days and then one day when I blew it was like a pipe unclogged and my hearing came whistling back. It was crazy.

  • Ashley: Regarding flying….I didn’t fly for a long time but I live in the mountains and drive to sea-level every day and back. It’s a 2750 foot difference. I also went skiing to about 8200 feet about 2 and a half months after my surgery. It wasn’t until my packing was almost completely dissolved (5 months later) that I was able notice my eustachian tube working as I went up to higher elevations and eventually my eardrum popping. I’d ask your doctor about flying because my doc was pretty clear flying was out of the question for at least 6 months. Honestly, with all I’ve gone through I wouldn’t risk it. The surgery and recovery sucks and I wouldn’t want to go through it again.

    • Thanks for your reply, Ricardo. I’ll discuss with my doctor. He originally said 3 weeks but that just seems so soon. After 4 weeks it still feels weird. Can’t sleep on that side, can’t feel parts of my ear, can’t hear much. How can that be ok? Yes, the recovery sucks so if there is any risk, I WILL NOT do it!!

  • Hey Ashley, I can’t answer your flying query but I can tell you it’s been 4 months almost 5 from my surgery and I do not have full sensation back. It’s better than a few weeks post op but not normal. My story is above somewhere. One month out I was sleeping on ear still a lil tentatively but it was better than not. I found it hard as that was my sleeping side. Wishing you all the best in your recovery.

    • Thanks Carol. Appreciate you sharing your experience! It is so nice to be able to hear others’ stories. People think: “oh, just ear surgery” but they don’t realize all the pain and recovery involved, along with all the annoying restrictions in activity!

  • Hi, I accidentally punctured my eardrum with a Q-tip 3 months ago. At 45 you’d think I’d know better. Went to E.R. cleaned it out and put antibiotic/steroid drops in for 10 days. Saw ENT, said I was missing 2/3 of eardrum. Waited a month, but did not heal itself. Went to specialist ENT who does 10 of these operations a week. He made it sound so routine almost like an oil change. Having surgery in 1 week, both sides of eardrum. I have to fly to Chicago to Mexico 29 days after surgery. Dr. said it should be okay. Will let you know how it goes next week. Please pray for me that all goes well.

    • Wishing you all the best David

    • I had surgery on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. and was back at home before noon. Can you believe it? Everything went very well, had no problems with the anesthesia and the doctor did NOT have to reshape my three ear bones, so it went faster too – THANK YOU Jesus! I had a head bandage and what looked like a softball strapped to my right ear. I removed the bandage and all looked pretty good. I have redness, bruising and it’s swollen. The stitches are supposed to dissolve. It’s Saturday and my ear kind of hurts periodically and I have a discharge that’s red and yellow. Sometimes it’s itchy, but I cannot feel the top part of my ear. I really hope this works because I’m not sure I would do this again. I’ll let you know how the 30 day checkup goes.

  • I just had my tympanoplasty a week ago. It was actually very easy – no huge bandage afterwards, but a row of stitches behind my ear that just got removed yesterday. The worst part was just getting over the fatigue from the anesthesia. He told me 2 weeks of no activity (workouts, lifting, bending over, etc). 4 weeks before flying; keep water out of ear; and….WAIT. We just have to wait for all of the gel foam to dissolve away so that he can see the eardrum to see if it was a success. There was very little pain with the surgery, and no restrictions from the doctor on how I could sleep – he just said to sleep however was most comfortable. I’m just experiencing crackling when I swallow, and the pressure in that ear will build up and then go down. This has been happening for the past two days. I hope the fact that I can feel pressure is a sign that the graft is holding. I’m so afraid when I chew or yawn or burp that I’ve just blown the graft, but there is nothing I can do to stop those movements. We’ll see….

    • Is your surgery successful ? I had right tympanoplasty just before 12 days I have continues burps and watery sensation in my right ear.Some yellow fluid is in my right ear. I want to know what happened with you Allison.

  • Hi there,
    I am just wondering if anyone has experienced this. After 4 ear surgeries in my life time (2 sets of tubes 2 tympanoplasties) I am told I still have alot of scar tissue from my last one which was about 7 months ago. My question is, can scar tissue actually prevent you from not feeling when you have an ear infection? I am waiting to be seen by my doctor but right now I am experiencing a sore throat and neck pain on the side of my ear that had the operation. Do you think years of scar tissue can prevent me from having ear pain if the ear is indeed infected?
    Thanks so much!

    • I don’t know anyone replied or if it is too late, but my daughter has a lot of scar tissue and we never know when she has an ear infection. She never has pain. She actual never did. Every time she gets a cold we have to get her checked out.

  • Hello, I am so glad to find this blog. Thank you, Ricky. I am anticipating surgery in 4 weeks and nervous about it since I am 59 years old. After years of repeated ear infections and hearing loss I could not ignore it any longer. I appreciate all the comments from people undergoing this surgery and their journey to recovery. With positive, but wary hopes….

  • I had my mastoid op on tuesday to remove the cholesteatoma in my right ear.
    today the right side of my face, my cheek bone and jaw really aches and hurts when i move my mouth.. has anyone else experienced this after having there op done? i’ve had pain killers and paracetomol and the pain still won’t go away.
    i’ve also been feeling dizzy and sick but i’m sure this is normal as i experienced this when i had it done to my left ear last year.

    • Chloe,
      i had my surgery last thursday and yes my cheek bone and jaw hurt when I move my mouth or chew on something, they still do but not as bad as the first few days. I took vicodin a few times after surgery than i quit it was making me nauseous, i’d rather deal with the pain than dizziness and nauseousness. i do get occasional sharp pain and mild dizziness but it’s bearable. im going back to work tomorrow and i’m a bit nervous about being able to sit up for 8 hours straight. already looking forward to the weekend. Good luck with your recovery!

      ~jeannie

  • Paul and Andrew,
    You both mentioned in your above posts that your ears were sticking out, I just had my right ear surgery (tympanomastoidectomy) almost a week ago and my ear is sticking out noticeably as well. So i was wondering if yours ever went back to normal. I am very worried about mine not going back! :-(
    thanks in advance for your feed backs.

    -Jeannie

  • My daughter is 7 she has had 5 surgeries. 4 tympanoplasties. Just found out today the last one this last February didn’t work either. She also has had cholesteatoma and has had an ear bone replaced. She wore a hearing aid before and we are not sure at this point if she will need to wear it again. It’s still to early. I wish this would all be over. I am glad your surgery work. Oh, we also found out through all this that she has MH which means she is allergic to gas anesthetic. It’s been a long road.

  • Oh yeah, my question, who and where are your alls doctors. Our 1st ENT did 3 surgeries then referred her to a specialist in vanderbult in TN and he has done 2 unsuccessful.

    • My surgery was done at OHSU in portland, or. Surgery I had last week was the third on my right ear. First time, I was 8, second i was 16, and the third surgery (now in my mid-30s) was to remove cholesteatoma that developed due to multiple ear infections, the cholesteatoma was so severe that it damaged my ear drum and bone, there will be a 4th surgery 6 months from now to repair the bone and hopefully improve my hearing. If my right ear is successful, they will work on my left, still got a loong road ahead of me.

  • Sarah, I have had three tympanoplasties. Two included mastoidectomies with Ossicular Chain Reconstruction. (OCR). I don’t know the results of the third once, since it was just this past Wednesday (5/8). I do know I had excellent results with the second one. No serious problems for 17 years. The surgeon I used then, and would have used again, if finances permitted (no insurance) is Dr. Pappas in Birmingham, AL. I think his first name is Dennis. He does ear surgeries exclusively, and he has a top-notch reputation. I hope the results of my recent surgery are good. I also have a question. Since the surgery last week, my balance has really been off. I expected some dizziness after having ear surgery, but not this much. Have other people experienced severe dizziness/balance problems several days after surgery?

