Tympanoplasty Question

It’s a quote-post today, folks. Here’s me, writing about my Tympanoplasty (a surgery I went for in February, 2008), back in August:

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.

Looks like it worked. I got this question today via email, and with the permission of the person who sent it in, I’m reposting it, hoping that someone with the same concern in the future will feel better reading it.

Googler wrote:

Hey Richard,

I randomly came across your blog while I was looking for information about tympanoplasty online recently. I underwent tympanoplasty on my left eardrum 3 weeks ago. The size of my perforation was moderate, but was located in an accessible region of my eardrum and hadn’t caused too much hearing loss in my ear. It also happened fairly recently (in March) so I hadn’t lived with it long, but I knew I wanted to take care of it as soon as possible for reasons I’m sure you know of.

I have been a little stressed out lately, as my ear is still plugged from the surgery and everything is very muffled. My doctor swears that there is a lot of packing left to dissolve but for some reason I am worried. My ENT used the gelfoam dissolvable packing, therefore he will not be removing it manually. He also went through my ear to repair the hole therefore I only have a small incision from where they took the graft.

My hearing is much worse than before the surgery and it’s so annoying having an ear that feels completely plugged and muffles sound. I especially hate being in loud environments because I can hardly hear anything due to the muffling in the left ear.

I guess my question for you is, how long did it take for you to hear better again after the operation? I suppose your situation is a little different than mine since you had more hearing loss, but I am wondering when I am going to start getting my hearing back. My doctor says it can take 6 weeks to dissolve, but I am really stressing out about it.

There isn’t much chance of the surgery making the hearing worse that you know of is there? Anyways, I suppose I e-mailed you for a little piece of mind, to talk to someone who’s been through it.


Here’s my response:

Hey Googler!

It took me about four months to fully recover my hearing. At the beginning, I suffered immense discomfort, not only from the sore ear drum, but from the muffled sound, especially in loud environments, like you said. Only being able to hear from one ear threw off my sense of direction and placement in the world. I went through periods of intense worrying – “Will I ever hear again?” – because it took much longer than I thought it would to recover the sound. I’d wake up every morning, hoping that maybe I could snap my fingers and hear something today.

At first, I didn’t believe my surgeon when he told me that I had packing in my ear, still, after some time (two or three months). However, after more and more visits of him removing packing from my ear drum, and me taking drops in my ear to dissolve the packing, it got better.

I can’t assure you fully that everything is going to be okay – no one could assure me of that three weeks after my operation. I remember the fear I had; nothing could quell it. What I can tell you is to give it some time, and from my experience, you’re doing well.

I wish you the best of luck, and please keep in touch to let me know how you do. I’m glad you chose to email me. I put the information about my surgery online so that it could one day help someone, and it looks like it finally is.

Take care.

And finally, here response:

Thank you so much for replying so quickly! I feel like everything you said I have thought and felt these past few weeks.

You really helped my spirits! It is stressful bc I was not informed beforehand that it could take so long to get my hearing back.

Your blog was worth it! :)

Thanks a lot.


Again, I hope posting this here helps someone in the future. As always, feel free to email me any questions you have (about anything, really).

There are 693 responses to “Tympanoplasty Question”

  • Hi Richard,

    I was looking for a picture of someone with their bandages from post op… and I found yours! As a child I underwent 4 of the surgeries in 1996, ’97, ’99 and 2000. Obviously the first 3 didn’t work. I have one picture of me in my bandages, which ended up being my 5th grade picture in the yearbook.
    Anyhow, it took what seemed like forever for the foam packaging in my ear to dissolve, and after, the doctor had to remove a big nasy clump of the packaging, dried blood and earwax. Maybe it’s because I was little, but I spent about a month indoors after surgery. Even after that I wasn’t allowed to swim without a dorky cap on for a year.
    Every surgery I had was a different experience. The healing was different, and over the years the bandage style changed into the “ear helmet” thing. Because I’ve had 4 surgeries I’ve lost more hearing than the average tympanoplasty recipient. Pressure and bass tones still give me an ear ache now and then, and it has been 9 years since my last surgery.

    Let people who ask you questions know that this surgery is different for everybody but generally if the fasha behind your ear is mature enough the surgery will hold. You’ll undoubtedly have ear aches, headaches and sharp pains now and then but the most important thing is to relax and recover before you get back to your life.


    • Forget about regaining the hearing again. When does the pain and noise go away? I’m on week 5.

    • I just had tympanoplasty a month ago. And I can feel that air comes out from my ear. Is it mean that the surgery is unsuccessful? :(I wanna ask bcoz as I can see, you have undergone 4x

      • Hi cindy. Could you please reply me. I beggg. This is my second surgery. First was unsuccessfull. It has been 2 weeks from my second surgery and i feel the same as you. I feel my breath is coming in to my ear and move my ear drum when i take a Breath from my nose. I think my eusthacian tube is open parmenantly. I also feel a click voice when i swallow. What is the result of your surgery. Is there any one feeling the same things. Please help me please..

  • Dear Richard,
    Thank you for your descriptive and honest blog. I wish I had googled this topic earlier, I am about to undergo my third tympanoplasty. I got my ear wet after the first operation, and blew my nose after the second. My surgeons never really emphasized how fragile the graft really is, they just kept telling me about high percentage rates of success. Although I have not been the best patient in the past, I am going into this third surgery ready for hybernation. I plan on locking myself up for 8 weeks: no work, no showers, no physical activity, no blowing my nose and no sneezing. I hate to resort to this extreme form of rehab, but am desperate. How did your rehab compare? How did you take care of things like hygiene, congestion, and the constant idleness? Any advice is appreciated.
    Yet another holy eared one,

    • I just finished my thrid one too and I think your rehab idea is a good one. My first two failed for reasons they can’t even explain and I was pretty careful too, so I say unless we want more we might as well give up just a few weeks to ensure it works. I feel the same way, I wish my surgeon stressed how fragile they are instead of how it should work, same problem but I sure hope after the 3rd one I’d learn, best of luck to you

    • First of all you should be psychologically prepared. Prayer helps a lot. Regular walking is allowed after surgery. Don’t get excited and lift something really heavy or start strenuous exercise. When you do have to sneeze do so with open mouse. You can take a shower just don’t wash your hair couple weeks and ask your doctor if you really have to wash your hair. You can just wash your hair taking water by your hand washing it slowly to avoid water getting into affected ear. Just make sure you cover if with cotton and petroleum gel. It will heal as expected only if you don’t interfere healing process. Do not smoke if you are a smoker, it will nullify your efforts to heal your ear. Do not drink either because it will make you loose patience and forget about precautions. Big no. You can find many activities without doing heavy physical work. Just be creative. I hope this clarifyes your question.Good luck

  • Janet – Thank you so much for bringing that perspective to me. I appreciate it a lot – the idea that everyone is different is often lost when people are searching for answers.

    Adam J. – You’re very welcome. I’m glad to see that you’ve come across my blog, and I hope my posts and their comments can help you!

    My pain sounds like it was nowhere near as extreme as yours. It gets harder and harder for me to recall the details of my recovery, so I recommend that you re-read all of my posts. Everything that I could ever recall about healing is written on this blog. I wish you luck! Please keep in touch.


    • i was just asking a question of my own, I had ear drum rebuilt 5 months ago, I am still deaf in the right ear, but never had a problem with my left ear, but now it’s draining, and that ear is blocked up, I feel like someone poured cement in my ears, right side of my tongue is also numb, WTH?

      • I’m on week 5 after the surgery. Don’t let anyone fool you. This takes a lot of time and its painful. I have all of the symptoms you mentioned above. Maybe you can give me advice on how to deal with it and, how are you now?

  • Do you ever get pain in your ear still?

  • Hey Richard,
    I was the one who couldn’t stop sneezing and kept blowing off my graft. I saw my doctor last week and it turns out my ear miraculously healed on its own. Unfortunately the tympanic membrane is in the wrong place (it is not touching the stapes) and I am still hard of hearing in the left ear. It is nice to take a shower and go swimming without any cotton-balls and vasoline though. I will see the doctor in 4 months and he will decide whether or not I need another surgery. He told me that sometimes the ear makes multiple ear drums, and I might have an ear drum in the right place behind this ear drum. We will see in 4 months, its an in-house procedure where they tear open the ear drum to see if their is a surprise behind it. I sure hope there is something there. A third surgery would be a real pain. Hope all is well.
    Adam J.

    • Adam,
      It’s great to hear from you again! That’s a very interesting circumstance, and one with both good and bad news. I hope that when you see your doctor again in four months, he will be able to help you recover some hearing. The fact that your ear has healed but the membrane was in the wrong place is odd, and one of those “huh?” moments in life.

      I’m very interested in hearing about that in-house procedure, if you end up having it. I wish you luck coping until you’re able to see him again.

  • Dear Richard:

    Thanks for this incredibly helpful blog! My 9 year-old son (adopted from Russia) has two perforated eardrums, and is undergoing surgery with the very same Dr. Meiteles tomorrow morning (right ear) at 6 am.

    I suspect he got the perforations from infections at the orphanage, and has been getting recurrent infections (about 6-7 per year) since he has been in the US (roughly 3.5 years). As a result, he really needs this to protect him from further hearing loss, and your roadmap to recovery is very helpful for his mom and me.

    My concerns are for preparing a little boy for the surgery and recovery, and eliciting his cooperation in keeping mobility to a minimum. In addition, he loves to go swimming, and being summer, this will be hard to live without. So I envision difficulty for us in keeping him calm and sneeze-free. We have him daily on Claritin, but colds may be difficult to avoid.

    We have given him little info until now, since most of it is scary and he would be terrified mulling over it, and might even have nightmares abot it. We are planning to give him an upbeat but matter of fact discussion about what to expect tomorrow, but we want him to remain as positive as possible. We will incorporate your observations of the healing process and mileposts to success to tell him what he should expect.

    If you have any wisdom for us to share with a small boy about to undertake this big step, I would be happy to hear it. But at any rate, your posts have been helpful to us, and they give us hope our outcome with Dr. Meiteles will be as good as yours.

    I wish you continued good fortune and success at Tufts, and thank you for this blog.

    • I’m glad my “roadmap to recovery” has been helpful for you! Thank you for all of your kind words. I truly appreciate them; they keep me going.

      I feel terrible that I haven’t gotten to reply to your comment until just now. At this point in time, your son has already had his procedure. I hope everything went well!

      Your question of any additional wisdom has brought up a memory of my surgery that I don’t think I’ve shared before. Two weeks before my surgery, I purchased myself an iPod touch to entertain myself while laying in bed. Obviously, as you can see from my blog and social network activities, I’m quite busy online. The iPod’s web browser helped me get through that boredom of taking it easy.

      If your 9-year old son likes to read, get him some books. If he enjoys comic books, get him some of them. If a particular TV show is his thing, I’d get him a DVD of that show! Something to pass the time is so helpful.

    • Kevin:
      Please let us know how your son is doing. I have a son, too, from Russia who contracted many upper resp. probs while in the orphanage but luckily ears seem OK

  • Hi everyone,

    My first night out in 2/1/2 weeks since my surgery. Went to a bar with my friends. After two hours max is a much as I could take noise was very muffled. Felt fine, but wondering how do you handle loud enviroments? or is this just part of it? no more bars or concerts? How do you handle it? I guess things could be worse.

  • after 3 weeks my doctor said Im healing great. The crackling is still there. Loud crowds bother me too. Thats ok Im so much better off than a week ago. Its just so itchy inside, anyone else experienced this?

    • berm,
      I have itchiness too! driving me crazy! Also all sorts of weird sounds, like pulsing, and bubbling, and squishing. i think these things are bothering me almost more than the pain. anyway, its good to see that other people have the same sort of feelings about it that i do. i hope you feel better soon!

      • i have all these noises as well lol. annoying and i wanna itch soooooo bad. i have packing in mine until the surgeon takes mine out in june! they didnt give me the dissolvable kind of packing. i am scared i will have hearing issues because goin into this i have perfect hearing in my ear. i got the operation to help my ear in the future b4 hearing loss!

      • Yes the pulsating in the ear drives me crazy. i feel alot better now reading everyone story im on day three from surgery long ways to go thans everyone for your fed back..

        • I am 9 weeks out now from surgery. Your’s is the most recent post. Ear still feels plugged. Worse in the evenings. I have metallic taste and my tongue feels raw. Did you have these problems and have they cleared up?

          • I am 8 months out from surgery. Doc says need to do titanium rod instead as it appears reconstructed bone didn’t stay in place. How can he know without an xray of some sort? Hearing is worse. I keep saying the ear feels plugged like the packing didn’t dissolve. I just keep getting “oh that would be unusual”. I followed all post-op directions. After 2 months I questioned needing more ear drops to dissolve the packing behind ear drum. Was told no, it just needs more time. So again, 8 months out ear is plugged. Doc wants to do another surgery and do a titanium prosthetic instead. I’ve tried researching but come up with nothing….has anyone ever had the ear packing behind ear drum not dissolve on it’s own as it should? Doc wants to do this surgery in 2 weeks; something in my gut (and ear) tells me it’s the packing. Anyone with similar situation?

          • I am 8 months out of surgery and have the metallic taste and tongue feel like i burned it. I had a really dry mouth for awhile (and apparently-per husband-I am snoring even more than i used to) and contributed it that. Now I’m curious.

    • Yes I have itching in my right ear and I am 1 week out of surgery.I am going to get my hair washed tomorrow but after reading all of the post I wander if I shoul.

  • Richard,

    I am so thankful to have found your blog. I just recently completed surgery a week ago on a perforated ear drum, also due to tubes and not healing on it’s own. This is my second procedure. The first procedure seemed to have worked but after a second check-up the graph seemed to have died and the hole was back again unfortunately. But I believe this had to due with my lack of care for my ear due to not making sure to keep water out of my ears as well as I should have. I never really realized how sensitive the graph can be to minor everyday experiences, and while I was told there is a high percentage rate of it working I was also told my chances of it working was a bit less due to the ear problems I’ve had due to a cleft palate. That should have been a clue that I should be extra careful the first time around.

    Determined to make sure this procedure work the second and last try- I have been doing research on what to possibly avoid and what else I can do to make the healing process easier, I stumbled upon your blog. Your blog has given me hope that this procedure will work as long as I stay determined to make it work and don’t over exert myself or do anything that could cause strain on my ear. I’m also glad to have read your experiences with healing and how noises affect your hearing now that your ear drum no longer has a hole. It has prepared me for what to expect after the hole has gone and that recovery will be a long, and at times, painful process.

    Glad to see you have had a great recovery and have found this procedure to be very well worth it. I hope to have the same great experience as you.


    • Meghan, like you, I went for tubes and several grafts as a child. None of them worked for me.

      I’m so happy that you’re hopeful that if you play your cards right, that everything will be okay, and I’m glad to have played any role in that. Although recovery is difficult, it is absolutely worth it.

      Best of luck with healing! Please let us know how it goes!

  • To everyone out there with this surgery. Its been almost two months. My job requires lifting heavy things so Im not back to work yet. I have been taking it real easy. Dinners,walking,I hang out by the pool, but I dont get it. Loud bars still bother me. Thats ok, you find ways around that. Keep your chin up, you will get better. Just do as the doctor says.

  • Went to the doctor today, My ear seems to be healing the graph is still in place, but I have a minor infection. He put ear drops in and cleaned up the pus. He said I dont need to take oral antibiotics. He wants to see me in a week. He said that about 10 percent of patients get this. Im just wondering if you or anyone else has had this. Im just so sad about it, because I have done everything the doctor has told me to do.


  • Hey Brenda,
    I will also be having my third tympanoplasty in either late Feb or early March. I have learned some valuable things from my first two operations: 1) If you have severe allergies look into taking some powerful anti histamine drugs while recovering, wear a mask, or stay isolated in an allergy free environment or a while. Sneezing and blowing your nose will push out your packing. 2) Learn how to accurately seal your ear with cotton balls and vasoline, although it feels disgusting and is difficult to clean off your face it is the bread and butter of recovery hygiene. You must not get your ear wet as this will ruin your graft, ear plugs seem to pop my ears which I felt was dangerous during recovery, but the cotton balls with vasoline has proven to be most effective (don’t be sparing with it, double coat if I feel like it). I hope this helps. I don;t want to see others go through the same experience I went through by having multiple surgeries. One time is hard enough.
    Adam J

    • Adam – that’s a great strategy for keeping the ear dry. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Hi, so glad to see another that has had multiple surgeries. I am going through a very hard time right now as the surgery I had two months ago failed in a big way. I am hopeful my surgeon will try a fourth time. My hearing was better before the surgery. Now I basically have none. I see the surgeon in just under two weeks. Just hoping like mad he won’t give up on me :(

  • Hey!

    I googled “I just had a tympanoplasty and now…” and I came across your blog. Just the thing!

    I had my first tymp in September 2007 and it failed. I was crushed because as a child my parents couldn’t afford to fix my ear so I was constantly dealing with ear pain and infections. I thought it was purely a matter of having the surgery and being healed! Fixed! I could swim and shower with no worries!
    When my friend offered to marry me and also fix my ear, I knew I’d met the one. :D I was prego right away, so a few months after our kiddo was born we went ahead and met with our ENT and got the surgery scheduled. He wasn’t very optimistic… said something about grafts not holding once you got older, bad placement of the perforation, etc. Yeah, should have been a sign to shop around for a different doc, huh? By the way, I was 21. Not THAT old!

    Just a couple of months ago my ear started really bothering me again. This time I got a referral to somewhere else, who referred me to somewhere else, and I ended up in Iowa City, IA- at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

    My surgery was a week ago today. I’m in a lot of pain!! I guess I’m wondering, again, if this was a flop. They did the lateral tymp- atleast, I think that’s the one. They basically cut my ear off, well, flipped it forward and the placed fascia over my whole eardrum. Apparently there are several supporting grafts as well.

    Aside from sharing with a group of people who can commiserate, I was wondering about other people’s recovery experience. I don’t go back for my follow-up visit for another month… and now I’m just wondering if it worked.
    I’m in pain- in my inner ear. Yeah yeah, the stitches still hurt, my outer ear is still somewhat numb and throbs… but I think I’m wondering if there is some sort of common denominator that would answer my constant wondering as to whether or not the surgery was successful!! (does that even make SENSE?!**)

    ~~~ Julia

    • Julia,

      Hello! Pain is normal, very normal. Please hang in there. It’s normal to have doubts about whether the procedure was successful. If you go back into my blog’s archives, you’ll read about the anxiety I felt as to whether I’d ever feel better.

      With time, and by listening to my doctor, everything was fine.

      Please keep us updated on your recovery.

      • HI,
        I have had my tempanoplasty surgery.had hole in my eardrum, but it did not work well.
        my Dr. said I should have the second ear surgery I am afraid not sure what to do? any advice for me

    • Julia,
      I was wondering how you are doing now and if you’d recommend Univ. of Iowa?

  • update/response to Julia on my recovery.

    Today I had a check up after 3 months from my last appointment. With my healing process I haven’t really noticed a significant difference with my hearing. At my last appointment, 3 months ago, the doctor told me the skin graph had kept intact. At that time I would hear an occasional whistle or high pitched sound (nothing that would hurt my ears) which he said was normal. to my understanding your ears may become sensitive to noises as the nerves grow and recover.

    Today I went in to have my 3rd check up. The whistling sound is gone but I do find that when I blow my nose it sounds like air is blowing past the ear drum, just as it had before I had my surgery. I told my doctor and it seems the graph does have a minor hole in it once again. But the hole is definitely smaller than what it used to be. My doctor told me this is fine and that actually most people would be better off with a tiny whole in the ear drum to relieve pressure and discomfort when flying and other things. Mind you, this is just my doctors opinion- yours may say otherwise. We still did a hearing test and the good news is my hearing has improved, since the last test I had before surgery, significantly. I still have to wear an ear plug in my right ear when swimming and it is still recommended that I don’t scuba dive for fear of the water putting too much pressure on my ear drum. especially since it is still healing. Snorkeling has been a pretty good alternative though. Other than that I have nothing else to worry about. I never had many ear infections as an adult with my perforated ear drum oddly enough. It only seemed to affect my hearing. So I don’t know how a tiny hole in the ear drum would affect someone else who has had many ear infections with a larger hole in the eardrum.

    Also- this is my second time doing this surgery, the first surgery unfortunately was unsuccessful for me, but yours may be different if you are careful and follow your doctors instructions exactly.

    • Meghan, thank you for echoing the idea that everyone should be listening to his or her doctor!

      On a personal level, I’m sorry to hear about the hole in your graph. I deeply appreciate the attitude you’re taking toward it, looking at the bright side.

      It’s highly admirable.

  • Richard, I’m hoping you still keep a checkup on your blog. I just had a tympanoplasty two days ago and the muffled sounds, whistling in the ear, and the pain are really getting to me. I find myself wondering was it even worth it? I haven’t been to the doctor yet, but I took off the two bandaids (one that was holding the cotton ball in the ear and the one over the stitches) off and I was wondering if that could cause problems? Plus I’m trying to figure out how long I should expect to be in pain, because the pain is causing me to be sort of a grumpy person and I’m just scared it will run people away.

    • Removing a bandaid over the ear shouldn’t cause the sensations you’re describing. Call your doctor if you’re really concerned about the pain and sounds. All I can say, personally, is that I felt a lot of uncomfortable sensations after my procedure. The passage of time and listening to the advice of my doctor took care of almost everything.

      Remember, I’m not a doctor. Good luck! Also, you don’t sound grumpy!

      • Thank you. The pain has gone down gradually. I’m glad that you’re still keeping check on this, your experience has definitely helped me. Thank’s a lot. :)

      • Hey Richard and everyone else. Thank you for your letters, and discussion. Wish I Could say I feel better. Scares me to death how many of you have had multiple surgeries. I am a professional musician, flautist and music teacher… My world revolves around music. Inoticed I started loosing hearing 3 yrs ago. My Dr recommended I go to a Neuro ENT. So I Did. Long story short, I had a huge perferated ear drum (nearly 40%) of the ear drum, filled in with a cholestoma. They did surgery 5 days ago. I am grateful they didn’t have to do a mastoidectomy but I simply can’t hear. I can’t hear. My right ear is right at normalhearing, not great but I can’t hear myself play, check intonation, I can’t even tell if I’m playing the right notes in groups. It’s terrifying. Everyone says it will come back. Fine…. Great… But what about now? What if I have to do this surgery all over again. It’s nice to know there is someone out there that really dies understand. Ty.

        • How is it going now. I’m on week 5 after the surgery, which included Mastoidectomy. This has been more painful and difficult than anything I have read on the blogs. I can’t imagine going thru 2 or 3 of these.

          • I had this surgery with the Mastoidectomy as well…The taste of salt is so overwhelming…And as another poster said…sometimes my tongue feels as if it is on fire…I know they say this is somewhat normal but can any of you out there let me know how long this will last~

  • I had the surgery on July 6 and had all the symptoms. I was out from work for two months. My job is requires lifting and lots of noise. I took off the bandage and day two and it was bleeding. I was in pain because I did not want to take pain meds. I then took them for a week after week less pain. It was not easy. I finally flew and no pain flying. I only swam once or twice. We will see. All and all Im fine now. Not sure if I would do it again. Im fine now.

  • 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.

    • Do not do it!! I just had a surgery and they all lie about the potential hearing loss. Its early and it may get better but I already had age related loss of high frequencies but now my left ear is nearly deaf. Maybe it gets better or maybe not. Not worth the risk. If you can get a simple patch try that first. Tympanoplasty is way to risky.

      • Hi Larry. I’m curious about your story. I’m deciding on whether to get a surgery, and I’m curious to know if your hearing ever returned?

  • Craig,

    That’s a really personal question. Just be aware that no one can really answer that question for you but yourself.

  • Hi everyone!

    Well, today’s the day. I had a lateral tymp on Dec 21 and today I go in for my check-up. I had a series of unfortunate events- so I’m kind of doubtful that the surgery was successful, but they offered me a high rate of success, so I’ve still got my hopes up just a tiny bit. :D

    Wish me luck!!


  • Good luck Julia!

    Did anyone have any facial numbness after their surgery?

  • My ear was numb, down my jaw and into my cheek on the side I had the surgery on. That lasted for a few days. I had a hard time chewing or talking for a few weeks, too. It’s fine now.

  • God is good!! I’m still not quite sure if it has sunk in yet, but the doctor told me yesterday that my eardrum is intact- the perforation has been sealed. I couldn’t even fall asleep last night because I just kept adding things to my mental to-do list of things that I can do now that my ear is fixed! Showering with no pain, jet-skiing, the pool with my kids, hmm… maybe I should take swimming lessons?! Anyhow- I wanted to thank you, Richard, for keeping this thread alive and well. It was so nice to find a group of people who’ve experienced what I have and a place to share concerns. And Craig, if your surgery/recovery is successful, you can’t beat the feeling I’ve got.

    • I’m so happy for you. Live a wonderful and cautious life. :D

    • Hi Everyone,
      Thank you so much for this website, full of first hand experience.
      I have a similar problem. Growing up with lots of ear infections made my ear drums not function too well, especially when flying. When the plane descended, I felt extreme, stabbing pain in both my ears.
      About 12 years ago, I had a major ear infection and was had station tube put in my left ear. After several months the tube was taken out and I was informed that there was a hole in my ear drum. I was informed that as long as it did not get infected and wet, the hole would not cause any problems. Actually, it worked out to my advantage when flying. My left ear does not hurt because of the hole (the right one still hurts).
      I had an infection 2 years later, and was informed by another doctor to have the hole repaired. Unfortunately, (10 years ago) they would have cut behind my ear to patch up the hole. I therefore chickened out.
      Lately, I had some problems with my right ear and have been feeling some pain and minor loss of hearing so I had an ear exam. At this time, another doctor told me that they can repair the hole in the left ear by going in through the ear canal and grafting skin inside the inner lobe to patch up the hole.
      I am so scared and nervous, but a little more positive to know that I won’t have to get the cut behind my ear.
      I having been searching up different information on the website regarding this surgery.
      Everyone who got this done, do you all feel positive about it now that you have done it and has it healed well? Was there a lot of pain after the surgery?

      Thank you.

    • Julia did you go to the University of Iowa? If so who would you recommend as a doctor as my son is going to the univesity next year and I want to find and ent to keep an eye on the perferated ear.

  • wow i had no idea that so many people had problems similiar to mine im actually not too sure how similiar.. im 17 i have or had a punctured eardrum in my right ear its mildly complicated… i had tubes when i was a baby then everything was fine… when i was 12 i got a piece of seaweed stuck in my ear while swimming. either it got infected and thats how i got the hole in it or well i tried to clean it with q-tips NOT a good idea ive been told that my eardrum has 2 layers instead of the normal 4 that its thinner than others… then when i as aound 14 i had a piece of paper put on my eardrum i thought that worked for a little while..then on halloween of last year it opens again that hurt a lot so we went to a couple doctors the first one i talked too thought it wasnt open, he was a jerk prodding around in it telling me that it was just ear wax when i knew it wasnt anyway i got a tympanoplasty? monday so ive been recovering for a week taking vicodin to get rid of the pain and stuff… my worries are pretty common from the sound/looks of it i really just want this to heal so i dont have to shower with earplugs so i can swim and have my head under the water so i can go diving again possibly skydiving for my birthday… anyway i just thought id comment see the responses :)

  • Hey Tasha-

    Well, in my opinion, it depends on how much pain/trouble the perforated eardrum causes you.
    The surgery itself is a cinch. (I’ve had both- the “through the ear” kind and the “behind the ear.”)
    You go in, they check vitals, put in an IV, wheel you down to the OR, and you wake up a couple of hours later with a bad taste in your mouth but otherwise feeling fine. You’ll have a pretty decent bandage on- which you’re supposed to keep on for a few days.
    You leave, a few hours later it will start to throb, take your pain meds!! It will hurt for the next few days and at times it will suck.
    I would say though, that the worst part is the recovery- in that so much of the surgery’s success depends on how well you take care of yourself. You can’t sneeze or blow your nose, life heavy objects, etc. When I had this surgery, it didn’t work. I did too much. I had the other kind of surgery in December and it worked. :D I’ve taken 3 showers without earplugs and now I can definitely say it WAS WORTH IT! :D Just be careful afterwards- take it easy, and have someone take care of you.
    Go for it. :D

    • Thank you Julia and everyone. If I can gather enough courage to go ahead with the surgery, I will definitely follow everyone’s advice during recovery. I will keep you posted.

    • I would easily say that Julia’s description of the procedure is one of the most informative pieces I’ve ever seen on the subject.

      Tasha, good luck! Take it easy, and let us know how you’re doing.

    • I guess I will never understand how you aren’t allowed to sneeze? Aren’t sneezes out of ones control? Ive sneezed 3 times since my tympanoplasty 10 days ago, along with some coughing (due to a bad head cold) and I am kind of freaking out about damaging the graft. This is my 4th surgery in less than 5 years. :(

  • Hello everyone!

    My story is pretty similar to many of yours. I’ve had problems with my ears forever, not infections, but a “full” feeling. At age 16 I recieved my first set of tubes, and since then (I am now 27) have had 3 other pairs put in. This past summer, I got a really bad ear infection last lasted about 3 weeks. After that I became very sensitive to sound, my ear almost feels as though it is swelling (which sucks at work, since I work at an elementary school!). I went to the doctor to find out that I have a perforated ear drum. He removed the tube from that ear, and after 2 months of trying to let the hole “heal on its own” I am scheduled to have a tympanoplasty on April 5. My doctor told me of two possible procedures that could be performed, one where I would recieve a fascia graft, and one that is a newer procedure where a like, amniotic graft is put in place? Can anyone tell me about the amniotic graft at all? I don’t know exactly which procedure they will be doing, is that something they decide at the time of surgery? I must admit, I am terrified after researching the tympanoplasty, and am rethinking the surgery (though I don’t want to live like I have been either! I have to wear an earplug every day, and get dizzy from the unequalized pressure). I am very thankful for this site and any information that anyone can give me!!

    • Hi Ryan,
      I asked my Dr. re: amniotic graft. She said it is a product which could be used to patch up the hole. However, she thinks that your natural skin/graft is better to use, since your body accepts it.
      Sorry, for the late reply, but hope your surgery went well.

    • Hello everyone! Well, I had the amniotic graft procedure on April 5 (2010). It was a minimally invasive procedure involving no cutting or stitches, and the amount of pain afterwards was quite minor. My post-op check the other day revealed that I have a tiny (microscopic) hole in the graft, though my ENT is confident that it will heal on its own, and it is causing no discomfort. The pain that I had been experiencing before surgery immediately disappeared! All in all, I would recommend the amniotic graft if it is an option. Good luck everyone!

  • I have mine scheduled for March 22, 2010. I have had a hole in my left eardrum since I was a baby. I am now 27. The hole in my eardrum is very large, almost the size of my eardrum! I am curious, what type of pain medication do they prescribe you? I already experience a lot of pain and I am praying the medication they give me will help.

  • I am meeting with my dr. on the 31st to schedule my surgery and ask her more questions. My dr. recommended patching up the hole in the left ear and putting a tube in the right ear to help equalize pressure. Reading everyone’s comments, I am having second thoughts about putting a tube in there. The tube in my left ear was supposed to be for 6 months only. However, the right one will be in for 2-4 years (which will be great for the pain). However, now I am concerned that once the tube is out, I hope I won’t have a hole in my right ear. I had asked the dr. if the hole in my left ear was caused from the first tube, but was told no.

    Ryan, sorry I don’t know anything about amniotic graft. But I have listed that as one of my questions to my dr. I will certainly notify you of my findings.

    Wish you all the best Lauren and Ryan. Please keep us posted as to your experience after the procedure.

  • I had a tympanoplasty w fascia graft a week ago. I am still experiencing a lot of muffling in my ear and it is itching so bad. I just have to scratch it sometimes, the itching is driving me crazy. I am sure it is just the healing process though. I have had 3 sets of tubes since I was 5 years old, and that is what caused the perforated eardrum. I had a lot of pain the first few days, however now the pain is going away. Still can not hear that great, and just having the itching and crackling in my ear. Anyone else have this problem?