  • I am 52 years old with a long history of ear infections and repeated eardrum ruptures as well as hearing loss. My ENT never recommended any surgery, since my diagonsis was that I just have ‘bad’ eustacian tubes (too small), and there was no fix for that.As a result, I was advised by the doctor not to fly on airplanes, I can’t go into high elevation locations by ground transportation and can’t swim too much below a foot of water. (Way too painful-it takes days to recover.)I nursed both of my children in hopes that they could avoid the ear issues I experienced.  Both have not had any long-term issues. My son had some ear infections as a child, but nothing past that age.  He has flown on airplanes with no trouble s few times now.  My daughter didn’t have as many childhood ear issues (thankfully).The doctors I consulted with as a young adult advised that I have an allergy to milk that shuts off my eustacian tubes like a switch.  That wasn’t until I was 18 years old-long after repeated reminders to ‘finish my milk by my parents, and multiple painful ear infections. I also have seasonal allergies that are treatable with OTC medication.It has interrupted my work life options (been a career blocker), since our Headquarters is in Europe and I can’t go there in person or travel by air to attend meetings.My husband, who survived bladder and prostate cancer two years ago, and wants to go to Niagara Falls and Cooperstown to the Baseball Hall of Fame (on his bucket list), is disappointed that we can’t go – it means we would need to drive through the NY mountain ranges from NJ to get there. He suggests that I just take a lot of pain medicine, but I don’t know if that will work. I’m fearful that for a three-day trip, I will be useless and in lots of pain, making our family (two kids) just miserable. I’m quite depressed about it and am feeling a bit like a caged animal with no hope of rescue.I missed being able to see my Mom when she was getting ill shortly before her death four years ago because I could not fly to North Carolina, and a ground trip wasn’t possible at the time. I finally took a train down to see her, but she didn’t know who I was. I also missed two nephews’ weddings, and one neice’s funeral because I couldn’t fly to attend.Have you come across anyone with a scenario like mine who has been offered alternatives that work? I don’t envision a miracle cure, but viable options would be welcome.Thank you for any suggestions you have from those from whom you have heard.

  • Hi Guys,

    Returning again after an unusual follow up appointment from my tympanoplasty in February. My hearing has been reduced significantly in the affected ear. I Had some moisture on the top side of the ear drum the doctor thought might be a contributing factor in the lack of vibration and he used Niacin to burn that part of the ear drum, hopefully to remove the water, cause a scab to grow and fall off, and eventually dead skin to thin out the ear drum so it begins to vibrate better. This was the most excruciating pain I have ever experieced and left me sobbing. 2 days later the pain is still significant, requiring me to rely on heavy pain pills as the pain constantly throbs from the aggrevated ear. Anyone experienced the use of Niacin for treatment post -op? Hoping this is all worth it…

    • Ashley, that sounds absolutely awful and I am so sorry you went through that and are still experiencing pain. I have never heard of Niacin for treatment post-op. I do remember that it took at least 6 months, maybe more before my hearing improved; I basically had no usable hearing in my affected ear for a long time! My doc never mentioned an issue with moisture; I just know that it felt full of fluid for a long time before things healed and every time I went for a follow-up visit, he never said there was anything unusual about the fact that I still couldn’t hear normally out of the ear. I wonder if another doc would have recommended the same thing…maybe you can check with one? Best of luck…

  • Hi all,

    Just to say that I had this procedure to repair a patulous eustachian tube. It didn’t work. And 2 years on I have some hearing loss, tinitus and a retraction and adhesion to the eardrum.

    My advice is this is the wrong procedure for PET try a procedure that starts in the back of the nasal cavity – Eustachian tube at that side. All the best to everyone on here…

  • Thank you for these stories! My 6 year old son had tympanoplasty. It was unsuccessful.DOes anyone know a Dr in Georgia that can help us. I feel so bad for him.
    THANK YOU!!!!

    • Jennifer – please check out Dr. Wilkinson at the House Ear Clinic in LA. The House Ear Institute has an amazing program for children only. I know its far away so that might not be feasible, but perhaps they can refer you to a Dr. who has done a fellowship there? Good Luck

    • what part of Georgia? I am in Peachtree City/Fayetteville. My doctor, Dr. Avidano at Southern Crescent ENT (he has a couple of offices) was great! I cannot recommend him enough! Good luck!

  • I forgot to add that the perforation in one is huge and the other ear is smaller. He has conductive hearing loss in both ears.

  • I’m 17 years old and I’ve had 6 ear surgeries. Two of those we’re to put in and take out tubes. The second to were paper patches to patch the holes left in my ears from the tubes. Then one hole closed and the other didnt.
    So since then I’ve had 2 tympanoplastys. I’m almost 18 and my doctor said now I may need a mastoidectomy/tympanoplasty. I don’t want another failed surgery but. If the pain stops… What should I do?

  • I also have a large ruptured eardrum in Left ear dating back to 1995 when I suffered a virus in Left ear. I have been so afraid to have surgery but now found a great doctor in NJ- I cant hear out of the left ear but after reading so many posts about pain and so on I am so worried- Also, just started new job and cant take much time off.

  • Hi all. I have been offered this procedure. I have s question for you – how many people after the procedure have achieved full hearing? Normal hearing?

    Or is there usually some hearing loss?

    Thanks in advance.

  • I had one done two months ago, still no taste. How long does it take to come back?! :-/

  • I would like to thank everyone for the posts. Dr. Office implied and bascally stated that the tympanoplasty would be a “walk in the park”. Some discomfort and a couple Tylenol and I would be good to go. Needless to say one week and I still sleep a lot. Doing better with pain pills once a day. Reading your posts made me feel better that the tolerable pain is normal.
    Thanks to everyone, I feel like I am right on track for a normal recovery.

  • Hi, 7 weeks passed until I had my tympanoplasty. My ent doctor told me everything healed well. I still haven’t been working out, because I am scared that lifting weights would build pressure in my ears.

    Any experience when did you start lifting weights after the surgery?

  • I had a Tympanoplasty in August, it’s now dec 10 and my regular doctor said I have a hole in my ear and y ENT doesn’t seem to care that I’m in pain still and basically deaf. This surgery made it worse and I’m in so much pain for 4 months. I can’t stand it. I wish I could turn back the clock and never go through with it. My doctor sucks and cares less I’m in pain.

  • i had tympnoplasty III type surgery 3 weeks back in Germany. I have already had tympnoplasty I type 7 years back but unfortunately it was unsuccseed. I hope this time it will work. I have been followed up every week since my surgery in Germany. I still didnt feel any improvement. The Doctor said that it can only be said if operation was succeed after a audio test which is going to be done 3 weeks later. I still hear the sound in my ear like i used to hear before and it is so disturbing. I hope its going to be healed.

  • Hello all! Great site to get some feedback from others that have gone through the same thing. I had my tympanoplasty surgery a month ago and recovering and I have a few questions to see if anyone is experiencing the same thing:
    – How long does it take for the packing to dissolve? I know this seems to be a general question and will vary from person to person.
    – When I breathe, it feels as if there’s air still flowing through my left ear, the one I had surgery on, and I’m just concerned my graft didn’t take place or hold. Am I just being paranoid. It still feels muffed up and stuff and I’m sure that’s from the packing that’s in placed currently on the inside/outside of my ear drum. I’m currently still on drops probably til the end of the week.

    I already had my post-op surgery last week and they said everything is looking fine. I am noticing my hearing slowly coming back but just concern about the air sensation feeling when I breathe, it may just be all the packing in there. I have my audiology test in a few months, hoping all went well with the surgery and will report back at that time.