    • Hi Sis,
      I hope you are doing much better today.
      Did the pain continue even with pain medication? Do you mind if I ask which pain medication you were using?
      My surgery will be in June.
      I had an appt. with my Dr. last week. My ear drums are sucked back and sitting on the bone, which I was told has caused some bone erosion, and eventually can cause hearing loss. They will cement the eroded bone, and also do the surgery to patch the hole in the ear drum. Additionally, they will put tubes in both ears again to balance the pressure, so that the ear drums might start adjusting to pressure the right way.


  • Phoebe M. Olivera

    Hi- I have been enjoying this blog and the various comments. I had a this surgery a week ago today- on the 7th. After many many many years of tubes my left eardrum just fizzled out. The first few days after the surgery were awful. The pain was intense. Tonight the packing came out and I’m kind of worried about it. Not any real pain, but I am experiencing some pulsing that is bothersome. I was surprised at the amount of bruising I had after this surgery. My neck turned black and blue about 5 days post surgery. My upper ear is definitely numb. Should I be worried about the packing coming out early? Should I call the doctor? Your insight would be helpful.


    • Hi Phoebe,
      I haven’t had the surgery yet, but my Dr. had mentioned that the outer packing comes out in a week and if not, they will remove it in a week. Which hospital do you have? Kaiser has advice nurse, whom you can call anytime for questions.
      You mentioned about bruising – did the Dr. go through the ear canal to repair the ear drum or did they make an incision behind the ear?
      Thank you.

    • Hey Pheobe… Just had my surgery 5 days ago. Noticed tonight some preaching starting to come out. I very gently pushed it back in. Doesn’t seem to be hurting more than normal but now I’m terrified… What did your doctor Sri about yours coming out?

  • I had the surgery about 9 months ago. I had lots of brusing on my face and the side of my hair shaved. My ear was numb and it still is a little. I got the surgery because I had a hole in my eardrum. I was able to hear but I would get lots of ear aches and would have a terrible time flying. My hearing is the same and Im able to fly without pain. My earaches are gone! The con was the healing process. Loud noises are hard for me and my eardrum is very small. All and all I glad I did it.

  • Phoebe M. Olivera

    Hi Tasha-
    Yes they made the incision behind my ear. I saw my doctor and thankfully he says everything is healing nicely. I’m feeling back to normal for the most part. Some minor popping noises but overall I think I’m hearing better. I’m also glad I had the procedure done. I had my surgery at Virginia Mason in Seattle, WA. They were wonderful!

  • Congratulations Phoebe,
    I am glad that things have worked out well for you. All the best.
    I pray that my surgery will go well. It’s on June 16.
    Does anyone have any advice re: which pain medication works better for post-surgery pain?

  • How soon was it before any of you traveled by air? My daughter had a tynpanoplasty on the 24th of March. We are looking at flying on the 24th of May.


    • Ratna,

      I have yet to travel by air since my procedure. My lifestyle doesn’t require it, and therefore, I have no useful answer for you. Hopefully someone else reading these threads has an answer for you.

      • i recently had a tympanoplasty and my DR advised me to wait 6 weeks minimum before flying but it is not advised until your dr has seen you in outpatients and has given you the all clear. hope this helps :)

  • Air Travel,

    My doctor told me to wait a month from surgery I actually waited 2 months. Everything went great.

    • Richard and Berm,

      Thank you for your replies. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to fly and not have to drive cross country. 2nd follow up is on the 19th of May.

      When could you all start to swim?


  • My boyfriend just had his surgery 2 days ago and the pain is intense. He tells me he can almost feel the packing touching his brain. He is worried that the pain and discomfort are more than he should have. He is on pain medicine but has a high tolerance for it so it’s not taking it away. Can anyone tell me if this is normal?

    • Kaity,

      I’m going to tell you that two days out, the pain may be intense. If he’s still feeling awful in another two days, despite pain medication, I’d give someone a call. He’s going to “feel” it for a little while, but the pain should diminish.

  • Phoebe M. Olivera

    Yes- the intense pain is unfortunately normal. The pain was excruciating until day 5. After 3 days I called the doctor and his nurse told me that on day 5 the pain would go away, and it did. Pain meds did little for me either. It was like I still felt the pain only I was groggy and cranky. I’m sorry your boyfriend is suffering. However- it has been almost 2 months since I had my surgery and I feel great. I know I can hear better. Last night I went to a dance, the music was loud and irritating- so I left. It may sound funny but I was thrilled to death the music hurt my ears, because that means my little eardrums are working!

    Tell your boyfriend to hang in there. It will get better.


  • Dear Kaity,

    The pain is very intense the first couple of days. Stay on top of the meds.

  • Thank you all so much. He finally couldn’t take it and was so worried we went to the er this morning. The doctor took out some of the packing and gave him stronger pain meds. He says it feels a little better but is still annoying. He is going for his first follow up on Tuesday and is hoping that taking the rest out will help the rest of the pain. He also had a mastoidectomy so I’m sure he is going to hurt more. Thank you again for the quick responses. We were not very well informed about what to expect so this helped alot.

  • Another question for you, did the ear hole look different? His looks bigger than the other side. He is wondering if it will stay that way or if it will look normal after the swelling goes down. Any comment would be appreciated. Thank you again.


  • Phoebe M. Olivera

    Yes- my ear hole seemed a little bigger. I think (personal opinion) that after a mastoidectomy, the ear space a little bigger than it was pre-surgery. Because what is happening is the mastoid bone is being drilled out and so I am proposing that will make the space bigger. I did not have the mastoidectomy, but my ear canal seemed a little bigger anyway. I’m not sure if it is back to normal or if I just have become used to it.

    How’s he doing anyway?

  • He’s still in alot of pain. His first follow up is tomorrow. I’m hoping that taking out the packing will help. I’m not sure what to do. He says his jaw and neck hurt. After reading about everyones experience here I think it sounds normal. Not quite sure though. He said if he would have known it would be like this he wouldn’t have had it.

    • Kaity, I was wondering about the jaw and neck pain…a week after mine my neck pain was more of swollen lynph node feeling….i also had muscle spasms but the gland pain was awful. my regular MD had to give me a low dose steroid to help with pain and swelling. I understand the lympg nodes function is to filter bacteria and foreign odbjects and i was wondering was this my bodys reaction to the packing it was trying to dissolve. what ype of pain did he have in the neck? thanks JEN

  • Phoebe M. Olivera

    OH man! I thought the exact same thing. My doctor made it seem like it wouldn’t be so bad but I think 2 weeks went by and I was in a complete fog. The jaw and neck pain were issues too. I remember thinking that I would never had done either if I knew it was going to be that intense, but now I am really happy I did do it. Tell him to hang in there- this will pass.

  • Hello again!
    Dr went well this morning. He took out the packing which seemed to help. Now dr says to use the ointment and pain meds and he will see us in a month. I think he is starting to believe it will get better now. A bit dizzy today he says but at least the pressure is gone. Hope now that the pain will get better a little every day.
    Thank you again.

  • Wow. Hi Kaity, it is nice to know that your boyfriend is feeling less pain know. I guess most people on this website has experienced ear pain, and we all know how nasty ear pain is.
    My surgery is almost here (June 16) and I am so scared thinking about the pain.
    Does anyone remember which medication worked better for them? I have previously used 600mg Motrin, which was of no help. I was going to try out Tylenol with Codeine, but am not sure if that’ll help with pain. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding which medication I should get from my Dr.?
    Thank you.

  • Hi Tasha
    I hope I didn’t scare you about the surgery. Keep in mind he had a mastoidectomy too. His dr finally gave him vicodin es (extra strengh). It’s 50% stronger than regular vicodin and that’s what seemed to help the best. He also had Tylenol with Codine but it didn’t do much for the pain. He is doing much better today. A little uncomfortable but pain is much better. Good luck with your surgery coming up! I’m sure everything will go great. Look forward to hearing after how you’re doing!

  • Hi Tasha-

    I had my 2nd tymp in December and was able to manage the pain far better this time than I did in my previous surgery. The Dr. prescribed me hydrocodone (sp?) and when I stayed on top of it, it worked really well. I’m sure your surgery will go fine- don’t be afraid! :D


  • Thanks so much Kaity and Julia. I am having tympanoplasty, so am praying that it won’t be as bad. I will definitely check with my doctor re: both Vicodin and hydrocodone.
    I will keep you all posted re: the surgery and outcome.
    Thank you.

  • Hi Tasha,

    Vicodine made me sick I took Tylenol with Codeine. That worked for me.

  • Thanks Berm.

  • Hi,
    I had my surgery yesterday. Thank God, all is going well so far. I haven’t had any pain…yet. They had to cement 2 bones and patched up the hole. I am continuing to take my pain med (Tylenol with Codeine).
    Thank you for all your support. Hope you all are healing well also.

  • Thanks Richard. Today is the 4th night after the surgery and so far, all is well….no pain. My follow-up is next Thursday. Hope I’ll get positive news. I will surely keep you all posted. Thanks.

  • Richard,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with everyone.
    I had my tympanoplasty this past Thursday, and I am still having some pain and trouble chewing solid foods. Did you experience this? My jaw is rather tight and it makes it difficult to chew on my left side where the operation took place.

  • Hi Mike-

    I don’t want to be discouraging, but when I had my tymp in December I couldn’t eat solid foods on that side for over a week. Unfortunately, I think it’s normal! Towards the end of that week, I noticed if I DID chew food on that side it seemed to relieve a little tension in my neck and jaw.
    Hope you feel better soon!


    • Thanks guys! Its been a little over two weeks since my procedure and I am now able to chew foods at about 90%.

      We went to the doctor yesterday for my post-op and he cleared the bandages away from my left ear and checked my hearing with a tuning fork. Everything went great, and it appears my hearing has already improved.
      I’m still taking it easy for the next few weeks (no lifting, no work, no exercise etc.) and will start the otic drops today.

  • Richard, thank you for the invaluable help you have offered to those on this blog. As an adult my eardrums have been traumatized,infectd and ruptured from years of Scuba and Air Travel. (I have been blessed in this lifetime) (I’m now 51) I’ve had numerous ear tubes over the years but this last tube will not fall out on it’s own after 2-years. I have moderate hearing loss but this is secondary to my desire to swim. I live on a beautiful beach in Hawaii and it hurts my spirit to be unable to swim. The (Doc’s Pro)earplugs don’t fit despite being “fitted” for them and I’ve tried just about every other product out there. My ENT has not offered any alternatives such as surgery but I’m compelled to find an alternative. I only need the eardrum patched. Any suggestions, comments to help me figure out if the surgery is the best option and secondly how do I approach my Physician to hopefully get the procedure covered under insurance? Any help, direction or support is appreciated… The ocean is my place of santuary and healing which I need so much right now. Mahalo and with much gratitude- Candi

  • Hi Candice,

    I just wanted to give you a little heads-up based on my experience. When I went in to a pretty random specialist two years ago and was looking for a tympanoplasty I just explained to him that I was in a fair amount of discomfort (especially after showers (and based on my calculations, if I washed my hair every other day for the rest of my life, I’d be looking at 10,950 instances of pain!)) during my everyday activities, not to mention the fact that I would never swim or take my girls in to the pool, attend a loud concert, etc. He seemed to understand this and after weighing other possibilities (earplugs, never worked for me) and the fact that it was potentially damaging my hearing he ordered a tympanoplasty for me. Now granted, the first tymp I had didn’t work out- but based on the doc’s ordering of this surgery I had no problems with insurance. They’ve covered my 2nd surgery as well, and I’m a whole woman again! ;)

    I do think you should talk to your doctor. But do read up on the subject, so you’re an informed patient!
    I hope I was of some help – if I can answer anything else, please let me know!


    • I have felt pretty alone dealing with my ear problems these last few years, despite the fact that I’ve worked in the medical field for 20-years. I can’t express my gratitude for your replies and the amazing information on this site. You all have offered me something the medical community hasn’t… HOPE!

  • Hi Richard,

    I came across your blog a few months ago when I was told I would need a tympano-mastoidectomy with an ossicular reconstruction on my right ear. I’m been having problems with it and some gradually declining hearing loss for the last 5 years. But, ironically, I had no problems with my ears at all in childhood and adolescence. I’m 33 and being a part-time musician it started to affect my performance. It was time to get it fixed. Now is day 4 after surgery and I’ll see my doctor in a little over a week to remove packing. Sounds are very muffled and like you said that is throwing off my perception of sound. I haven’t had any issues and I’m healing nicely. No real significant pain and swelling is at a minimum. I’m a very healthy person, I train for 1/2 marathons and typically eat right. This is a great blog, btw. How are you doing? It’s gotta be a good year or year and a half since your surgery. Hopefully I’ll heal fast and be back to hearing more than muffled sounds in a month or so. Thanks for the blog! Very informative!

    • Hey Kevin!

      Glad to hear things are going well for you. That makes me very happy, and thanks for the kind words about the blog.

      I’m doing well! I’m feeling good, the ear is good, and life is moving along swimmingly!

      Please do come back and let us know how healing goes.

  • Hi guys,

    About 4 years ago a nurse put a hole in my eardrum while syringing my ear. I am booked to have surgery in two weeks the one where they cut the back of your ear but I am freaking out and i want to know if the people who have had this done think it is worth it? I have never really had any problems other than not being able to swim and sometimes getting water in my ear when showering which leaves my ear feeling blocked for a few days. I have been looking a bit too much at google and it looks like this is really painful and there are quite a few risks involved that im not sure are worth taking. I dont think my surgeon has really given me enough info to feel positive about this whole thing. Anyway does anyone here think they wouldnt have gone through with it if they didnt really need too? Is it worth just living with this? Or is it life changing surgery?

    Thanks :)

    • I am so upset as I had my myringoplasty over 2 months ago
      and have just been told I have another hole ! This is after being off work as a teacher. I am no better off now but would have another op to fix it. I go back to specialist Tuesday

  • Hi Sam,
    Ask your Dr. if they can do tympanoplasty w fascia graft (which would only need a small incision behind the ear). For this procedure, they can go through the ear canal, instead of making the whole cut. I had my surgery for the ear drum repair and bone repair in June. It went extremely well. The only pain I had was sore throat, because of the tubes.
    Good luck.

  • Sam,
    I had life long ear problems that significantly impaired my hearing. A new eardrum has been a huge blessing. The pain was intense for me. I would do it again if I had to though. I have tubes and I am resigned to stay out of water (except for showering, naturally) for the rest of my life. If I could hear then I probably would have elected NOT to have the surgery, but since I was always having to say huh? What? Excuse me? Could you please repeat that? there came a point in my life that I hated going in public because I couldn’t hear. It’s your journey my friend- let us know what you choose and if there is anything we can do to support you. I absolutely love this blog. It is reassuring to know that there are other people who have similar issues with their ears.

  • 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.
    Its interesting, when I visited the doctor three weeks prior before returning to work my ear was fine. I 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. He now is telling me that I should be on light duty and not over do it with any heavy lifting. I really wish he would’ve conveyed that to me three weeks ago when everything was intact.
    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 everyone!

    • Hey Mike,
      Though I had a tympanoplasty with fascia graft, the same thing happened to me. Just a few weeks after surgery, my ENT found a new hole in my eardrum, that he is just kind of “letting heal on its own”. Luckily for me, the new hole kind of works as a tube and fixes my mal-functioning eustachian tube. Good luck! I’m sorry I can’t offer hope, just wanted to let you know that it happened to me too!

      • Ryan,
        Thanks for the info. Yeah, I just saw my ENT for another visit last week and he said the hole had gotten smaller. He suspects that I may have allergies as my inner ear is still inflamed. He prescribed a few meds for me to take, hopefully it will clear up soon.
        He said that I will have to wait several months before surgery again if it is required. Does anyone else know the time frame between surgeries like this?

  • I like a lot of you are most happy to have found all of this wonderful information, kind words and encouragement. I had an appointment today with my ENT dr to talk about surgery to fix the huge perforation in my right ear. The perforation is 80% of my eardrum. Doc told me that it doesn’t make much sense to fix the perforation as there isn’t much of my eardrum left. He wants me to have a CT scan (which I will have tomorrow morning) and I go back in two weeks to meet with another ENT doc at that practice. It has been discussed that we would do an eardrum transplant with using a donated eardrum. Has anyone else heard of this? I did a lil research this evening and found a TIMES article on this type of surgery. Medical Science is amazing! Nov 3 is my next appointment and at that time we will schedule surgery. Having gotten this large perforation during an abusive childhood I am most ready to move on and close this chapter. Reading everyones comments has been most informative. I thank each and everyone of you for taking your time to be of help to each of us who have read this informative blog. Thank you!