    Any feedback would be great! Thanks!

    • Hi Phom,

      I’m in my 10th week post surgery and I still hear muffed sound. Regarding the breathing thinh, I do sometimes experience this but I assume this is Eustachian tube working/sounds a little bit different because of the packing.

      I think that the packing in my case is dissolving really slowly, but hey, I can do anything to fasten this up;)

      Good luck at your recovering.

  • Good morning Phom. The drops are to help the packing dissolve. The surgeon vacuumed the very last of mine out right at 6 weeks. This stopped the feeling of air in my ear. I think it is thinning packing in the canal. At 8 weeks I have some hearing but feel positive that I will have more in 2 months for the hearing test.
    Good luck.

    • Thanks for the information Robin. I have some hearing back and just hoping my follow up and hearing test goes okay. I go in for that in about a month, so it’ll be two months after my surgery, they may have scheduled me in too soon, who know. I’m just paranoid that I’ve blown off the graft as I’ve sneezed from time to time and with it being winter time, that doesn’t help out much and I’ve tried not to blow my nose or anything like that. I’m just hoping it all has gone well.

    • Thanks for the information Robin. I have some hearing back and just hoping my follow up and hearing test goes okay. I go in for that in about a month, so it’ll be two months after my surgery, they may have scheduled me in too soon, who know. I’m just afraid that I’ve blown off the graft as I’ve sneezed from time to time and with it being winter time, that doesn’t help out much and I’ve tried not to blow my nose or anything like that. I’m just hoping it all has gone well.

  • You are lucky! I had a tympanoplasty in 2002 and the surgery could not have gone better but I woke from the surgery with vertigo and have had it ever since. I DO recommend the surgery, it’s an awesome procedure, but there are a tiny fraction of those who develop vertigo/dizzy symptoms from it. Best of luck to you!

  • When my ENT recommended I undergo tympanoplasty, I searched the web for all sorts of info and found this blog. I’m glad to have read everyone’s experience so I’ll add mine as well. (Warning: long post)

    Some background: I’m 28 y/o, male, and had one PE tube after another put into my left ear, following an infection when I was around 8 y/o. They’d work for about 6 months, then one day I didn’t hear as much again. Months later it would fall out on it’s own and I’d go have another one put in. When I was 20 y/o I just stopped and learned to live with the reduced hearing levels. It wasn’t so bad and I adapted. But I really hoped for a solution — hopefully something long-term. After seeing an ENT for the first time a couple months ago, he found that my left eardrum had a big hole in it, about 50% of it was just gone. I’m not sure when or how that happened or progressed but he recommended I have the tympanoplasty procedure.

    On Jan 21st, I was the first patient to be seen and was back home by noon the same day. I had the same softball-sized wrapping around my head. I took my oxycodone and cephalexin antibiotic as directed. Even then, it was almost unbearable for the rest of the day. There was a constant ringing in my ears — I can describe it as the same ringing you get after coming home from a night of clubbing or from a concert. You walk into a quiet room expecting quiet, but the ringing remains constant. I also hear popping sounds, like the sound of coral (if you’ve ever gone snorkeling), when I move my jaw or chew on food.

    The next day, I wake up at about 4am with moderate throbbing pain in the operated side of my head. After taking another pain pill, I still couldn’t go back to sleep, but remained in bed watching TV at a very low volume (noise hurts). About 24 hours post op, I take off the head wrapping, revealing the cotton balls down my ear and the surgical tape behind the ear from the incision. My ear is swollen and numb. I replace the cotton balls every few hours. Sometimes they are dotted with blood-red drainage and some red goo stuck to the cotton. I read elsewhere that this goo should be put back into the ear. Throughout the day I burp and chew food and I feel pressure against my operated eardrum. Hopefully that’s ok.

    48 hours post op, I went back to work at my desk job, and the morning hours were painful. I can’t concentrate all that well and I have strange reactions to what I can only imagine is the oxycodone — a sudden onset of a panic attack/nauseated feeling. Thankfully I just give myself a few seconds and I’m ok, but it happens several times in the morning hours. I wish I had taken another day off really. I returned home after work to take it easy for the rest of the night.

    The ringing in my ear is more annoying than the pain/pressure sensation at the moment. I can’t hear other people over it sometimes. I can’t even hear myself over it. So, here I am. I look forward to restful nights first, and then better hearing. I have a followup in a few days. I’ll try to post back with an update.

    And if it’s useful, my procedure was performed by Alan Lipkin, MD. He works out of Associates of Otolaryngology (Porter Adventist Campus) in Denver, CO.

  • Quebec doctor develops new eardrum repair method
    Angela Mulholland, CTVNews.ca
    Published Monday, January 16, 2012 5:09PM EST
    A doctor in Montreal says he has developed a faster and less expensive technique for treating ruptured eardrums.
    Otolaryngologist Dr. Issam Saliba says his new technique can be performed in just 20 minutes during a routine visit to an ear, nose and throat specialist.
    Saliba, a researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre affiliated with the Université de Montréal, has already tested the procedure on 400 patients. He says it doesn’t matter how large the perforation on the eardrum is; the results of his method are as good as traditional techniques.
    Related Links
    • Viral video shows woman hearing own voice for first time
    • Doctors restore hearing after cotton swab disaster
    • Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery: Hyaluronic Acid Fat Graft Myringoplasty
    • Clinical Otolaryngology: Hyaluronic acid fat graft myringoplasty – how we do it
    Photos

    Giancario Gemignani-Hernandez, 2, of Pittsburgh, has his ear examined by Dr. Alejandro Hoberman, Nov. 20, 2006.(AP / Gene J. Puskar)
    Eardrums, technically called tympanic membranes, can become perforated as the result of trauma, such as a hit to the head, a very loud noise, or by introducing a foreign object into the ear canal.
    In children, severe ear infections can also lead to ruptured eardrums, when the infection causes pressure inside the ear to perforate the eardrum. The result is typically mild to severe hearing loss in the affected ear.
    While most perforated eardrums eventually heal themselves, surgery is needed in some cases.
    Dr. Saliba calls his technique HAFGM, for Hyaluronic Acid Fat Graft Myringoplasty. The surgery is performed using a local anesthetic, a compound called hyaluronic acid, a small amount of fat taken from behind the ear to patch the hole.
    After the procedure is performed, the eardrum heals itself in about two months.
    Saliba says his procedure is much simpler that traditional surgery, which uses a piece of the patient’s tissue taken from a muscle sheath to patch the eardrum. The traditional surgery takes two to three hours, requires a general anesthetic and a hospital stay of a day or two.
    “We can save more than $1,500 per case,” Saliba told a news conference on Monday. “Because we are not using an operating room, the patient is not hospitalized. And when it is done under general anesthetic, there is another fee.”
    A study of Saliba’s technique was recently published in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. The study showed the success rate for the procedure in adults was 92.7 per cent. In children, it was lower, at 85.6 per cent.
    Ten-year-old Benjamin Cote was one of the first to get the procedure. He had suffered with a perforated eardrum for six years, never allowed to go swimming and having to be very careful when taking a bath or shower. That all changed after he had the procedure.
    “It’s much easier to hear my teachers in class,” he told CTV Montreal, in French.
    His mother, Melanie Fortier, says life after the operation is much easier.
    “He has more freedom to things he couldn’t do before,” she says.
    With a report from CTV Montreal’s Kevin Gallagher

    Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/quebec-doctor-develops-new-eardrum-repair-method-1.754437#ixzz2sXnpPYUE
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Radical technique repairs damaged eardrum in minutes
    Toronto, Jan 17 (IANS) A radical technique that requires only about 20 minutes in an outpatient clinic may replace long and costly eardrum surgery in children.
    The quick procedure, requiring only local anaesthesia, will be much easier on patients and parents and also substantially reduce long waiting lists, stretching to 18 months.
    Issam Saliba developed the low cost technique to treat perforations of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) in children and adults, at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre, affiliated to the University of Montreal, reports the journal Archives of Otolaryngology reports.
    “In the past five years, I’ve operated on 132 young patients in the outpatient clinic at the Sainte-Justine UHC using this technique, as well as on 286 adults at the University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CHUM) outpatient clinic,” says Saliba, an ENT specialist and professor of otology and neuro-otology.
    “Regardless of the size of the perforation, the results are as good as those obtained using traditional techniques, with the incomparable advantage that patients don’t have to lose an entire working day, or 10 days or more off school in the case of children.”
    The technique, which Saliba has designated “HAFGM” (Hyaluronic Acid Fat Graft Myringoplasty), requires only basic materials: a scalpel, forceps, a probe, a small container of hyaluronic acid, a small amount of fat taken from behind the ear and a local anaesthetic.
    The operation, which is performed through the ear canal, allows the body by itself to rebuild the entire eardrum after about two months on average, allowing patients to recover their hearing completely and preventing recurring cases of ear infection (otitis).
    “With the traditional techniques, you have to be on the waiting list for up to a year-and-a-half in order to be operated on. Myringoplasty (reconstruction of eardrum) using the HAFGM technique reduces waiting times, cost of the procedure and time lost by parents and children. What’s more, it will help clear the backlogs on waiting lists,” Saliba says.

  • I know a lot of the posts are from 2009 and it’s now 2014, but seeing as I myself still find this forum useful I would like to share my experience. Yesterday 3/7/14 I got my surgery it is currently 2:21 AM and I forsurely can not sleep. The pain was pretty severe when I got home, felt as if someone jabbed my ear with a pencil, my jaw is tight/achy, they took a piece of tissue above my ear which makes it very difficult to wear glasses. I also have horrible ringing in the ear and the bass in any type of sound is amplified with a muffle. So far which hasn’t been a long time since surgery I will say this is going to be a very tough recovery! Tympanoplasty was done to my right ear due to tubes leaving a hole and not healing. I am very thankful for everyone sharing their experience and I’ve been reading this page for about an hour, because I just can’t get over how tough this is going to be. I’m 19 years old I’m very much into bodybuilding but I had a rotator cuff injury prior to this so that was already stripped away but seeing as I can’t even jog (which I was able to or even intense leg workouts) this is going to be a very discomfort able experience. I just wish EVERYONE the best of luck with this surgery, it’s going to be a long recovery and please try to stay positive don’t let the negativity eat you up. On the bright side I’ve always wanted to get into reading book but found myself to “busy” seems I will be doing much of that for a while!

  • I went back for my 4 month follow up to see if everything has gone well as far as my healing goes. I took a hearing test and the numbers are at normal. The doctor had to suction some things out of my ear canal but all in all I received a clean bill of health. It still feels and sounds little weird, it’s probably cause I’m getting use to hearing more sounds but all in all, happy to report back doing well.

  • Had mine down about 1 week and 2 days ago. Everything is going seemingly well. First post op visit was last week friday, had the bandage removed Doc said everything is looking good. Next visit is scheduled for Thursday but Im a bit worried, haven’t heard any more popping noises since Monday morning (just slight crackles sometimes) and had a small ear ache Sunday night which I took the prescribed painkillers for. A little paranoid during this recovery. Since the bandage came off I’ve been feeling a little woozy now and then too. Hoping everything is still well with it.

    • Everything went well with the visit, the graft has taken so now it’s just a matter of healing completely which well I’m assuming since the packing takes 6-8 weeks to dissolve it would be in that time?

      • Your hearing will gradually come back I’d say about 6-8 weeks hearing is almost normal. It’s normal to have ringing in the ear, I had it all day every day for a while also some bloody discharge (not much). Just don’t freak out if you think you’re hearing something your not.. it’s “normal”. Good luck with recovery!

    • It takes time. I had mine done back on Nov 2013. Luckily, I did not experience too much pain during my recovery compared to others that I’ve read about in this forum. It really does take time for the packing to dissolve, even with it dissolving, I had to get some debris suctioned out of my ear canal on my three month follow up visit because doc had to drill on my ear canal during surgery and that’s not the norm. My follow up visit checked out okay, hearing test showed improvement and I’m at normal range on my left ear, the one that had the surgery. During recovery, I was paranoid cause I’ve had to sneeze at times and also came down with a cold once or twice so was careful not to blow my nose cause I was afraid I would blow out the graft. All in all, took a lot of patience and a lot of being very uncomfortable during recovery cause normal things like blowing your nose or sneezing is affected. Hope your recovery goes well.

      • Thanks so far it’s going ok. I have a question about ear plugs though, used them once or twice but i was just wondering if that’s ok. A bit paranoid still about things like yawning, burping inside your mouth and sneezing. I can feel the pressure there when I yawn and stuff so i know its still there, weird but its a good feeling.

        • Really can’t say much about ear plugs, not sure. Depends on what you’re using them for. I remember my doctor just telling me to refrain from “popping my ears”, like squeezing my nose to pop ear, that was the main thing. I’d say if you sneeze to let it out and not hold it in. It really does take time and the first few month will just feel weird. I heard like ringing at times and that eventually went away and it will be different for different people as far as recovery. Hoping you can just push through it and not encounter too many weird sensations.

  • Went to the movies once 2 weeks after. The doctor actually said I can move around normally just avoid stuff that puts pressure on the ear and loud noises so I just plugged the one ear. Anytime I felt a sneeze coming on I tried not to read somewhere to sneeze with my mouth open. Speaking of plugged that plugged feeling from the gel packing sucks a lot.

  • Hi, All I have to say is ….. thank you. I have undergone this procedure recently, it will be a month Friday and have been feeling rather frustrated with the lack of “improvement” I have had. I have read others comments here and now I think that I have been expecting too much too quickly. I have been hearing the pulse, and the crackling and earlier last week had hearing out the my ear, but that seems to have all gone this weekend. So, I am now a little worried that what little hearing I had before the surgery is now gone. I still feel pressure, and like there is something in there.

    • Im entering my 5th week. Hear crackling on and off when I swallow. Ear feels funny/ stuffed sometimes, Doctor said it was due to the packing which is probably the pressure you feel.I think I am hearing slightly better than before but it’s still early.

  • I am scheduled for surgery on Friday of Memorial Weekend. My family will be coming to our lake home that weekend. 5 grandchildren. 8-6 months. I am 63. I do not want to reschedule this surgery. Any pointers?

  • I am scheduled for surgery on Friday of Memorial Weekend. My family will be coming to our lake home that weekend. 5 grandchildren. 8-6 months. I am 63. I do not want to reschedule this
    Any pointers?

  • Hi everyone. I had a tympanoplasty performed on my right ear 6 days ago.. I think everything is coming along well, but Im just so nervous about the whole thing. I cant barely hear out of my right ear right now, which is to be expected, but Im still nervous about it. I get a strange sound sensation when I touch the ear, ive been feeling like im in a fog and Im terrified of the graft not holding.

    I go back to my doctor, who is incredible btw, on Monday which will be 10 days after the surgery. From your experiences, what should I expect? Maybe he will take some of this packing out and be able to tell how the graft is holding? or is it too soon for that.

  • I got mine done back in mid November 2013 and from my experience, as far as your initial follow up, your ENT doctor won’t really do much. The doctor will most likely inspect and make sure the wounds are healing properly and make sure there are no infections. The main thing I would say and I’m sure others from this forum have said as well, it to be patient, which is actually the hardest part of the whole recovery process. I was so paranoid and unsure if my graft had held properly because it feels so weird and you can’t really hear anything out of your ear but as the packing dissolve you’ll slowly get some hearing back. It won’t be until your follow up that occurs a few months after your surgery that the doctor will be able to fully tell you that everything is okay. I had one or two colds during my time and had to sneeze a lot and tried not to blow my nose since I didn’t want to mess up the graft. As long as you follow your meds and anything the doctor tells you I think you should be okay. My follow up appointment after my initial one week follow up after surgery occurred several months after my surger(late March 2014) and that’s when the doctor gave me a clean bill of health and I had my hearing check done. The doctor had to suction out some scaring/debris and any left over packing, the scaring was due to the doctor having to do a little drilling during surgery because my ear canal was too small to work around. Good luck on your recovery. Again, the main thing is to just be patient and I hope you get a clean bill of health as I did. I’m hoping to finally get out and swim like most normal people so we’ll see how that goes.

  • Thank you for your insight in that very thoughtful reply, Phom. I am trying very hard to be patient, and I think that I am doing an ok job at that. Its just that Ive had problems with my ears for so long now that Im skeptical of anything and everything. My hearing in my right ear was up and down before the surgery as there was a good 50% of my ear drum missing. Thats probably the biggest reason why im so skeptical…because i cant tell if the reason Im not hearing well is the packing or because my ability to hear is gone.

    Ive been suffering for months, was mis-diagnosed by my previous ENT who could have made my life easier MONTHS ago had he been efficient. Ive had tubes put in, tubes taken out, taken anti biotics, been told I have Menieres, been told I DONT have menieres. its been a bumpy ride to say the least.

    My current doctor is one of those super doctors that you read about. A real master at his trade. It took me a couple of months just to get into his office for my initial visit. But im glad i was able to see him because I do feel as though he has me on the path to recovery now. Even if my ability to hear isnt what it once was, Im hopeful that all of the other issues ive had (due to the perforated ear drum and cholestaeoma) are a thing of the past and that I can get back to being me again.

    One question I have for you guys (for now..hehe)…Did you experience any dizziness or imbalance in the first week or so? Im a week in right now and for the past 3-5 days i wouldnt say that Im dizzy…but something is definitely a little off. I want to think that its the pressure of the packing and maybe a side effect of some of the healing…but i just dont know

    Im very happy to have found this blog, and I will do my best to relay the details of my story as they unfold.

    • Its been 10 days since my Type I tymplanostaply and I just got back from my 2nd post op visit (the first one was just to take off the head wrapping).

      The doctor took a lot of the packing out of my ear canal. I was shocked at how much stuff was in there, and there is still more. He has a camera on his othoscope which is wired into a big screen TV, so as he removed all of the gunk, I watched in excitement and also in horror. I mean, its kinda nasty…especially once he gets that vaccuum going and you can hear the clumps coming out.

      The good news is that we saw the graft (very cool to get to see it with my own eyes) and everything looks good so far. We are not out of the woods yet but hopefully it will have completely set in by my next appointment(not for another two weeks).

      I still cant hear much out of the right, but I didnt expect to be able to. there is still packing on the outside and also underneath the drum. However, I am relieved to be feeling much less clogged than I was before I went in today. And Im happy to hear that things are going as well as they can up to this point.

      The doctor addressed all of my concerns…the main one being the pressure that I feel when I hiccup. He said its normal and its because of the packing, as I suspected. He also said that it would take a lot more force than a hiccup can generate to blow the graft off. Made me feel much better.

      Ill report back in two weeks!

  • Hi guys, Im bryan and from Philippines. Got also tympanoplasty type I last 17th of May. I get a feeling wet on my repaired ear and sometimes blood was coming out on my ear but very minimal.I’m currently worried that this surgery will not help to get my normal hearing as my dr always said that there is a chance that it may only worsen my hearing loss. My next appointment to my dr is in 4 days from now. after a week then is the removal of the sutures.I wanna know guys when did your hearing come back to normal or improve?. how many days, weeks, or moths?. .many thanks and best of lucks to all of us who undergone this surgery.

  • Guys, I wanna also how much is your total bill in the hospital? what hospital and country the your surgery was done. I got mine at St. Luke’s Medical Center, Global CIty here in the Philippines and it costs about 145,000php. It is a save package.

  • My son is 10, he has NO issues with his ear other than it has the hole that did not heal after his tube were taken out at 3 (tubes were put in at 11 months). NEVER HAD A PROBLEM. Now he is ready to stop wearing an ear plug in that ear. He is having Tympanoplasty in 1 week and 1 day. Is it worth it and will he be able to stop wearing an ear plug?? Thank you so much Sandy

    • Sandy,

      I had a hole in my eardrum for years and years (possibly from childhood–possibly from when the doctors tried to clean out earwax with a sharp instrument) and never had a problem; no infections, nothing (after age 8). I am now 47. Four years ago, I had the first of 2 surgeries due to a cholesteatoma that grew through that hole in my eardrum and began to eat away at the incus bone. I had not had significant hearing loss until that time. Now, I have no hole in my eardrum, but some permanent hearing loss in several frequency ranges and that ear tends to clog up with wax more often. The tinnitus that began with my original hearing loss (before surgery) never went away. As a child, I swam a lot and had to wear earplugs to avoid infections. My ear canals have always been quite small, for an adult, and as a result, they had to cut my ear from behind to gain access to the area they needed to work on. This meant a more painful recovery for me, but the second time, they were able to go through the canal so they could reconstruct an incus bone for me. It took about 1 year and 9 months before I had hearing in my right ear, but I did get it back, just not as good as before the cholesteatoma. I still do not feel comfortable going underwater; the ear that had surgery has never felt the same; I notice it gets plugged up easier, water gets in there, cold viruses seem to affect it more than they used to as well. I don’t know how your son, being so young will respond to surgery and recovery. Yes, the hole can be repaired and theoretically, he could go swimming again once fully healed and never have to wear earplugs. I wonder what your doctor says about other children who have had the procedure and their long-term results. It is difficult to answer your question without more information. I wish you the best.

    • I’m hoping it goes well for you. I’ve had a hole in my ear drum for years since I was a child as far as I can remember. I’m now 33 and had my surgery back in November 2013. The doctor gave me a clean bill of health and my hearing has improved, it’s not perfect and not as great as my good ear but has improved dramatically after doing my hearing test about two months ago. I plan on doing some swimming this summer and I’m a little nervous since I’ve never really swam much with having a perforated ear drum so we’ll see. I think it’s mainly mental as my ear graft from the surgery is fine and it’ll be nice to finally be able to dive underwater once I get over my initial fears. Hope the surgery goes well. I would guess kids, being that they are young, will heal up much quicker, that’s my thinking anyways.

      • Phom: be careful swimming. I actually went underwater about 3 feet and ended up tearing my graft. I was really really lucky though that I didn’t end up needing another surgery because my ear drum healed the hole on its own which is pretty rare. I don’t go under anymore and when I do I wear custom earplugs I had made. The custom earplugs are amazing these days and I even use them in the ocean.

  • My husband had this done four days ago…. He is older, and has some other health problems, but my biggest concerns in the last few days are not his ear; he says it doesn’t hurt, but he feels ” just terrible ” like he has flu or something. Muscle aches, back and neck aches, malaise in general. They gave him Norco 05 for pain but it’s not making a dent. Anyone else hear of feeling bad everywhere else except the ear? :-)

    • Hello Joyce. So sorry your husband is feeling so awful post-surgery. I had horrible muscle pains after my second surgery to reconstruct the incus in my middle ear. The pains began in one or two parts of my body and then spread body-wide. It felt as if all the muscles were extremely tightened and there was no way to release them. It was determined to be due to one of the general anesthetics given. One of the nurses admitted that she had witnessed this happening frequently to other patients during surgery (tightening of all the muscles, especially the bottoms of the feet–which is where mine started first). I am scared to undergo any surgeries requiring general anesthesia in the future because of this; it lasted for days. The pain meds they gave me (hydrocodone) also did nothing for my pain. I had to wait it out and it took quite a number of days. I don’t know if what your husband is experiencing is the same as what I had or if he was unlucky enough to come down with the flu or other virus. The stress from undergoing surgery can lower your immune system. I hope he gets relief by next week.