  • Hi!

    I came across this blog a few weeks before having my surgery and I was having major anxiety about whether to do it or not (had already put it off for 3 years)
    It has now been 5 weeks since my surgery. All went well the worst part of the whole thing was the night I had it done because I couldnt sleep thanks to the huge bandage around my head. Anyway other than that I had no pain at all, was taking panadol every 4 hours for 2 weeks and had to sleep on my good side (kind of annoying but its not forever). I was back at work 10 days after my surgery and had a post op 3 weeks after where he took out the packing that had me a little bit blocked up and checked my ear drum – Everything went perfectly :) a few weeks after my surgery I would bleed from my ear randomly which freaked me out a bit but thats all perfectly normal. I still feel a little blocked in my ear every now and then but I guess its still healing a bit.

    Anyway I guess Im just writing this for anyone else who has come across this blog and is unsure about what to expect and stuff. If I had to do it again I would. I cant wait to swim again this summer :)

  • Hello, just wanna ask something. I had a tympanoplasty done more than 3 months ago and the doctor said that the eardrum healed nicely but my hearing seems to be still very abnormal. I was hoping that hearing would come back already. Do you think that there is a chance that it will come back to normal still? I’m really nervous now because not passing a hearing test will keep me away from getting into law enforcement.

  • Hi!
    I had a tymp last December and my hearing only returned to normal a few months ago. My grandpa had a tymp 3 months ago and they told him it would be a gradual process, sometimes taking up to a year. I hope yours returns to normal quickly!

  • Hello everyone-

    About two summers ago, in July 2009, I underwent a tympanoplasty for my left ear, as there was a perforation [the ENT never said how big], my mother was weary of this ENT but I needed to surgery asap as I was about to start school and other activities. Almost two years later, I am regretting seeing that ENT. About a month ago, I visited a different ENT, one that I absolutely love because she explains things so well, and we realized that I still had a perf. in that same ear…about 30%. I have always had trouble understanding words, rather than hearing them, so we decided to go for the surgery… schedule for March 23, 2011. A couple days before surgery, my ENT viewed my ear drum again and noticed that the perf. had gone from 30% to 40%! :( Two days later, I had a mastoid tympanoplasty.. my ENT wanted to check for infected tissues because as a young child I had 4 sets of tubes and numerous ear infections. The first night after my surgery went well, I had pain, but nothing major. I slept like a baby and used the vicodin as needed. Two mornings after my surgery, I woke up vomiting and was taken to the ER because I continued to get sick. Here I am, one day later, and I feel much, much better. I have taken off the final bandage from my surgery and now have a headband to wear for the next month or so, to help my ear lay flat again. I don’t have much, if any, pain, but sometimes I experience that annoying “wet, popping” of the packing inside. Yuck! My ENT did an amazing job on the incision behind my ear and didn’t have to shave any of my hair, like the last one did. I’m anxious to see if this graft works in a few months, the first failed graft was definitely a bummer.

    Hope everyone else has had the results they’ve hoped for.

  • My tympanoplasty was a bummer.Had it done in August 2010,now we have March 2011 and something went seriously wrong because before the surgery I had a mild hearing loss in my left ear,as of now I don’t hear on my left ear at all and I need to amplify my right ear to be able to understand speech.Got DQ from law enforcement hiring process because of it and Im now scheduled to have a second , exploratory tympanoplasty. I’m so disappointed but still hopefull that my hearing will come back after the second surgery so keep your fingers crossed,please.Take care!

    • i have my tympanoplasty last march 2,2011,after the operation..i lost my hearing and taste for 3 weeks.and after that it slowly comes back.as could rememember…4 weeks from the operation..all is ok,even though my ear is still little numb outside but i can hear clearly and well,and my taste is back. by this may is my last check-up….and i hope everything will be ok…

  • I had tympanoplasty 2 weeks ago tomorrow and of course I can’t hear anything. This was my 5th ear surgery and I hope the last one. The ENT had to go behind the mastoid to kill the infection/mucus I had for over a year and no one could help me to get rid off. My first post op. went well and he said that in 4 weeks he should be able to see if the ear drum has heal properly. But can’t get rid of the terrible sound in my ear, timpanic will never go away unless someone has a miracle idea will be helpful. Tks.

  • Its been a year and half from my surgery. Ive been flying and living a normal life. I did however get a cold and sinus infection and my ear feels full. So Im worried. Can any one tell me if this is something they have experienced?

    • I would be careful and I only say this because my ENT claimed (after my 2nd go) that it was healed, a month later I got a nasty cold and afterwords my hearing was less so I went in and he said it refperferated. Hopefully that was just my back luck but be careful! easy on nose blowing and take meds to avoid heavy conjestion

  • Dear Richard
    thank you so much for posting this blog! It’s been very reassuring that I’m not alone in the paranoia which seems to strike after you have had a tympanoplasty! I think a lot of us have had so much pain and so many problems with our ears before, that so much hope and fear rides upon this procedure. And personally, my ear is so hypersensitive that I think the ENT surgeon thought I was such a wimp when I nearly fainted as he started messing around with it!

    Anyway I had my tympanoplasty about 6 weeks ago now. It was my 1st one. I have an incision in front of my ear and along the top of my ear canal. They used either fascia or cartilage I’m not sure. I’ve had the hole since I was six years old from grommets and have put it off til now (I’m 33!!) I’ve had 2 really bad ear infections in the past 2 years from swimming & I thought enough is enough, as I can’t bear not to swim. (That was despite wearing flanged silicone earplugs. I got a bit carried away snorkelling…)

    Anyway I suffered most of the problems people here describe. The intense pain for a few days following surgery, plus dizziness. I had really strong opioid painkillers which I then had withdrawal symptoms after only 5 days taking them. That was awful as I couldn’t sleep for 2 nights with anxiety.
    Then the paranoia set in. I don’t think it’s worked. My hearing is worse. I can feel cold ear against my drum when I breathe. The hole must still be there. It’s still hurting. It crackles when I cough. My voice sounds louder. I feel something moving in my ear when I bend over. It hisses. It pops when I swallow…. etc etc.

    Sounds crazy to anyone who’s never been there. I was so upset I emailed the surgeon. Who was very reassuring and just repeated all the advice I’d been told before – don’t get it wet at any cost. Try not to sneeze or cough. Don’t do extreme exercise. Don’t catch a cold…

    I work in the health service so I decided that it was too much to risk going back into work too quickly. I was initially just going to take 2 weeks but the nurse in hospital said that was far too soon and signed me off work for 4 weeks. I think I was relieved the decision was taken out of my hands and I think work thought I was being a bit cautious, but I really wanted to give this the best chance without being exposed to infections.

    I nearly went mad at home not being able to exercise and staying away from people for that long – I think I saw 5 people in 4 weeks. But I think it may have paid off. Last week I had the packing removed. There was still lots of gelfoam there, some of which the ENT guy suctioned away and gave me drops to dissolve the rest. It feels better already – the drops aren’t going straight through into my middle ear and down my eustachian tube into my throat like they did before. Also no pain now which is nice. I can also hear a bit better already (still worse than before surgery, but I know it’s improving as the gel foam dissolves)

    I’m not allowed to swim for a while & we’ve booked to go to France on the train so we don’t have to fly this summer.
    I got one of the docs at work to look in my ear today & he can see the drum! And he said there’s no hole and it looks healthy!! Thank God!

    SO here’s to some more more success stories and reassurance for those going through this. Give yourself time and follow all the instructions they say to avoid damaging the graft. And keep your fingers crossed for a good result!

    Perhaps we’ll all even scuba dive one day…

  • I just finished my third tympanolplasty to heal a 10% perferation from (originally) getting hit in the side of the head with a soccer ball by my coach. My first ENT said he’d do it and it would be no problem; just go right in through the canal. Then after it was plugged FORVER and never really got better, he said the hole was still there and that I should go to someone else, thats when I found out the other doctor he works with (literally next room over) specializes and does all of these surgeries in the area….wow thanks. After my 2nd surgery the new ENT said there were random misplaced patch of skin in there that shouldn’t be…hmm wonder who did that. Anyways that one healed and then I felt hearing loss which led to me discovering the stupid thing REperferated mysteriously. Guessing it’s a large cold i had, but we really don’t know. now i just had my third one 4 days ago and it’s isn’t making the poping squish noises I’m used to and I’m worried, weird right? I’ve had mannnnyy surgeries and I’m off pain meds because this is nothing, but I’m CONSTANTLY worried. This is my last week of summer and I’m going insane I need to ride my 3yr horse in training and prepare and train with the xc team but I am told not to! I need someone to encourage me to not. do. anything because this has to work. Any ideas? doc says 2 weeks before running and riding, could i push it sooner? Thanks, I’m sure you guys understand what it’s like to feel like every thing you do is ruining it :}

  • Tasha,
    I followed full blog and concerned about you

    Any news about your situation …

  • Doctore confirmed me that chances of operation is quite High …Could you please advice


  • Hi Sunil,
    My procedure was done about an year ago and has completely healed now.

  • This blog has been very helpful to me! I’m postop day #18 from a right tympanoplasty with cartilage graft taken from my tragus (portion of ear closest to cheek bone). I, like everyone else, suffered pain with nausea and dizziness several days postop. My ear canal is packed with the self-dissolving gel foam which has temporarily impaired my hearing; aside from the high pitched annoying ringing! I know this will subside as the packing slowly dissolves, but it’s soooo annoying! I’m afraid to do anything in fear the graft will be compromised. The isolation and paranoia is already wearing on me and I’m off work 17 MORE days (5 weeks total). Of course this operation would be totally worth it if the graft takes, but it sounds like so many people on this blog are on their 2nd-4th surgery! Very scary! Hopefully I won’t sneeze too hard or anything else seemingly minor resulting in more surgeries! I’ve been dealing with infections, tubes, etc since a newborn. Now 29 years old, it would be nice to close this chapter of my life! Fingers crossed…..

  • HI Gabrielle,

    I pray for your quick recovery…Precations will definately help you.
    I request please keep posting about your status ..So that this virtual family shall know the recovery of our family members.
    I also want to congratulate “Richard” for starting such a Blog ..and slightly disappointed that richard is no more active member…

  • HI , I am glad to see your reply…

    May be you have already posted all the details …my request would be—

    • Precautions to be taken before and after surgery
    • Recover time post operation
    • Any complications..
      waiting for your reply
      Many thank !!!
  • Hi, I posted here awhile back following my tympanoplasty last December. I 9 months out and about to go in in about a week and a half for a 2nd surgery: this time to reconstruct/reimplant the incus bone that was removed during the 1st surgery since it was about half-eaten away by a cholesteatoma that was removed. I am really nervous all over again, though at least I know something of what to expect, though the dr. can’t give me any guarantees as to what he will find when he gets in there (whether or not he got all the cholesteatoma cells, whether my original bone will be able to be successfully implanted, etc.) I have been told that my altered taste sensations won’t get any worse and that I should be able to get some (wonder how much) hearing restored in my right ear (better than now since I have none in that ear). I’m more nervous because a new symptom has shown up and I’m wondering if any of you have experienced it this far out from surgery: positional vertigo. It is slight, but I notice it in the morning when I get out of bed, sit up/look down; basically whenever I turn my head to a new position. I had noticed extremely slight symptoms earlier, but dismissed them as not having enough to eat or being dehydrated or something. This morning, it is more pronounced. I am scared that the cholesteatoma has grown back and now affected my inner ear, where before it was only localized to my eardrum and the incus. Or maybe it’s something else more serious. Of course, I’ll be going in tomorrow for a dr’s pre-op appt. and I’ll be asking about all this then, but just wondering if anyone else has had this happen and what it was and how long it lasted for you…thanks so much.

  • There’s a correction to the above (typo on my part, sorry)In the first line, that should read: I’m 9 months out from the first surgery…

  • Hope-I pray your surgery was successful and a speedy recovery.
    For my update-I went today for my 5 week postop appt. The remaining ear packing was removed (thank goodness!) and my doctor reported a totally healed ear drum! What a relief! Supposedly I can resume a “normal” lifestyle which is music to my ears! Best of luck to everyone!

  • I had my first tymp. surgery on Sept 12 after being slapped in the head by someone three years ago. They did the ear cut off because the ENT essentially said I had no ear drum left.

    Recovery has been up and down. Im frusrated by not being able to sneeze or blow my nose.

    I can tell my hearing has improved so I know there’s at least something working down there but going from no ear drum to half an ear drum would improve hearing. My concern is that I thought the ringing would have settled down by now since I can hear better. Did anyone here end up with permanente tinnitus?

    • My tinnitus started before my perforation and then only got worse after I lost half my drum to an ear infection because of an etube inserted in my drum…I only hope mine gets better over time….my gut tells me it will always be w me and I’ve learned to adapt and have it be my friend and not my enemy….I just think there are worse things in life- you learn to deal with it and try ignore it- it has made me a much stronger person even though there are days/ nights when I pray for silence!!! Hang in there!!!

  • I just had the surgery yesterday. Perforation was caused by a nurse syringing my ear. No ear issues before this. Pain is pretty bad,but tylenol w/cod. Is helping. Took the head bandage off today and I have quite a bit of dried blood in my ear. Not sure about how to clean that yet. Besides pain med. Taking oral antibiotic and ear drops. I have off from work next week and I see the doc in two weeks. I hope it worked because I don’t want to go through this again.

  • Wow, this is a great blog and has been very informative for me hearing others experiences.

    I myself just had the surgery done on Oct 26th, 2011. I am a 36 year old male and have had the perforation in my ear since I was young. Suffering from years and years of chronic ear infections, having tubes later to having fluid ooze from my ear. I suffer from conductive hearing loss in my right ear. I just learned to live with it until 2 years ago an ear specialist had a look a referred me to get a CT scan as he saw some skin growth in my ear. Had the CT scan and was referred to an ENT specialist, where he looked and confirmed I needed a tympanoplasty surgery. He also told me the skin growth was normal and happens but was nothing of major concern.

    I live in a remote part of Canada that you can only get to by plane. My surgery was in Ottawa, Ontario. This meant I had to take 6 weeks leave from work and basically live in Ottawa where I am now.

    Long story short my post-op experince thus far has been pretty good aside from some pain. When I got back from the hospital i didn’t feel like eating or doing to much except lay in bed. The next couple of days my appetite slowly returned. i was prescribed pain killers which I never took because the pain I was experincing was tolerable and Extra Strength Tylenol seemd to do the trick. Every 12 hours or so I put 4 drops of Ciprodex in my ear on the packing and let it soak. I use polysporin on the area where my stitches are located. All in all it’s going well.

    Other small things I find with myself after the surgery is that I am easily irritated by little things, but I attribute that to the ear discomfort I am having.

    My first post-op appointment is this Wednesday and I am being optimistic all is well so far. Like everyone else here I am anxious and nervous, but am certain thus far everything is fine. I haven’t sneezed yet, but my wife accidentally trying to be playful grabbed the sides of my head with her hands and that hurt like a son of a gun. I am sure it didn’t do anything but it HURT! She felt so bad about it to.

    Any how, thanks for this Blog and Forum. It is definitely a positive informative place. I will definitely follow-up on my progress.


    Well CT scan confirmed

  • Good luck Chip. I go back to the doc. Next Tues. I haven’t sneezed yet thank god,but I have burped a couple times and that scares me enough. The doc. Called the other day and said that burping shouldn’t screw the graft up. No more pain meds at this point, just ear drops and oral antibiotic. Check back later.

  • Just had my second tympanoplasty at the House Ear Clinic here in Los Angeles- internationally known for it’s treatment of ear related diagnosis. My first failed to hold probably because I had neck surgery for Eagle syndrome at the same time time…swelling and Eustachian Tube Dysfunction coupled with TMJ probably didn’t help either…so with the help of. Bite plate to stabilize my jaw, e-tube exercises to get my etubes to work better, allergy shots to keep my sinuses under control and inhalants of bethamathsone and levoflaxin – I came to the House clinic for a second try. I am hopeful that it will hold and expect a full recovery. All I can tell you from this whole experience is that don’t stop and stay positive. Keep searching and ask questions and interview that dr you feel is on the same page with you. I highly recommend the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles… I came all the way from Key West, Fl for this surgery…I won’t stop until my ear has grafted and is 100% !!!! Now if I could just take a shit- I hate anesthesia…

  • Well I had my follow-up last week. The ENT doctor removed some of the packing in my ear and said everything so far was looking good.