  • Im sorry to hear that some of you and/or your loved ones are having such a difficult time with the recovery process. Keep your heads up

    Personally, I didnt feel that bad during the first few days after surgery. Just some minor pain and discomfort, but nothing like what Joyce is describing. It could just be that hes caught a little bug….something completely unrelated. Just care for him the way you would normally do if he had a cold/flu.

    Im on day 14 since surgery. Things are well here. The tinnitus that I suffered with for for months prior to the surgery has started to subside and is back down to a level where it isnt too noticeable. Im hoping that as my hearing improves (which it has not as of yet) that the tinnitus will go away completely.

    Still doing the ear drops thing. 5 in each ear, twice a day. Each time i use the drops, some of the packing drains out of my ear canal. its a good feeling….it feels like progress.

    Ive been pain free for nearly a week. honestly, i never really suffered from any pain at all…just minor, random shooting pains that are gone as quickly as they came. but even those have subsided.

    My next appointment is about 10 days from now….which will be roughly 24 days after the surgery. im assuming I will get the word on whether the graft has held or not. Im feeling positive…..so im hoping that will translate into good things.

  • Quick question for you guys. Did you hear popping sounds when swallowing…on occasion? Im 2 weeks removed from surgery and this just started happening yesterday. Hoping its just part of the healing process….

    Thanks!

    • Hi David, yes, I did hear popping sounds when swallowing; it was part of the healing process. I also had occasional brief shooting pains. Sounds normal.

  • Thank you, Hope. Everything has been going really well so far, but I started getting paranoid when I started hearing the popping. Im thinking “Is that my graft flapping around up there”????

    Its amazing how nerve wracking this recovery process is. I can wait for my 3 week checkup.

    Thanks again, Hope!

    • You’re very welcome, David. Believe me, I remember how anxious I was waiting to see what would happen and all the strange sounds and sensations I had during the recovery process. You will feel much better in 3 weeks! Patience is definitely the key; it takes awhile to fully heal, but it will happen!

    • I agree with Hope, it does take a while to recover and for folks that don’t have patience, they will by the end of the recovery process, ha! I was so paranoid about my graft messing up as well that I tried not to sneeze even with a cold that I had to battle. Hopefully your check up goes well.

  • Joyce…

    How is your husband doing?

    Im doing well over here at the 3 week mark. I am regaining more and more feeling in the ear with each passing day. a lot of the weird sounds I would hear when I touch it have eased up. Im getting a lot of popping when I swallow and when I chew. I had some bruschetta with dinner last night and the ear was popping like crazy! cereal has the same effect.

    Still not much in the way of hearing…but im not expecting it to be better yet. I have my checkup in 4 days, and hopefull I will recieve good news about the state of the graft and the eardrum. I will let you guys know how that goes.

    until then, keep on keepin on!

  • My name is Stephen but call me Steve. I am only 17 and have had over 20 surgical procedures done on my ears. Starting from age 6. I have had two tymporalplastys. The first one was on my right ear. The doctor said he thaught it went well and that he was pleased. I went back 1 year later it failed. Then my second one was a week ago tomorrow. It was on my left ear this time. He said the same thing it went well. Honestly with all I have been through in my short amout of time I don’t know what to think. If it didn’t work once why would the same doctor do the same thing that made me 80% def in one ear to the other. I guesse I’m here for an answer. But I’m also here to say this. As a kid who has gone through this If I have a kid with the same problem I’m damn sure gonna find a better solution then what I went through. The pain. The time. It’s all not worth it. Sure it might have worked for a lot of others. But I wish there was another option. Also I need to know if this second surgery fails. What else is there. Because unless there’s a definit fix. I’m gonna get a hearing aid and move on with my life and let what happens happen

  • Sorry to hear about your troubles, Steve. All I can say is to hang in there as best you can.

    Question…your tympanoplasty made you 80% deaf in one ear? how is that possible?

    also, you should express these concerns of yours with your doctor.

  • I had my 3 week checkup this past Monday and tomorrow will be a month since my surgery.

    The doctor cleaned out my ear canal some more and gave me the go ahead to get back to my normal routine…(strenuous work, flying, etc). He still doesnt want me getting any water in the ear until my next apointment..which is 2 weeks from now

    he said the graft looks good and that the eardrum has closed. However, he says we are still not “out of the woods”, whatever that means. I guess it just needs a little more time, but he is 95% certain that everything will go according to plan.

    He is going to give me a “preliminary” hearing test at my next appt …the 6 week mark….just to see where I am at. He stressed that this will not be THE hearing test…that will come at a later date.

    For now…im just doing my thing, getting back to my normal life. my ear finally feels like my own again and it has settled back into place and no longer sticks out

    • BTW…for anyone who is interested in the timeline of everything…im still getting the pops when I swallow. I also heard my own voice in my head while speaking for about a week (from week 2-3) but that has since subsided. it actually stopped after he cleaned my canal a little more at the 3 week checkup.

      My hearing feels like it has improved a little bit, but its still way too soon to be expecting any significant improvements.

  • I’ve been reading this blog for the past two months now, preparing myself for my surgery which happened on May 28th. I’m 23 and have had tubes in my ears since I was 6 months old. This was my 8th surgery but for a different type. My tubes fell behind my ear drums (Doctor said she never saw that before, always worrisome when a Doc says that.) I was away at school and the nurse there decided to use a water pick to remove compact earwax…Idiots. It caused a hole in my left ear drum….I had the surgery last Wednesday. I hear popping sounds a lot, which dont bother me because with tubes you get use to those sounds. The only thing that different is everything is so loud.

    Problem i’m having: I screwed up tonight. I’ve been washing my hair in the sink with my oldest niece helping me. and washing my body in the shower…This afternoon the removable shower head slipped out of the holder/my hand as i was putting it back and as it fell, it turned around splashed the side of my face, some of it in my ear. I quickly dried it as much as possible and than again with a cotton ball just the outer ear, not deep inside my ear…After i was done dressing and getting ready i put a cotton ball in my ear because everything still so loud….fast forward to tonight, I pulled it out to let it air out once home…there was ointmenty stuff on it along with some grayish/blackish bits. I touch the grayish/blackish bits and it kind of was bouncy like fat from a steak but I don’t know what the packing is suppose to feel like. I’m honestly kind of freaking out. I saw my doctor this past Thursday and she said everything looked good. Packing was still there and all. I felt a tiny bit of dull pain for a split second when i pulled out the cotton ball, it wasn’t dried. everything was still wet so i dont see why it hurt. The pain is gone, everything is back to normal, im just worried about the water hitting my face with some of it hitting my ear. I’m lost at what to do. Advice would be nice. I don’t know if i should wait to see how it is tomorrow or what. Thanks in advance for whoever helps me!

  • I went through two of these procedures (with great success).

    99% of the people on this thread who have concerns about their current, past, or upcoming condition – should just CALL YOUR DOCTOR – and have them answer your questions.

    If they won’t talk to you find an ENT who will.

    Reading blogs on the internet will only lead to greater stress.

    Trust me. Just pick up the phone and call – or schedule an additional follow up.