    I go back on the 22nd of November for my second follow-up.

    Still worried though at times. I’ve sneezed twice (open mouth) The one sneeze came out of no were and scared me. I was stunned and my friends were wondering why I seemd so shocked. I explained to them I shouldn’t be sneezing, luckily there was no pain or popping sounds, so I assume all is well with my ear. Today though I notice some not quite popping sound when I swallow in my ear. Am a little worried but I think and hope it’s just the packing dissolving in my ear. As far as hearing goes in the ear, there’s a little bit returning but I can still feel the remaining packing in there. No pain at all, but still using the drops twice a day and cotton in my ear at night. There’s minimal drainage from the ear and it’s a brownish colour I guess.

    All in all everything is well. Wishing everyone else that is going through this all the best in their recovery and healing.


  • Chip,I had my appointment yesterday and pretty much the same as what you were saying. Some packing removed,continue with drops,go back next week. I have sneezed three times open mouth and of course that does concern me as well. I asked my DR. about the crackling noise when I swallow and he wasn’t concerned about that. He said lots of packing and dried blood in there still and that is making that noise. He thinks any way. My hearing is better I think and that is with the packing,so I feel good about that. I will feel better after he can see the ear drum and tell me it’s closed. Take care.

  • I don’t think people realize this is a delicate and major surgery…it will be 2 weeks Thursday and still in pain more than I remember from my first… This better fucking graft- I’ve done everything so far to minimize any complications. The tinnitus though is much louder than before my surgery… And I only hope it subsides… But I am confident that it will resolve somewhat as it is still swollen and packed and super sensitive…does anyone know if it does graft how long we can expect it to hold???? Ps Katy perry staples center next week!!!!

  • Weird – my doc says to start ciprodex 3 weeks after??? And after my first week post op visit just left the packing in and let me go like it was nothing- he is one of Americas top doctors and has a 98% success rate… So I guess I trust him…everyone is different…..

  • Second follow up was today. The doc says the graft is intact and lookin well. I go back next month and he said to stop the drops. Wishing all good luck.

    • Awesome- pulling for you Chris!!! I’ve read…50 days is the number….if it’s fact- who really knows- you’re half way there oh oh livin on a prayer!!!

    • Congrats Chris, I go for my 2nd follow-up Tuesday. Hoping it is good news. I’ve noticed recently in my ear some tinnitus ringing which I hope is not permanent and is just part of the healing process.

      All the best!

  • Thanks Sole Man and Chip. I’m happy so far,but I do have quite a bit of tinnitus ringing. I had more of a wooshing noise prior to surgery,but this is ringing and pretty constant. I hope it goes away because it’s pretty annoying when trying to sleep. I’ll tell you guys another thing,I have not had one cigarette since 2 days before my surgery. I’m dying for one,but I don’t want to wonder if it messed my graft up so I’ll be good.

  • Hey.

    Tomorrow will be a week since I’ve had my tympanoplasty. My pain is still pretty bad, and my ear is making a whooshing noise. I’m wondering if anyone knows how long that’ll last?

  • I’m also wondering how long my ear is going to be numb. If anybody could answer that, if be grateful.

  • Well, I just had my 2nd followup and the doc removed some more packing minus one small piece that wasn’t ready to go. So rather than fight it and risk tear the graft the doc left it and says it’s looking really good so far. He advised me to do the drops in my ear once a day now and I go for third and final follow before I fly home on Dec 2nd. The only problem I am having ids the opposite ear from the one I had surgery on has got fluid in it and it feels plugged. So my ears are hearing different and it feels weird. I hope it balances out over time. The ear doc says the fluid in the opposite ear is not common but does happen and will go away over time. How long that is I don’t know. Fingers crossed this keeps getting better.



  • Emily, I only had the wooshing sound prior to surgery and now I have the ringing. The 28th will be 30 days for me and my ear is still a little numb,but almost feels normal. Good luck.

  • Chip, it sounds like things are going pretty good for you. I’ll be pulling for you.

  • hi emly,

    over the time it will improve, but you feel the numbness for few more days as it normally takes a month to get normal … good luck

  • Went for another appointment today and it looks like I am officially golden. Dr. said it is sealed,looks good and I can get it wet. I just took a real shower and it was great. Hearing is improved,but not as good as before the injury. He placed it at minor hearing loss. Prior to surgery it was between mild and moderate. I wish you all the best and thank you for your kind words during my recovery.

  • I am probably in the minority of reasons for getting my 2nd tympanoplasty. I was riding on a roller coaster at a nearby theme park and I hit my head really hard against the head rest. Instantly I could not hear and had pain. The trauma blew more than 50% of my eardrum out. My 1st surgeon (December, 2011) said that the graph took and I went back many times and he always said that it looked fine, although my hearing had a major loss (went from not hearing low frequencies to a major loss in mid-upper frequencies). I went into the urgent care one weekend (Sunday) that I was having discomfort and “popping” in my ear and when he looked in he ear he said that it didn’t look right and to go back to my Dr. I went back and he said he was going to do a myringotomy (cut a small incision in ear drum) and he “sucked” out any fluid in my middle ear). After this I went to get a 2nd opinion and that Dr. informed me that I had a cholesteotoma (cyst) in my ear canal. When I went in for a 2nd surgery, she removed this cyst and said that there was no eardrum. This 2nd recovery has gone much better than the 1st. The only thing that I worry about was that I went to the Michigan/Ohio State game 2 weeks after surgery b/c it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for my husband. My ear popped like crazy, but I wore cotton, and a head band to try to protect it. It has been now 1 month after surgery and my next appointment isn’t until after Jan. My other Dr. never told me to use cotton ball and vasoline when taking a shower, I guess I wish I would have known about this site back then.

  • Chip and Soleman did the surgery work ? Keep me updated.

    • Hi Chris,

      As far as I know with me so far all is well. I had my 3rd followup on December 2nd and was told everything was looking good and got the o.k. to fly home. I was scheduled to fly home on the 12th but left on the 4th nervous about flying at 30,000 ft. But as far as I can tell everything went well. I lightly popped my ears not blowing hard and I think it was o.k. there was no pain. I’ll know more in a couple of months when the specialist come to check up on the ear.

      I’ve been taking my drops once a day till the bottle is empty so i think I have a couple of more weeks left on them. There’s still some tinnitus in my ear but it’s not over bearing and I hope it dissipates over time. Other than that all is well with a hint of some irritation when swallowing, my ear doesn’t exactly pop but there’s a crackle/pop type noise. Hard to describe but it’s and come and goes.

      Best of Luck!


  • Hi Melissa,
    Hope you are healing well. And yes, I agree – this is a very useful website. Thanks to Ricky Mondello.

  • Thanks Ricky …Your work is really appreciated …

  • Tasha and sunil: You’re very welcome!

  • Well… Now I’m kind of worried. I’ve been extra careful with my ear, but think there may still be a perforation. Recently I’ve noticed while taking the last of my drops I’ve noticed they go into my ear and will run down the back of my throat. Is this normal? Is this because the packing has all dissolved? Anyone else have this happen and was it all fine? The doc sent me home saying all was well. There has been no pain in my ear or anything that could cause a hole.

    I am making an appointment to have a doctor look at my ear. Hope it’s fine and I’m worrying over nothing.

    • Chip,I don’t think you will know for sure until a doctor can look in there. I would think it is just because of the packing being dissolved,but you and I are not doctors. Good luck and keep me informed.

  • Just sharing my story, in case it helps anyone. Firstly, it seems that most people have problems with their LEFT ear. Not a scientific fact, just something I noticed as I read forums. I lost nearly all of my left ear drum during scuba diving.
    I had a myringoplasty 2 weeks ago. They took a skin graft from my scalp behind my ear, after shaving a bit of my very long hair! This was the bit I was dreading the most but I really had nothing to worry about, I can’t see it and the stitches are making it heal up.

    The pain I had was:
    When I was getting a needle for the drip in my forearm.
    When they woke me up in recovery and had the bandage around my head, all I could feel was pain, but it felt more like a serious headache than anything else.
    The only other pain is when I would accidently bump or lie on my sore ear or stitches.
    My pain lasted the first 2 days mainly. I was in hospital for 24 hours but once I left hospital, I didn’t really need pain killers. I do feel a sudden sting sometimes where the nerve endings are repairing, which lasts about 1 second.

    The pain killers they gave me straight after the op:
    Paracetamol x 2 tablets – Strangely, it worked! Normally these wouldn’t even fix a normal headache for me but they seemed to work when I woke up in recovery. Once they started to wear off, they gave me 1 x Endone (Morphine 5mg) tablet. This worked beautifully. No more pressure from the bandage, no more pain whatsover and I managed to fall into a relaxing sleep state. Mind you, they do keep you awake on some level so you are just in ‘twilight’ sleep. They sent me home with 20 x Endone tablets and 100 x Paracetamol tablets and laxitives. Once I got home, I only used 1 x Endone and 2 x paracetamol tablets and that was it, the pain was either bareable or non existant from day 2 onwards.
    In hospital they gave me anti-nauseous medication as I felt dizzy when I got up.

    Dizziness and disorientation:
    This was evident from the time I got off the hospital bed to go home, until about day 4. I would get up from bed and feel very drunk, (but not wanting to vomit!). It was unsettling as I could not do anything for long before I needed to go and lie down again for a bit. I started to feel this was a permanent side-effect, but from day 5 onwards it improved and I was able to drive safely, get on the computer and sit up talking for ages. This was probably caused by both the ear fluid being out of balance and the Endone (morphine) drugs.

    Packing in ear: For the first 3-4 days I had blood like liquid running out of my ear and down my neck. However I think that was just the oil in the packing that was dripping out and mixing with dried blood on its way down. The packing in my ear is very itchy and driving me mad. I feel like scratching it out with my nails or getting a knitting needle to scratch it! But I just have to wait till I see the Surgeon in a few days to get it out, or let it dissolve on its own as I’m not even sure what its made of.

    Stitches: I saw stitches where the small skin graft was taken from my head behind my ear, and then 2 weeks later after taking off some gauze, I discovered stitches were also down my top & front of my ear lobe, (part of ear near where your side-burns are). They must have cut my ear to gain access to the ear canal? These sting occassionally and are made of nylon. Not sure why they didnt’ use dissolvable ones. Anyway my regular GP didn’t want to cut them out after 2 weeks and is making me wait until I see the surgeon in another 5 days for him to remove them.

    That’s about all I can tell you of my experience so far. In a few days I see the surgeon to hopefully have it all taken out and I can see if the graft has taken and whether I can hear again! The surgeon said this op only has a 60% chance of success.

  • I want to also add about Noises in Ear: Noises are muffled of course due to packing in ear, but I have been hearing anything from whistles, popping, ringing and echoes of my own breathing AND VOICE through my ear. But it’s not all the time. Just random throughout the day, although it is a daily occurance. However, the ringing etc is only noticable when its quiet, or when I’m lying down. If there’s other noises around then I don’t notice it as much.

  • My 4 yr old niece stabbed me in my ear. I had a tympanoplasty 2 wks ago. I accidentally blew my nose a little this afternoon w/o thinking and heard a little pop—I can hear myself swallowing sometimes now. No blood or discharge really…I hope I didn’t blow the operation. That would REALLY suck! I go back Mon for my 2 1/2 wk follow up.

    • Mike, you must have had your op same day as me, I go back Monday for my follow up too. Well if you blew your nose ‘just a little this afternoon’ I don’t think you should really worry too much, surely the graft would have taken by now. I blew my nose a few times early on without thinking too and nothing happened. I think it depends on how vigourously you do it. The pop could be a bit of movement with the packing. I can hear myself breathing and talking as an echo through my ear sometimes.

      • Thanks Narelle. I had mine on the 11th. I went to today and everything seemed good. He said the drum was intact. I can even start “light workouts.” But still no nose blowing, straining etc. So basically, I have to be extra careful for another 3 weeks. After 6 wks, it should be strong. We will see.

        • Mike, I had mine done on the 12th. On Monday 30th I had the packing and stitches taken out. I had a new Dr look at it but she gave no feed back other than, ‘hmm.hmm’…then she said it’s still healing and don’t get it wet for another 3 weeks and go back to the hospital again for a follow up visit. I wish the surgeon who did the work would look at it but he was busy, and being a public hospital in Australia, you have to take whatever Dr. they give you. I’m too scared to do any workouts as I can feel my ear drum if I do something as much as lean over to pick up a washing basket! Anyway, I’m glad you got good feed back! I am still picking out bits of white plastic that somehow was left in my ear near the stitches.

  • I had tympanoplasty surgery in Feb 09. Sometimes my eardrum still hurts tremendously. It seems when I go to the ENT, they use a microsuction device which pulls the eardrum to a correct position. Other times I cuff my ear with my palm and apply pressure and immediately pull it away from my ear like a vacuum and it eases the pain on the eardrum. The pain goes away for a little but comes back every other month. When the pain does come, I feel sharp pain behind my eardrum when I swallow my saliva or water. As far as people getting surgery, I did the incision through the ear, little scar left over and pain for about 5 days. Take the meds the ENT gives you and get rest. The ear might bleed, but that is OK, mine did each day. The packing is weird, the ENT said the packing was causing a clicking/popping sound in my ear, but that same sound is still here after almost three years. Anybody have clicking or popping sound after surgery. I got the skin graft procedure.

  • I went through my second tympanoplasty (and first simple mastoidectomy) this past Jan. 10th. I discovered this website before hand which helped remind me of the “fun” it can be to go through this surgery and helped keep me somewhat sane in the past 3 weeks waiting to find out if the graft was holding. Just got back from the doctor and the eardrum is looking good. I had my first tympanoplasty in ’03 and it remained intact until a couple of years ago. Since then I’ve had two fairly major infections, with one that ended up infecting the mastoid bone.

    The day of surgery, I went in bright and early, got hooked up to an IV and was asked a bunch of questions a million times from various staff (better safe than sorry I suppose). I went into the OR and sat on the operating table and soon after I was knocked out. I woke up 2 1/2 hrs. later in recovery, coming in and out of consciousness. Considering I had been through this before, I wasn’t feeling too bad and the pain meds were working as they should. I got home and slept most of the rest of the day, then tried to eat some food for dinner. I had a hard time chewing and opening my mouth very far for several days (might be more attributable to the mastiod procedure). I took Tylenol w/Codiene regularly for about 4-5 days and watched TV or slept for most of it. I woke up the morning of the 3rd day and felt the sickest after surgery I had been yet. I never threw-up, but I was darn close a couple of times. I still don’t know exactly what that was from, but I think it may have been the food from the previous night. Eat a soft and simple diet for a few days!

    Later in the week after surgery, I took a bath or two, washed my hair very carefully, and kept vasoline soaked cotton in my ear. I was prescribed acetic drops after the first week and am still supposed to continue using them until it’s all gone. A couple of times during week 2 & 3, I was able to scrape out (without putting my finger into my ear very far at all), a bunch of crusty crud which was some packing material and dried blood. Also, the doctor went behind the ear, as I knew he would, and the incision is healing nicely.

    About a week and a half in, the popping and noises really kicked into high gear. Every time I would chew food, there would be a pop or other sound in my ear. During this period, I grew very worried about whether or not the graft was holding. But, I maintained my calm for the most part with the help of this website and just waited to find out what the doctor saw.

    My ear also stuck out quite a bit after surgery, but has since returned to a normal position. I actually think my ears are more even now; after the first surgery, the right ear was certainly somewhat lower than the other. Thank you Doc for fixing that!

    Sorry for the stream of consciousness, I’m just trying to recap the past 3 weeks with as much detail as possible from my experience so that you all might breathe a little easier throughout your own ordeals. This way you aren’t waiting to hear back from me either.

    Thanks Ricky for the website and everyone else who is having trouble with their ears. Hang tight and it WILL get better. Just believe it. Take care!