    • I rather read other people experiences. Doctors tend to sugar coat and B.S info that goes like: It may, It could, this could happen if, The side effects if this happens are….

      I rather read what other people have gone through instead of my doctor being annoyed i call them 10 times a week with a new question. Also, “Reading blogs on the Internet” helps someone like me who has Anxiety about stuff i have yet to experience and this blog helped me decide that I was going to get my surgery that I wasn’t sure about getting.

  • Amber, the foamy stuff that came out of your ear is most definitely packing. A little bit came out on one of my cotton balls on the 2nd day after the headwrapping was removed. I called my docs office to find out if it was a problem and they told me not to worry, some might get stuck on the cotton ball and come out. not a big deal. there is SO much packing in there. They put more of that gel foam in your ear canal than you would ever think possible.

    As for the water? yeah, just ask the doctor. It may or may not be a big deal….he will know when he looks into it.

    Youll have a little sharp pain here and there for a couple of weeks. It stopped for me around mid week 2

    Good luck!

  • Just wanted to let you know that I am 10 days post-op from having my tympanoplasty done. I had the less-invasive procedure, which is through the ear drum. I would highly recommend that anyone who is going to have this procedure get a second opinion and seak out a ENT who will do the “through the eardrum” vs the “take your ear off” type of procedure. When I came out of surgery all I had was the inner ear packing and a cotton ball in my ear. I’ve had very little pain and no dressing to bother with. I had only a tiny bit of bleeding on the cotton ball. I only had a couple of stitches behind my ear where they got the graft. I have my post op appointment in 2 days. I can already tell that there are moments where my hearing appears to be coming back, so I am hopeful in the long run that my hearing will return. Thank you so much for starting this blog. It was very helpful to me as I found it before my surgery and knew what to expect. Good luck to all who have had the surgery and those who will have the surgery.

    • Correction – the less invasive procedure is through the ear canal (not ear drum) as opposed to going through the back of the ear. I believe that is why my recovery has been so easy. It was a much more non-invasive procedure.

  • I had an infection in my left ear around eighteen months ago which caused the eardrum to rupture. This was treated with antibiotic drops and a pharmaceutical mix of Boric acid and alcohol which was painfully excruciating when dripped into my ear.

    The infection cleared up but the hole in the eardrum did not close. The ENT doctor who later performed my tympanoplasty stated that the rupture was about 20% of the area of the eardrum.

    I went through the same as many have described above having to turn my ‘good ear’ to whoever was speaking to me, as well as annoying others by turning up the volume on the television.

    On the 30th. April I went in to the Costa Del Sol hospital in Marbella, Spain for my tympanoplasty. I had researched a little about this procedure and was expecting, and dreading, the ‘ear off’ method.
    When I awoke in the post op ward I had no pain whatsoever except for the site where they had placed the intravenous drip and for the anaesthetic to be introduced.
    I was allowed home a few hours later and instructed to put antibiotic drops onto the packing in my ear. Obviously to put in the drops I had to take off the dressing and was very pleasantly surprised that the tympanoplasy was performed by micro surgery through the ear canal. There were a couple of stitches behind my ear were they had taken the skin graft.
    Apart from not being able to sleep on my left side and having to hold a cup over my ear for showering, I was surprised at the lack of inconvenience.
    I went back to the hospital a week later for a post op check and the packing and stitches were removed. The surgeon said that everything looked OK and to come back in another two weeks.
    On this appointment the surgeon said that the graft had taken and that I could now get the ear wet.
    My next hospital check up appointment is in November.

    Almost immediately after the operation I could tell that my hearing was returning and it is still improving and the popping and gurgling noises are getting less noticeable.
    I have also tried some of the online hearing tests and apart from very low and very high frequencies the ‘new ear’ is almost back to normal.

    Just to echo LeeAnne I am so pleased with the speed of my recovery and the fantastic results.
    Lastly and very importantly, heartfelt grateful thanks to Dr.Conde and his team at the Costa del Sol Hospital.

  • James – glad you had a great experience! And glad you feel like your hearing is coming back.

    I have a friend who had the “take your ear off” procedure – she said that it was her whole incision behind her ear and the pain of her ear itself that hurt the most. I went to my post op last week with my ENT and thanked him perfusly for doing the “in ear canal” type procedure. My only complaint is that it was hard to get any sympathy when I woke up with just a cotton ball in my ear! LOL. He said next time he would amp up the bandage, just for sympathy sake.

    He said my ear was healing well and I should see some hearing improvement in 1 month or so (next post op). He did take a peanut size plug of packing, dried blood and scab (yuck) out. Boy getting that out sure made my ear a lot more comfortable. All that pressure was greatly reduced!

    I can’t stress enough to at least get a second opinion if you get a recommendation to have “your ear taken off”. It may be a fine method – but my ENT says this one is much better for recovery and the other is “just not necessary” to get the job done. It may be that the doctor just has a preference for the other procedure, perhaps there’s more reimbursement for the other procedure. IDK.

    Also – if you are looking for ear plugs to keep the water out – my ENT gave me these. Doc’s Pro Ear Plugs. They are great – very comfy. You can wear a Ear Band-It Ultra Swimmer’s Headband by Ear Band-It & Putty Buddies to keep them in if you are swimming. I have found it’s not needed to wear a band for just showering. But don’t use plugs unless your ENT says it’s ok.

    Best of luck to everyone facing this surgery!

    • LeeAnne, so good to know that your recovery is progressing well, I’m so very pleased for you.

      Incredibly my hearing in what was my ‘deaf ear’ is just about back to normal.

      My ENT surgeon just said don’t bother with ear plugs, there is no longer a hole in your eardrum so water can’t get in to cause infections to the middle ear.

      Just to re-iterate for a tympanoplasty operation, insist on a micro surgery ‘through the ear canal’ procedure.

      It’s not yet quite two months since my tympanoplasy and I just wouldn’t know that my hearing was so chronically impaired in the affected ear.

      Obviously conditions must vary on a case by case basis but I’m so pleased that I’m one of the lucky ones.

      Echoing LeeAnne again, very best wishes and luck to those who are awaiting surgery.

      James.

    • My first surgery was the “take your ear off kind”; the reason being that my ear canals were too tiny for the surgical instruments to fit in and maneuver safely. Apparently I have the ear canals of a 12 year old, though I was in my mid-40s when I had the surgery. The second surgery to re-construct incus bone was through the ear, as the surgeon was able to widen the canal the first time around and yes, it was a much more bearable recovery as far as the ear pain was concerned (anesthesia was an issue unfortunately, though).

  • @James: I’m surprised your ENT told you to not worry about earplugs. Mine gave completely opposite advice in that he basically told me I wouldn’t want to go through the surgery again. In fact, I actually developed a hole in my eardrum about a year later because I was swimming without an earplug and I was lucky that the hole grew back on its own. Pretty rare. So now I use an earplug just to be safe, especially in the ocean. Tympanoplasties, as we all know, suck with respect to recovery and I never want to go through that again.

    • Hello Ricardo, I suppose all of us follow the advice of our doctors!!! Mine said don’t bother with earplugs and for the last month I have been showering, swimming in our pool at home and now that the Mediterranean Sea is over 21ºC, swimming and snorkling from our boat.

      Ironically the original infection was from swimming in a hotel pool in Malta, however it was thought that the eardrum had a very small rupture that allowed water into the inner ear that caused the virulent infection.

      Given the concern. I’ll call my ENT surgeon for definitive advice and post back in.

      Best wishes,
      James.