  • Love this blog! It helps pass the time while on bed rest following my tympanoplasty on Jan 27 in Calgary. I was doing very well, I only took T3’s for one day. My surgery was fascia graft attaching it to the hammer bone which was scored, I had no eardrum. This was my third tymp but I was very young for my earlier surgeries but at 42 I figured it was time for my last kick at the can.
    On the evening of day 5 I sensed my sinuses may be congested so I took a decongestant & sure enough the draining began. I only had non-drowsy so it made for a very long night but I knew, thanks to this blog, that the pressure was not good & I had to ease it asap. I was up all night and its now day 6 and I am still draining. I did notice that with the sinus pressure my ear had stopped popping & feeling cold. On the decongestant the popping started up again & I feel the coolness in the middle ear again. I concluded that the build up of pressure was keeping everything unnaturally tight. I see the surgeon on Feb 8th and I hope more than even I expected that it will be good news.
    My surgeon was referred to me from my specialist as the only guy in the city who would touch my ear. He ended up being very happy with how the surgery went but he was adamant with my post op care. NO lifting, bending, quickness of movement, sneezing, blowing, no cold temperatures, wind, water & limited contact with people, basic bed rest is the name of the game for 2 weeks post op. Short term disability was advised. Holy its harder than I expected especially the further along I go.
    Friends in the medical field seem to try & discount his instructions. That does not help my mindset!! I’m being stubbornly resolute with my care & following my instuctions completely. Don’t you love how docs in another dicipline know nothing about other specialties, UNTIL you had something done?? What the heck is up with that? I do not like having to justify my bed rest ‘prescripition’, but its my success that is on the line. Venting here, but I am sure I am not the first one to feel this way.
    This blog has been awesome & I don’t know if I would have caught my sinus issue if I hadn’t been reading all the stories.

    *One tip I was given for hairwashing was on top of the cotton ball with vaseline, cover the ear with Saran wrap. The plastic sticks to the vaseline & it really works well.

    All the best in health :)

    • vijay raghavendran

      Adrienne, I am also your age and my tymponaplasty involved titanium prosthesis insertion. there is also available ear plug to keep water out. I got this two weeks back from my doc and it is better than cotton balls rolled on vaseline. I will find the name and will let you know. I will try saran wrap also.

  • I am still having ear pain. No fluid behind the ear as described by my ENT. Does or did anybody on here have surgery and the eardrum healed perfectly but still had pain and needed surgery again. I am thinking maybe the surgery went wrong even though the eardrum healed. Any help appreciated.

  • Hi,
    Interesting website! I am going in today for my 3 week follow-up after tympanoplasty. Shared a lot of the same experiences as others on this site. I don’t think I was prepared for the follow-up discomfort, though. The packing and the equilibrium problems were not really detailed to me by the materials the surgeon’s office gave me. Hoping that the packing will come out today- at least some of it! I ended up needing motion sickness patches for about 10 days after the surgery. I still could stand to use one, but won’t because it makes me too sleepy and I need to see if my ears will adjust. I have had problems prior to the surgery with equilibrium, and this seems to have aggravated it (possible because of the packing?). I wondered if anyone had lingering sinus pressure type headaches, equilibrium issues and nausea for this long after their surgery? I am pretty stoic and have a fairly high pain tolerance, but this is making me a little crazy! Feels like I am on a ship at sea most of the time. I will be asking the doctor the same thing today, but thought I’d get better first hand information from those here who have gone through this. Best to all-

  • The first week after surgery was the worst for me, I had to lay down every 5 mins to stop the disorientation and nausea. From week 2 I felt much better and was able to drive but never felt 100% fine. There was always a bit of dizziness issues with the packing being in place so until the packing was removed I never really felt on top of things. Any drugs you take can affect the way you feel too so I stopped my pain killers early on as they were good for pain but the side effects were making me feel ill. I don’t recall having sinus pressure type of headaches except in the first week due to the surgery. All of my packing came out at the 3 week appointment but I know I still can’t hear properly due to some of the antibiotic ointment that seems to have stayed in there. Its now been about 6 weeks and I’m feeling ok but just sore where the stitches were and still partially deaf. I have had another follow up appt this week where the Surgeon said he’s happy with my healing progress. In 4 weeks I have a hearing test. My ear drum perforation was listed as ‘very large’.

  • Narelle,

    Thanks for the response; sorry it’s taken a while to get back. The packing coming out definitely provided some relief, just from the discomfort if nothing else. They had to leave about 40% still in and I should have it removed next week. I was prescribed a tablet that was compounded especially for dizziness and it is non-drowsy, so that has helped. When I don’t take it and drive, I usually end up without an appetite or, worse case, nauseated. But I am hopeful that with the rest of the pressure gone when they remove the rest of the packing out, that will improve. Hope this helpful for anyone else who happens onto this site to know that these are possible side effects- but temporary.

  • vijay raghavendran

    My doc told me that I was one of the few unlucky person to be having repeated ear infection. Now, I feel the same that I didn’t come across this blog three years back. i have had around 10+ surgeries in last 35 years. My most recent tymponplasty was yesterday. I have some pain and my hearing is better with packingin there. My ear drum was fine as it was restored last dec. Titanium prostestis has been inserted and I am glad to see the rehab recommendation here, which I am going to seriously follow this time. i did try hearing aid last week and these are so invisible that folks can’t even see it. The last 10 days has been amazing and I am hoping that my post- oper care is sucessful. I am an avid runner and anyone can chip in how long should I wait before playing sports like tennis and running etc.

  • vijay raghavendran

    how is an ear tube insertion different from an ear drum rupture? I have ear tube to ease the pressure or fullness I was feeling. Even though I dont have any fluid inside.

  • I just had my second Tympanoplasty on Wednesday and I am very nervous. The first graph didn’t take and I am trying to be much more careful about post op care, but I am researching and realizing there were so many things my doctor didn’t tell me about. He never mentioned not chewing gum, using straws, or lifting. I know that may seem like common sense, but to me he has been very nonchalant and I did think to ask. Upon reading about them on day two I immediately stopped all those activities, but it had me worried about chewing food, bending over or swallowing because when I do those things I can hear and feel pressure in my ear. I’m very scared and afraid this graph won’t take and I would like some advice.

    • Hi Lauren,
      I absolutely know what you are saying. My doc was pretty vague about the post-op care but since it was my third surgery I opted on the side of extreme caution. My drum is still intact after 10 weeks and the doctor is still not willing to call it a success due to the complexity of my case (no drum at all). I was very careful because the post op instructions were not as specific as I thought they should be. I had no visitors due to the risk of colds, at the first sign of allergies I was on decongestants, no bending, no sleeping on that side, no quick motions at all, I live close to the mountains and I wouldn’t even drive into them because of the pressure changes. I didn’t exercise for 6 weeks because of the risk of blood pressure getting to high. Like I said I went above & beyond to care for this delicate little graft. Was it necessary? Who will ever know… I did not want a failure after all I have gone through I would do anything to save this graft. Do your best to give it all the chance of success & then you know if it fails it was beyond your control. I wish we had the ability to check inside every day and see the healing happen I was on pins & needles at every follow up appointment. Every snap, crackle, pop made me question what I did. I called the docs office once & they assured me the sounds were normal. So I guess what Im saying is its normal to be concerned. I was more stressed about follow ups than the surgery. Good luck!

  • Thank you Adrienne. See that just makes me concerned. I wasn’t told about not sleeping on the side of the surgery and nor bending (though I did bend and noticed a change in pressure and have resorted to squatting). I guess that I am trying to be delicate, but I have a full life and am using my body, because I was told it was okay by my doctor. Your right about ever snap, crackle and pop. I guess I just need to let go, know I am doing the best I can, and that I am taking care of myself due to the fact that I am being aware of my body and its needs. Thanks for confirming that the stress is normal. I guess I can only do my best, and if it doesn’t work, I go from there.

  • First off, I wanted to thank Richard for this website and for giving everyone here an opportunity to share our experiences with this surgery. As for my story, it also began with years of ear trouble. I had ear tubes put in many years ago (probably when I was 6?) and I am now 26 years old. The ear tubes in my right ear fell out like they were supposed to, but the one in my left ear never came out. According to my mother, my doctor at that time said the ear tube can stay in my ear since it was not doing any harm. Throughout the years I have had multiple ear infections and I would have times where I had this odd yellowish pus come out of my left ear. A few months ago I made the decision that I want to serve my country and join the Air Force. After talking to my recruiter I learned that I need to get my ear tube out before they will allow me to go to MEPS (Miiltary Entrance Processing Station)and process in. So I went to my ENT doctor and he noticed that ear tube in my ear and said that since it has been in my ear for many years it has caused a large perforation in my ear. My Dr. tried to get the ear tube out with tweezers but it was wedged in there becaues of scarring from the ear drum around the tube. He said that I would need to get surgery done to get it removed, he also mentioned tympanoplasty to fix that perforated ear drum.

    April 5th was when I had my surgery done. I had a Type 1 Tympanoplasty. The surgery was done through my ear canal and they did not need to cut my ear at all, which was a relief. I forget what kind of graft they used, they did not need to take any part of my skin. The surgery itself was not bad, 2 hrs long. When I woke up felt very naseuous and my throat was very sore beacuse of the tube. The pain did not kick in till 2days after the surgery. I have been taking pain meds and antibiotics. I have a follow up appointment April 27th, which seems like forever from now After reading the posts on here I feel better that I am not alone in feeling paranoid in my everday experiences. I freak out when I accidently yawn or bend over, I will catch myself midway and stop and spend alot of time worrying if I just screwed everything up. Im glad I read this blog because I did not know I should avoid chewing gum or drinking through a straw. Makes sense though.

    I really want this to work out. If I want to join the Air Force I have to be shipped out to basic before I turn 28 (September 16th of 2013). It would be great if this surgery worked the first time through. If all goes well I can start my processing into the Air Force 120 days after my surgery which will be around August 5th. Hopefully my ear drum will be fully healed, since a perforated ear drum will disqualify me from the Air Force. I have been thinking about joining the military for a long time, and as of a few months ago I decided I wanted to go for it. I guess in a way, if it was not for deciding to try to join I would of never of found out that I medically needed this surgery. I will keep you guys updates on my recovery process and hopefully my journey in joining the Air Force!


  • Thanks so much for this website! There were so many questions going through my mind – I did ask the doctor but he said everybody heals different. I had my surgery 4/16/12 and the doctor is really great and did ask if I had any questions but I didn’t know what to expect so how could I ask the right questions. By reading this blog, I now have some questions that I will ask tomorrow: Can I use a straw?, Should my ear feel like a plastic toy?, When is the pain going to stop?, I took off 2 weeks disability but is this enough?, Why are some people saying their doctors gave them ear drops – I don’t have them and are they needed?

  • Hi Fran-

    I’ve had 2 tymps in the last 4 years. To answer your questions: No, I wouldn’t use a straw. Yes, your ear will feel like plastic (or tingly or numb) for quite a while. My last tymp was in Dec ’10 and my ear is just returning to normal. The pain may take a little while as everything settles back into place and heals. (Weeks, longer possibly.) I personally would advise more time off…you really do want to give this your best shot! Ear drops are usually given to dissolve packing in your ear and to keep it clean. Do you have packing inside?

    Please excuse my brevity as I’m writing on my pone!


    • Thank you for your reply! I appreciate all the notes that have posted because it does calm my fears and concerns to know others are experiencing the same issues. I don’t know what type of packing the doctore used, guess I should have asked more questions. I see the doctor on 5/1 so hopefully I will be prepared to ask some valid questions from the feedback that I’ve received from others.

  • I had my op 12 January 2012. 2-3 weeks later my packing and stitches were taken out by the hospital staff. Here are some tips you might find useful.

    I was not advised that you can’t drink through a straw, in fact immediately after the op they gave me a water bottle with a straw! I questioned the nurse and they said they hadn’t heard that I can’t use a straw but I refused to use it as any ‘sucking’ type action did feel like it had impact on my ear drum. So I didn’t use a straw.

    I did not commence active sports like running incase it misplaced the ear drum graft for 2 months. I just walked briskly and did whatever low risk jobs that kept my head fairly straight. I wouldn’t do heavy lifting or any straining. I did blow my nose within the first two weeks but it was light blowing and had no impact. Do not do vigorous blowing of the nose. You need to sneeze open mouthed!

    They advise you not to sleep on the ear, and you will find that it feels under pressure and painful if you do anyway. So where possible, persevere and sleep on the ‘good’ side, it’s only for the first few weeks. No harm had come from me accidently turning in my sleep though!

    I had packing in my ear which was dripping with antibiotic oil. This will drip for the first couple of weeks, sometimes appearing as red as blood (due to mixing with blood). When the packing comes out, you may still have hearing issues as some oil residue is still stuck to the ear drum. This comes out after 3-4 months and hearing slowly improves. My hearing in that ear will only come back to 70 percent all up, as the hole in my ear was very large, but for me it’s better than getting a hearing aid. I can now hear normal and deeper sounds better than pre-op, but still have poor hearing of hi-pitched sounds unless it is at a reasonable volume. I can live with that. I can also determine which direction sounds are coming from much better than pre-op.

    The number one most important thing is DON’T get the ear wet. This will certainly affect the healing. I was careful to place a thick facewasher over my ear, keep my head sideways, and use a hand held shower hose to wash my hair so I can direct the water away from my ear. Don’t go swimming. This rule should be in place for 16 weeks following your operation. Give yourself the best chance and avoid all water/oil/drops in the ear unless your dr gave the drops to you. And as much as you feel the desire to poke your ear canal with something to stop the itching and to scrape out ‘residue’ – Dont to it!!! Leave the ear alone.

    My ear felt numb (and still does after 5 months)where the nylon stitches have been on the front outer lobe. Yes, it can feel like a plastic toy as Fran described. I even found bits of plastic inside the scar which I pulled out weeks later with tweezers.

    I had about 10-14 days off work and still could have done with more, (mainly due to feeling tired) as the stitches were causing pain more than the inner ear. However, I did not need strong pain killers after week 1. I was able to work well with babies and toddlers and lift them up, but as long as they didn’t touch my ear. Also my hair didn’t look too lovely as it was shaven behind the ear and I had it up in a pony tail! Depends on what job you do will determine when to go back to work. Heavy lifting – no I wouldn’t risk it for a month I think, but everyone is different, maybe you had a smaller graft or different op and your’s feels ok..but remember this is your ear, one of your important senses and since you went through the pain and trouble of having the op, give yourself a few months to not do anything too risky or strenous.

    • Narelle,

      Thank you for leaving this comment! It’s thoughtful and comprehensive, and with your permission, I’d love to feature it with its own post about recovery. Let me know! :)

      • Sure, please let everyone know my experiences and it could give them some idea what to expect. Also for the first week I can recall the jaw being sore and hard to open up fully to eat with, I was afraid to eat anything hard in case it dislodged the newly-placed graft through chewing actions. Also, the packing in my ear made all sorts of ‘snap, crackle & pop’ sounds whilst in place and I even heard popping sounds for a week or two after it’s removal. Other sounds where whistling etc but 4 months later, I do not have a problem with pain or noises in that ear. :-)

  • Hi..I have just had a tympanoplasty done 3 days ago and im experiencing sounds in my ear that are starting to freak me out. im hearing a pulsing heartbeat sound and a slight ringing. Did you hear these? do they go away? please put my mind at ease! thanks..

    • Please read the entire blog because you will feel better that others too have experienced these conditions. The notes that my doctor gave me did explain the ringing in the ears might happen. I didn’t experience the pulsing heartbeat sound but there was so much packing in my ear that I didn’t hear anything. It’s been 3 weeks since my operation and it has helped reading this blog to calm my fears. Keep on reading and you will feel better!

  • Tammy , You are going great so far ..I believe it is normal as I had experienced same after Post OP. Get well soon ..cheers ..

  • Oh my god you dont know how happy I am to hear that as I have been sitting up crying since I got it done cos im scared im gonna be left like this,so it’s completely normal? Also my voice is very loud to me is that normal too? When did the noises go for you? I dont have to see my ent for another 2 week’s and that seems ages away. Really scared that im gonna be left like this. Im a maid of honour at my friends wedding in august,should everything be ok by then? I know im.asking alot of questions just really need reassurance! Thank you…

  • Its been three months since my surgery and I still have not been told its been a success. I was at the surgeons last week and I was told to go back on ciprodex for a week because the graft is still red and inflamed at the centre. I had a completely new drum built with fascia. I was told the healing would take a long time and as of now I have at least 3 more months. What I learned from this is the size of the graft matters!! Due to the extent of the graft I have constant draining which is not good because the graft needs to be dry to thin out and improve your hearing. So after my 7 days on ciprodex I will resume blow drying my ear, yes you read it right I blow dry my ear 2x a day for one minute on low as per the docs instructions. I have only a small hearing improvement to date but as the graft thins this will increase.
    Listen to your doctor because every graft is different. My graft was held in place only by scabbing then scar tissue and surface tension. My hammer bone was scored to allow fusing of the fascia with the bone.

    Tammy I completely understand the adjustments you are going through and I believe you will be back to normal for August. I was surprised and how loud my husband talked & how much volume the tv had! You will adjust to the sounds faster than you think. Rest & let your body heal itself. Good luck. :)

  • I’m really sorry to hear that Adrienne.. i would of thought by that time your graft would of healed. Hope it all works out ok for you. Id say its a real pain having to blow dry your ear twice a day. Thank you your quick response as Im really worried that im gonna hear these noises forever and my voice is really loud. I have rang my ent and he says that everything i am hearing is normal..so im trying not to worry and let it heal. any advice anyone can give me will be deeply appreciated. :)

    • I doubt you’ll be hearing noises forever. I thought the same during my healing time but now I’m fine. I don’t recall my voice being loud or other sounds being too loud but I do remember noises and ringing in the ear and thought I’m stuck with it forever as a side effect of the operation. But if you take good care of the ear and don’t get it wet, it heals normally and eventually the sounds go. I’m around the 4 month mark since my op and all those strange sounds have gone. I only noticed them come back when I decided to try snorkelling and a whole heap of water got in my ear. Once it was dried out by the end of the day it is fine and back to normal. Normal hair washing doesn’t affect it, its only if I fill my whole ear with water such as when going under water! Strange..I did actually consider blow drying it but didn’t need to!

  • How long is it normal for your ear to ring after the surgery? I just had my second tympanoplasty and its the second week and my ear is still ringing two weeks after the surgery so I was just wondering if this is normal.

    • Yes i think this is normal. I had ringing and whistling in my ear for months but from the time they said I’m fine and healing well (and that I can now get my ears wet – about 16 weeks after the op) I no longer hear ringing or other noises. Give it time..

      • You said that your doctors advised you to not lay on the ear you had surgery on? My doctor never told me not to lay on my bad ear. Its been 2 weeks since my surgery and ive laid on my bad ear a few times since then. Do you think that will be a problem? Do you think listening to music can have a negative affect on the healing process? Im not talking about headphones as i don’t know if ill ever feel comfortable wearing head phones ever again I just mean like in the car and at home. I was driving home yesterday from my 2 week visit and i noticed i was hearing a little better after having some of the packing removed but i was also very tired and too keep myself awake driving home(my doctor is 2 1/2 hours from where i live) i had the music louder than i normally would. Now it feels like my hearing as regressed a little bit. Since this healing process is such a fragile one every little thing I do makes me paranoid. I really appreciate you taking the time to message me back.

        • Laying on your bad ear a few times will probably not damage it. I got told to ‘try not to lay on that side’ but I did it a few times and nothing bad happened. I didn’t lay on it for long as it was too uncomfortable to do so anyway. Listening to music is fine as long as you are not standing in front of the loudspeakers at a rock concert or something! At home or in the car is fine. I’m sure your ear needs some quiet times to heal but I use headphones that you stick inside yr ear and that’s fine too but overall, don’t worry about loud sounds. If you are listening to music that hurts your ears, then obviously its too loud. If the music is loud enough to keep you awake while driving but is not pumping so loud that the car has a vibration to the beat, you’ll be fine!! . You will be tired as lots of your energy is going towards healing up. I was tired for the first 3-4 weeks but you should have normal energy back after that. I was paranoid to no end as well because this is our delicate ears and we rely on them as one of our main senses. But just relax and you will be fine. I think the main concern is not to get water in the ear for at least the first 3 months, but my surgeon didn’t let me get water in my ear for 4 months (washing hair, swimming etc). (Sorry for late reply)… I’m sure you are taking good care of it so don’t panic x

          • I did get a rain drop in it a couple days ago :/. Besides that I haven’t got any water in it.

  • Hi Tammy,
    I had my surgery in 2010, but I remember going through the very loud noise issue for about a month or two. Even my own voice sounded very high. It felt like everyone was talking right on top of my head. Listening to music at a normal level also was loud. But eventually, everything went back to normal. So, what you are feeling is pretty normal. Take care.

  • Thank you everybody for the advice and reassurance! Im really happy to hear that what im experiencing is normal. Its alright for the ent to say it..he probley hasnt gone through it! just wanted people that had actually got it done to tell me that everything is normal. I have been really worried ever since i got it done. Do you think the loud noises and that your own voice is loud is because of the packing? cos my hubby keeps saying that if he plugs one of his ears..then he can hear his own voice in his ear really loudly. Just his way of trying to reassure me evrything will be ok after I get the packing out. Is it better when the packings out?

  • Its a weird thing. If you cover both your ears with your hands and talk, you do tend hear your own voice louder, or in a different way.

    When packing was in my ear, I could hear my own voice ok but I had trouble pronouncing some words properly, I suppose it was kind of like when a deaf person with a hearing aid can hear you but they still can not pronounce their words as clearly as the rest of us.

  • Hi Tammy,
    For me, I will say both yes and no. The loud noises and hearing my own voice was loud with the packing and even after the packing was taken out. It’s been a while, but I think the noise remained there for at least a month or more.

  • Thank you Narelle and Tasha for your responses! Hopefully when i get the packing out ill feel much better. Cant wait for that! I feel myself thinking I wish I didnt get it done. I suppose everyone had felt like that at one point because your not expecting to feel and hear the things that you do. Im relieved to know that it will all come back normal soon! Tasho..just a little question for you.. when you heard your voice loud in your ear..did it kind of make a crackling buzzing sound with the vibrations of your voice? Just starting experiencing that now. Everyday theres something new!!!

  • Sorry..typo..meant to write..Tasha, a little question for you!

  • I have to say, for the first week I wished I didn’t have the op but thats because of the pain, packing, noises, inconvenience but now I am happy to have done now that I am healed.

  • yeah..i immediately felt like that! that I regretted getting it done but im hopeful and optimistic that everything will be alright after speaking to all of yous. i thank yous all..and I thank Ricky for setting up this site as it has been a god send to me in my time of need.

  • just got some news from the doctor that did the surgery. he said that if im that worried bout the things im experiencing that he will see me tomorrow. so glad that ill get to see him. I think I was ringing his office to much, he must of thought, this one is not going away till I see her. lol. So glad my persistence paid off. I keep yous posted on how I get on. :)

  • Hi Tammy,
    Yes, I did hear crackling and buzzing sounds with the vibrations of my voice? I believe the whole packing does not come out after they remove it. Some of them melts away. I think that’s what causes the crackling, when it is clearing up. Take care.

  • Well..I went to the docs today! I had a list of questions written out for him and he read through them one by one and answered them one by one. Everything of what I am experiencing is completely normal. The noises(crackling,buzzing,pulsing,popping and ringing)the loud voice when I talk, everybody been very loud, the muffled hearing(that’s an obvious one cos of the packing. They will all go away when I get packing out. Except for the loud noise when I talk because there is still packing behind my eardrum that has to dissolve on its own so ill still experience that till it does. So relieved that my questions were answered and that everything that I am experiencing is normal. I know yous all said that they were but its nice to hear it from the doc. Have to go back on Tuesday to get stitches removed and I think I have to get the packing removed then aswel. We will see! :)

    • Hi Tammy. Just had similiar surgery as yours.Prior to taking out the packing, when i scratch near the operated ear, I could hear the noise being louder than my other ear. Was very excited and thought this is working. After packing was removed within 2 wks, the first 2 days i was hearing so much better than before went in for surgery. After 2 days my hearing has gone down and it feels like the packing behind the ear drum that doc left it in there is the cause for this hearing going down. I am still hearing whistling sound in my ear. In the beginning was the heartbeat sound and that went away. My question is when can i expect to hear better again? The packing behind the eardrum, when is that going to be disolved? Would I hear better again once that is gone? I am no due to be back for a follow up for another 5 wks. This is my 3rd time having this procedure and this time which is 30 yrs later is so different that the last time. One for thing, the sound that I am hearing in my ear, does this goes away and about how long? Thanks for respond in advance.

  • Im also experiencing some echo sounds of music etc when it comes to a high part of a song..it sounds like its coming from behind the packing..like a little squeak. Did anyone else experience this? Is it a good sign that Im hearing it? This operation just puts some amount of panic in you its unreal. Never thought Id feel as panicky as this!

  • I had surgery 11 days ago. I wish I would of found this page a long time ago. I had my surgery on Friday and the surgeon said I should be able to go back to work on Monday. I felt horrible for several days and ended up taking a whole week off of work. The anasthesia left me tired and week for several days, which led to a full blown panic attack because i kept thinking something must be wrong with me because I was still not feeling “normal”. Finally about 7 days after surgery I began to feel better. I have had the pulsating in my ear, ringing,pain in my jaw, my voice sounds really loud to me, and now my ear is ITCHING horribly. I’m hoping that is just the healing process. I go back to the surgeon in 9 days, I hope all goes well as I have 3 more surgeries coming up. While the surgeon was operating he found cyst behind both eardrums which will need to be removed later and I will be having a tube placed in the ear I just had surgery in. Thanks to everyone for telling their story. It really helps to know things are going “normal'”

  • So.. I went back to the doctors today to get packing and stitches removed. Felt instant relief when he removed the packing. Its so unreal how uncomfortable the packing was making me. The pulsing noises isnt as high as what it was. I still have the loud voice in my ear when I talk cos there is still some packing left in there, behind the eardrum that has to disslove on its own. He had a look at the graft and im pleased to say that it is healing very very well. He seems very pleased with it. Packing wont dissolve for another month..but at least im seeing some improvement in my situation. Feel very happy! Thank you all agian for your advice. it was greatly appreciated and ill keep yous posted on my recovery. :) x

  • Hi Lori

    I’m just right behind you.. I had my op 11 days ago. The operation just set a panic button in me that I could not turn off. i thought everything i was experiencing was not normal and that something was wrong. I annoyed my doc something shocking! Everything on your list.. I had..and I still do have some of them. still have the pulsing, but its not as noticeable since I got the packing out yesterday and my voice is still loud in my operated ear as there’s still some packing left in there that has to dissolve. When something is stuck in your ear your voice will sound loud in your head. Do you still have the pulsing and the loud voice? Did you get the 1st bit of packing removed yet? you will feel so much better after that’s removed. the best of luck in your other 3 surgeries, hope recovery will be fast and painless for you.


    • Tammy,
      No I haven’t had any packing removed. I don’t go back to the surgeon until the 17th (3 weeks after my surgery). Yes I still have the pulsating and loud voice but I’m assuming it’s from the packing. I am a stay at home mom of four and run a daycare out of my home. Yesterday after all the daycare kids left I had to go and lay down for a few minutes because my ear was pulsating and felt like an ear ache. I assume it’s from the noise level or from bending over, picking up kids,etc. Counting down the days (8more to go) until I go back to the surgeon. Praying all is healing well, and wanting to know details on my next surgeries. Not sure how long I have to wait in between surgeries and if my recovery on my next surgeries will be longer. Did your surgeon do your surgery through your ear (mine did) or did he cut behind your ear to do your surgery? I know the next surgeries will require him cutting through the back of my ear and stitches so I’m afraid the recovery may be a little more intense. And does anyone have any unique ideas for washing your hair? Sounds silly but when I had my surgery I had a tube put in the other ear and so I can’t get either ear wet. Bless my husbands heart he has been holding wash clothes over my ears while I wash my hair in the sink, but just wandering if anyone else has any pointers. Thanks

      • My surgery was a cut behind my ear with stitches on 4/16/12 and sometimes the itching is so intense I have to hold down my hands so I don’t scratch! I had some of the packing taken out on 5/1 and what a relief – I can hear now, the “under water” sound is gone – and the doctor will remove more packing on 5/24 so I’m expecting even more success.
        I am lucky that I have a great husband that washed my hair after the seven days of not being allowed to wash my hair. We were told to use a cotton ball in the ear and cover it with a LOT of vaseline. I don’t like using the vaseline because it gets all over my hair even though he is very careful. I used a little Dawn dish detergent on a wash cloth to remove the vaseline and it makes it better. My husband also did research on “dry” shampoo and bought some for me to try – The scalp felt cleaner and smelled good but it really doesn’t look clean. Well after seeing the doctor 5/1 he said I could try washing my in the shower as long as I use the cotton ball with vaseline. What a task! I have struggled to live with dirty hair and use the shower method to wash my hair every other day. My husband has offered to continue to wash my hair but he is too gentle and doesn’t want to hurt me and spends the whole time saying he’s sorry for hurting me. I sure look forward to not using the cotton ball and vaseline!

  • Hi Lori

    Yeah my surgeon went through my ear canal. For the 1st week the pain was unreal. I was crying every night because of the whole thing..the stress, the worry, the symptoms..everything. But it does get easier. You’ll feel relief when the packing comes out. Its funny that your packing isn’t coming out till you are 3 weeks post op but I got my packing out yesterday – 10 days after my op. Just depends on the surgeon I suppose. Do you have dis solvable packing in aswel or will all the packing be removed at your next appointment? yeah the pulsing noise can be very intense especially when your been active. It almost feels like the whole ear is throbbing, but for the most part it is the packing that is making you feel so uncomfortable with it. The pulsing noise is still there when 1st bit of packing is removed..but not as loud. Kind of in the distance and because I still have some packing in my ear, I don’t think it will go away till that dissolves. Other people have said that they put cotton wool in the ear smothered in Vaseline when they are washing their hair. You can also go to the chemist and see have they got special caps or bandages etc to stop water going into the ears. Up till now..ive just done what you are doing. getting someone to hold a cloth over my ear tightly. The most important thing is not to get the ear wet. Its a major pain whilst showering etc but it will be worth it in the end. I pray that your other ops go well cos it is just awful to have something wrong with your ears.


  • If he went through your ear canal where did you have stitches?

  • And has anybody had headaches? I’m not sure if it’s because of my ears but I’ve had to take tylenol for headaches for the past 3-4 days.

    • The headaches are your bodies way of telling you to slow down! When I didn’t want to take any more medicine I was experiencing the most intense headaches but I started to write down what I was doing when I got the headache and found I was overdoing everything and my body wasn’t happy. When I started to feel the pulsing in my ear, this always seemed to be the start of the headache, I would stop what I was doing and take a break until the pulsing went away and I haven’t had to take any medicine since 5/2/12 which is 7 days! I hate taking medicine so I listen to my body and slow down. The doctor said this is normal and my body needs all my energy to heal.

      • Thanks for the information Fran. I think your right about the headaches being from to much activity. I don’t like to take meds either. I only took 1/2 a pain pill the night I got home from my surgery (because the pharmacist told my husband to make sure I took one) and never took anymore. I don’t like the way they make me feel. I will keep you posted on my upcoming appointment on the 17th and any information I recieve about my next surgeries. Has anyone else been told they have a cyst behind their ear drum(cholesteatoma)which requires another type of surgery?