  • I just had my Tampynoplasty/Mastoidectomy and Ossilacle chain reconstruction yesterday and have a question and a comment. My first question is this: I have a popping and crackling noise in the ear already and a feeling as if there is a drainage happening. I was told not to take the cup thing velcro’d to my head and ear off until 48 hrs has elapsed, is this normal does anyone know? The Dr. I have is as I have been told one of the best in the State of Texas and is using a technique that is new and better then the past used, I have no problems with him or how he has handled things so well thus far, I was scared at first of having tis surgery done but am glad I had it because I am tired of having 6 to 9 infections per year in the ear. I had a perforation of the drum, a large cholesteatoma and one of the bones had become I guess for lack of a better term really messed up. Any feedback will e most appreciated and I hope everyone feels better! Thanks in advance.

    • Terry,

      Popping and crackling can happen right away. mine was popping within a few days as well. Just do what the doc tells you and youll be fine. I know its stressful, but everything sounds normal so far.

      • Thank you David! The noises are less now and the pain is almost nonexistent. Tonight I had a slight dark discharge but after reading comments I can assume this is normal so I am not worried about that. The only problem I’m having is not sleeping on the left side cause that’s the side it was operated on, oh and the stuffiness but that’s just the packing. Lol. Thank you again!!!!!!

  • Hope,

    Im sure that going through the ear canal is every doctors preferred method of performing the surgery. For some people, maybe it just isnt possible to do it that way.

    I have one of the best and most well known doctors in New York City and im sure that if he could have done mine through the ear, he would have.

    Honestly, the recovery has been fine for me. my ear doesnt stick out, the scar is fading and barely noticeable. everyone heals differently, I guess.

    • HiDavid,

      Can you tell me who your ENT is in NY? I need a new ENT- I also have a hole in my tympanic membrane that needs repair and I live in NJ- I found a great ENT out of Valley Hospital but he isnt in my insurance network.

  • Sure, Jessica. His name is Dr. Darius Kohan. Hes a few notches above an ENT. Best of luck

    • Thanks so much David for the physician name in NYC-Hope all is well with your ear- Its been a month now since your surgery-

  • Hi All,

    I had my tympanoplasty way back in 1988 at the age of 10! I had tubes 7 times with my last set at age five. Back then tubes were not an outpatient procedure. Thankfully, by the time I had the tympanoplasty on the left ear it was an outpatient procedure. My right ear has never been as bad. I, too, was an avid swimmer who hated wearing ear plugs and not being able to go under water. At the time, the procedure was to remove a vein from the ankle and graft it to the ear drum. I believe the surgeon went through the ear canal. I don’t have any scars on the outside of my ear. Of course, I am a guinea pig for new doctors. They always pass the otoscope around to all new doctors and nurses so they can see scarred ear drums.

    My surgery was my lifesaver. I was able to swim, dive, and most importantly shower without ear plugs. At the age of 10 living in Louisiana not being able to swim felt like a death sentence!

    I am now 36 years old. I have had about 4 bad ear infections since my surgery. The worst one happened while I was in college. The doctor had to to glue my right ear drum to graft a small hole. I count all of this a blessing.

    Now, I will tell you that I have what I have come to term phantom ear pains. I have no idea if these are related to the tympanoplasty or to my scarred ears. But I get stuffiness and pain in my ears for no reason. Also, and I don’t know how to describe this, but my ears have a sensation of filling up and draining every now and then. Its annoying when it happens but livable. I have been to the ENT and the allergist and no one knows whats going on. Basically I am told to live with it. Which I do. My hearing is pretty normal. My mother claims I have “selective” hearing! For me ambient noise is a problem. I have been diagnosed with 15% loss in my left ear and between 5-10% in my right ear. It depends on who you ask.

    The only thing I remember about recovery after surgery was having to lay on my side and not move. For one week I was allowed to go from my bed, to the couch, to the bathroom. That was it! But it was all worth it! I would have it done again in a heartbeat.

    I hope my story helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Ok, so its been two months since my surgery…Tympanoplasty on my right ear, removal of cyst, behind the ear surgery. I had a tube in the ear and a 30% hole, which means that 50% of my eardrum was gone.

    I went back to the doctor today for the 5th time and finally got the 100% clean bill of health. The healing process took a little time with me for whatever reason. i had a bad cold about a month ago and I think this attributed to the lenghty healing process

    My previous visit was 2 weeks ago at which time the doc had said he was hoping id be further along…that the ear was still a little moist. So he prescribed some kind of antibotic that sprayed a powder into my ear. I did this twice a day for ten days. The device that delivered the powder looked like a mini turkey baster.

    Anyway, I saw him today and he says everything is good. No further treatment required. Im fully healed. :)

    Im going back in a month for a hearing test. he says its pointless to do it now because my ear drum is coated with the powder and its going to take some time for it to dissolve/exfoliate on its own.

    My hearing is better, but not all the way there yet. Doc seems to think It will be much better a month from now. The cold, the extra healing time, the powder…its all affecting the hearing.

    Anyway, for those of you in the beginning stages of healing, hang in there. Do what they tell you to do and you should be fine

  • So one more week and it will be 4 months since my surgery. One question, how long does it take to completely recover? I notice I still can’t handle some types of noises, like when I’m hammering something or using power tools.

    • Hello Phil, Everyone’s different, but I would say it takes a good 9 months before you feel more “normal” and loud sounds don’t bother you…

  • I had a tympanoplasty on my left ear one week ago. The doctor did a behind the ear method and said it went well. I’d lost about 90 percent of my tympanic membrane, so he told me to take it really easy for the next month or so. I’m back in the office today. Had a cotton ball in my ear yesterday after the drops and when it dried, it stuck to some of the gel packing. When I pulled the cotton ball out, a tiny bit of the packing came out too, which felt real funny. Well, I’m not using cotton balls anymore because I don’t want to remove anymore packing. Everything else seems to be as described above by many others. I’m dizzy in the morning, with some pain (like I have a hangover). Really looking forward to my next follow-up visit in two weeks.

    • Dont worry about the packing coming out. There is so much of it in there and if a little comes out, its not a big deal. I only know this because the same thing happened to me and the doc said it wasnt a big deal at all.

      keep using the cotton balls if youre still draining. It wont affect anything and your pillow cases wont get ruined :)

      just looking at the date…youre probably not draining too much anymore

  • And there’s one other thing, how long till I can go to the beach? I shower normally and stuff but it totally slipped me to as the Dr. about submerging my head in water all those months ago. Thanks.

  • I had a tympanoplasty with mastoidectmy last Sept in my right ear. I have been absolutely miserable ever since. I have been told the surgery was successful but my ear drives me crazy. It aches and constantly nags me. I have the urge to puff ear into all day long every day non stop. Sometimes it just flat out hurts. I cannot run anymore as this jars my eardrum and then aggravates me more. I cannot tolerate anything touch this ear. Any sensation goes straight to my ear drum and drives me crazy. I feel truly handicapped by this. I’ve seen two other ENT’s and have been told the ear drum looks great but nothing can be done about the irritation. Has anyone else experienced this? I’m wondering if perhaps my tympanoplasty was successful but that my mastoidectmy was botched. I’m 43 and cannot believe I have to live the rest of my life in this state.

  • Wow! I’m schedule to have my tympaoplasty on 9/12/14 and as all of you wanted to find info to surgery n post recovery personal experiences. Now I’m not sure I want to go with surgery n pain. I have both my ear perforated and severe hearing loss, no pain or infections. What makes me want to do surgery is the brain infection fact, but then again I dont have ear infections, ear discharge, nor pain….it’s just the non stop annoying ” ringing” n hearing loss. I’m so confuse n undecided now, the unexpected n expected post symptoms are too overwhelming to bear!!

  • Ive started a similar page to this regarding the myringoplasty i had yesterday in australia. The link is http://myringoplastypersonalstory.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/the-story-of-my-right-ear-drum/

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