  • I’ve posted some concerns and questions but not my experience. I read some of the older post and someone asked if they should have this surgery and even with some bad experience I would have to say yes. It’s only because I had this surgery that my surgeon found the cyst behind my ear drums (cholestoma) which will require more surgeries but could have bad consequences if not removed. I’ve always had earaches and infections, ever since I can remember. My eardrums have ruptured several times due to the infections and I had a perforated and retracted eardrum. I’m 37 and have never had any type of surgery so I didn’t know what to expect. I had my surgery on Friday and my surgeon said I should be able to go back to work on Monday. I faste before I went in for out patient surgery,registerd, got on my pretty hospital gown, an IV, a little something to calm my nerves, wheeled into the OR and out I went. Pretty easy so far, but when I woke up I remember my arms and legs feeling heavy. It was several days before the anesthesia left my body. The antibiotics the Dr. perscribed made me nauseas, diarrhea, and stomach pains. Not sure wether this is how I was suppose to feel I called the Dr. who told me to stop antibitics and take a probiotic, and that my symptoms were normal. By Wed. I had a full blown panic attack and swore to my husband I wasn’t having anymore surgeries. Although I wasn’t in much pain (I only took tylenol)and I wasn’t dizzy I felt wierd. Because my ear was packed my whole perception was off. Things sounded different, my voice was loud in my head, my ear was pulsating, I had pain in my jaw, I could only open my mouth so far the first several days and I was still weak and tired. I don’t say this to scare anyone, because looking back it wasn’t so bad, I just didn’t know what to expect. I found this website a few days ago and what a relief to hear your stories and to realize that what I was experincing was normal. As of today 12 days post op, I still have the pulsating in my ear, I’ve been getting headaches and my jaw still hurts every now and then. I ended up taking one week off and resumed work this week. I do daycare in my home and have 3-5 kids a day. I noticed most people took more time off and I wonder if I have given myself enough time to recover. I go back for my follow up on the 17th and will keep you posted. Thanks for all your post, concerns, and answers to my questions. God Bless and good night. Lori

  • Hi Lori

    I had my stitches in the little bump of skin on your ear just right beside your sideburns. Thats where he took the graft to fill my eardrum. Where is your stitches?

  • I don’t have any stiches my surgeon used a patch.

  • Just depends on the surgeon I suppose!! I have to go back for a follow up appointment in a months time. By then the remaining packing should be dissolved. Do you have that kind of packing? Again Ill say you’ll feel so much better when the packing is removed. I can hear some improvement in my hearing already. :)

  • Well I just returned from 3 week post op appointment with the surgeon. All is healing well. He said the remainder of the packing will dissolve on it’s own with in the next 2 months. My next surgery to remove the cyst behind my ear will be on July 24th. Thanks to everyon for their support during my recovery! If anyone has had a cholesteatoma removed I would love to hear how your surgery went and what to expect on my next surgery.
    Thanks again, Lori

  • Glad to hear everything is healing Lori. Its a relief when the packing is removed, isn’t it?

    Just a question to anyone, I’m 3 weeks post op and I sneezed. How do you know if you’ve done anything to your graft? I don’t feel any pain or anything..would that mean that the graft is still intact? Any advice would be appreciated. :)

  • The graft is probably still intact if it doesn’t feel any different than normal after sneezing. I sneezed a few times too but it did not damage the graft. They do advise you to sneeze with your mouth open though which I think I tried to do, but 3 weeks post op you will most likely be ok.

  • Tammy
    My doctor didn’t remove any packing just said it would dissolve on it’s own, and I can already tell that some has dissolved because I don’t feel as much pressure. I know last week my allergies were bad and I sneezed several times. This did not effect my graft and the surgeon said my graft was healing fine. Just make sure if you have to sneeze, don’t hold it in and do it with your mouth open. I’m sure you are probably fine. The doctor has okayed me to gently blow my nose. So I would said you are probably okay at 3 weeks post op.

  • Hello everyone! I am just updating everyone on my recovery progress. I had a Type I Tympanoplasty on my left ear on April 5th, in which they had to remove an ear tube and fix a perforated ear drum. The perforation turned out to be 25%. The first 2 weeks were rough because I could not hear. During my 3 week post-op check up my doctor did not take the packing out because he said he knew another doctor who tried to take all of the packing out, but ended up taking the graft out with the packing (yikes!). So he assured me that the ear was not infected, but could not tell if the graft took because of all the packing. At this time he perscribed me ear drops to help dissolve the packing and keep the ear clean. 2 weeks after that I saw my doctor again and he said that the graft took and there is no perforation!!! I was worried because I have sneezed ALOT during the first month and a half. I made sure that I sneezed with my mouth opened everytime. Luckily, this did not ruin the graft. Hopefully this will bring some comfort to people are worried about ruining the graft because of sneezing. July I will have another checkup as well as a hearing test. I feel that I can already hear better than I did before the surgery.

  • Hi Tom, good to hear your ear is healing well. I can recall my imagination running wild that the packing in my ear was going to be ‘stuck’ to the graft (because the packing had been there for 2.5 weeks and was ‘dried’ on the outside) So when the surgeon was about to pull it out with tweezers, I expressed my fear about the graft coming out with it, but she assured me it will be fine. Sure enough, just the packing came out and all was well. (I don’t think any part of it was actually anywhere near my graft at all).

  • My son (age 11) had surgery 5/2. We went back to the doctor and while the large hole is gone, she still sees a little one. She said it might still heal. We were so careful, thouggh I think my son had one bad sneeze in the first week. The doctor gave me too little instructions.
    HAs anyone had any experience of this or is this now a failure.

    • I had three tympanoplastys when I was younger, two of the resulted in a very tiny, persistent hole. The third the graft was a complete failure. I just had my fourth tympanoplasty on 5/7 with one of the best ENTs in the country. He told me the reason why my previous ones failed was due to the positioning of the perforation. The past 4 1/2 weeks have been HELL just because of my anxiety. The first 2 weeks or so I felt like I slept all the time, miserable not wanting to do anything. I couldn’t open my mouth that much, and my jaw was in exruciating pain! It drove me nuts, I was taking my prescribed hydrocodone for my jaw more than the ear pain which was very mild and only lasted a week. Around the 3rd week I was finally feeling myself again. The outer packing came out on its own in the around the ~2nd week and the rest has been dissolving due to ear drops I use twice a day as prescribed from the doctor. My follow up is next week to have the rest of the packing removed and I’ll finally find out if the surgery was successful or not.

  • Does it hurt to blow out your graft after surgery? For example if I were to lift something heavy and “blow” out my new eardrum would that hurt?

  • Hi, it has been 8 days since my tympanoplasty. The first couple of days I had pretty severe pain with some discharge and then it stopped for a couple of days. This morning I woke up with bloody discharge around my ear. I did exert a little force yesterdy and picked something heavy up yesterday. However I did not feel any pain. Why else would my ear be bleeding again though?

  • I had a my tympanoplasty almost 3 weeks ago. I had my 1 week check up and the Dr. said it looked “perfect.” Recently though I’ve been having some throbbing pain. No discharge or changes in hearing. Wanted to know if anyone else had this or if it’s normal? Thank You!

  • HEllo ricky

    My husband had a surgery 3 months ago and most of the time he complain of pain in his ear he work a job like he has to run 16 hours he works 5 days ie 5days he run for 16hrs and we r worried about he has a long appointment with the doc, the other thing when we ve sex he feel pain we r relly confused they told him not to ve sex for some times but not specified If anyone ve this kind of expericance ps thx a lot

  • Well I had my second surgery two days ago. My first surgery was through my ear canal but this time the surgeon cut behind my ear. Removed a cyst repaired my eardrum, canal, and mastoid. My jaw jooint hurts, my ear, jaw, and tongue are numb. The pulsating in my ear is non stop. The surgeon said my stitches were disolvable does anyone know how long that takes? And how long wil this numbness and metal taste in my mouth last?

    • did it heal?
      I had the same operation like you a week ago.
      same feelings of numbness in my upper ear and pulsing.
      and the metal taste
      I have those stiches behind my ear too.
      im worried about it

  • Okay….an embarassing question. I had Tympanoplasty one week ago and did not realize that a side effect of the pain medication was constipation. While trying to “go” heard a hissing sound and a very loud pop in my ear. Now there is a echo type feeling in my ear and some pain. Saw ENT and he said no way of knowing if graft was impacted or not and will have to wait for one month follow up appointment to try and get a look at the graft. Anyone have a similar experience? I have the snapping, popping, crackling in my ear, along with severe ringing. Just worried I screwed it up. This was my second surgery (Fat Graft Myrngoplasty in Dec ’11 that worked at first and then at 6 month appointment ENT said the tissue had died and had to upgrade to Tympanoplasty). Just worried I screwed it up. Anyone have any ideas of what it feels like when the graft fails or gets dislodged?

  • My eardrum was like 80% damaged and I had my ( Right) Tympanoplasty done yesterday and now I am in bed and off for two weeks. I came across your blog because I was worried about the pulse heartbeat or like there is some sort of liquid that popping in my ear. Through your blog I learned that probably it was the gelfoam dissolvable packings. Though it’s still plugged and muffled, I tried to call someone using my right ear and boy so glad that I can hear the ringing and the voice on the other hand. Ateast there is an improvements right away. Though just still worry that I might screw it up if i accidentally sneeze or blow my nose. Though they told that I have to take some “softener” because any medication is constipating and If i want to sneeze doit it with mouth open wide…boy that hard :) Thank you again for your blog info.

  • My eardrum was like 80% damaged and I had my Tympanoplasty (right) done yesterday. Now I am in bed and off from work for 2-3 weeks, I came across your blog because I was trying to figure out what’s that pulse heartbeat or like there is some sort of popping in my ear. Though your blog, I learned that probably it was a the gelfoam dissolvable packing, well my doctor never told me. Although my hearing is plugged/muffles, I tried calling someone using the right ear and boy I am so glad that I can ringing and voice on the other line. At least there is an improvements right away. Though still worry that I might screw up if I accidentally sneeze or blow my nose. Though they told me to take some “softener” because any medication is constipating and If I want to sneeze make sure my mouth is wide open…imagine that! That’s hard though :)

    • I’ve had two surgeries on my right ear and another one schedule in Nov for my left ear. The noises you hear are annoying but be assured it is normal. My surgeon never removed my packing and let it dissolve on its own and it can take a couple of months. The plugged/muffle feeling will slowing go away. DO NOT get your ear wet, I am two months out from my last surgery and still can’t get it wet. If you get it wet you can mess up the graft. As an allergy suffer I did have after surgery, don’t hold it in just open your mouth and sneeze. Kinda gross and loud but better than an unsuccessful surgery and try not to blow your nose. Hope you’re healing process is a smooth one just remember it takes time and be patient.

  • You will hear all sorts of noises from whistling, popping, crackling, ringing…it goes away when ear heals up .. Just dont get it wet for months!

  • Hello all!

    Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories and to Ricky for keeping the blog running after a couple of years. It is very helpful to read others’ experience with their surgeries. I am now 10 days postop (surgery was on 10/11/12) from a mastoidectomy w/a cartilage graft tympanoplasty and bilateral eartubes. I suffered from a retracted eardrum from a rupture in July 2012. I simply got a bad cold virus and it was bad enough to rupture my eardrum. I had two sets of tubes as a kiddo – but other than that, I did not know my ears were at risk or that I had eustachian tube dysfunction.

    I am officially in panic mode because today I started to feel and hear different sensations than I have since surgery. My doctor already removed what appeared to be some cotton packing last week, and he indicated that there was the additional dissolvable packing still left. I am currently using Ciprodex ear drops daily to help with dissolving the packing and preventing infection. I have been somewhat conservative with my activity, but I went back to work on 10/17/12, and have resumed my typical daily activities at home…taking the dogs out, cleaning house, etc. I have not had any issues with eating, but have taken care not to have anything super crunchy or tough to chew. I have taken care with my two sneezes. :) However, I have yawned quite a bit w/o any thought, really. I am feeling what I think is my actual eardrum popping. I am experiencing the voice echo (my own) sound in my ear, along with popping every single time I speak or swallow. I am starting to worry that I may have done something to disturb the graft! Has anyone experienced constant popping (not crackling like the packing seems to sound) with speaking or swallowing? There is also some new pressure which is somewhat uncomfortable. I am hoping that everything is okay, and that it could be the eartube equalizing things – but I am very nervous! I don’t think I have done anything too strenuous, but I have not forced myself to be on bedrest, either. In fact, my surgeon’s post op instructions were really only related to minimizing any sneezing and no blowing of the nose.

    If anyone has any thoughts, I would greatly appreciate some reassurance!

    • I’ve had two surgerys so far, left ear 4/16/12 and right ear 10/15/12, and both were so different. I’ve experienced pain, popping/echoing sounds, metal taste when I eat, dizziness, throwing up, etc. but my left ear now has normal hearing and can get it wet and my right ear is finally starting to feel better. I know everything will be okay. My advice is not to push yourself too much and NEVER get water in your ear.

      I heard so many comments, such as don’t yawn, use a straw, blowing your nose, etc and I would call my doctor to ask if it was true. Yes you can yawn, use a straw, sneeze as long as you keep your mouth open, no you can’t blow your nose until he says so.

      My doctor also vacuums out the packing and I use the Ciprodex between visits (I go once month). My left ear surgery was 4/16 and by the end of July I was able to get my ear wet. Hopefully, I should be able to get my right ear wet by January.

      Good Luck!

      • I have noticed several individuals have said not to get the ear wet and my daughter’s ENT said not to get it wet. Can someone tell me if it hurts really bad if it does get wet? My daughter, 5 years old, screams when we try to wash her hair and I don’t know if she is in pain or just really scared. Thanks for any feedback.

  • Seems like unsuccessful surgery is always due to lack of care on part of patient. Is the tymp surgery fairly straight foward, or do doctors’ procedures differ? Is it possible to find doctors’ tymp success rates?

    • I think it is more on factors outside of the patients control than in their control.

      If you look up the medical studies online on this surgery it’s pretty random on if the surgery will remain successful even years after. There have been reports of it randomly opening up again anytime due to many different factors.

      I consider this surgery like the lottery except you have to wait 1+ month to even find out if you won and you have no idea how long you are going to be a winner before you have to play the lottery again :)

  • Had my Type I done on 10/9 went for my post op appt last week and doctor looked at my ear.

    He advised me he was unable to tell due to the packing how successful the surgery was at the time.

    He provided me a prescription for drops and scheduled me for a 2nd appt in 6 weeks.

    He advised me not to use the drops until 1 week before my 6 week checkup.

    I am seeing there appears to be quite a lot of differences between doctors.

    My doctor only mentioned no heavy lifting (didn’t provide any weight limit) and to not get water in ear for 6 weeks or fly.

    I see quite a few other doctors mention not to use a straw, not to sneeze with mouth closed, not to blow nose, sniffle to hard, and many other things.

    So far 2 weeks in I managed to get a cold right after my 1st post op appt and ended up also with bad allergies.

    So far I have managed to sneeze 4 times in 2 weeks but with my mouth open each time scares me that I might of made the graft fail.

    I have not tried to blow my nose at all since surgery what I have been doing is just rolling some tissue or toilet paper up sticking it in my nose and slowly pulling it out to clear my nose.

    Seems each doctors suggestions for what to do post op seem to be so different yet the national average of success from what I have seen is 60-90%.

    I tell you though the not knowing if the graft is healed until a month after the surgery is not a fun thing. It just leaves me with worry for a month and pretty depressing not knowing and worrying.

  • Hello everyone,

    Just a short story to setup my recent tympanoplasty results for you. Until 3 years ago I have never experienced an ear infection. Got my first one while in Mexico and it cleared up with one round of antibiotics. Fast forward to the Fall of 2011 and I get another ear infection on one side, probably while in Mexico. Failure to clear it out and waiting to finally see my ENT Doc caused the other ear to get infected. Because my ENT was slow to prescribe some decent antibiotics, it got much worse and my GP demanded that the ENT install some tubes. Immediately after getting those tubes in April/2012, my ears hurt so badly I had a tube removed after only 2 weeks. It was too late, by then, the tympanic membrane had begun to erode, within 5 weeks the other tube was removed due to the terrible pain on that side. As with the first case, the tympanic membrane on that side eroded too (Tubotympanic Disease). And so I was left with, no eardrums, an MRI that showed trauma to the brain and middle ear nerve damage on the outer protective layer.

    On the 22nd of October, 48 hours ago, I received my first of two scheduled Tympanoplasty surgeries. It was scary, painful and necessary as I could barely hear others talking any more. Yesterday was a day of much bleeding, plenty of pain and in general a sick day. Today I feel 100% better, good balance, plenty of pain though but by sticking to the pain medication, I’m on top of the world.

    I thought I would be here for anyone who needed some guidance in this procedure as I’ve been there too and can’t thank the author of this site enough for helping me out with this venue. I read every post, got really nervous, but in the end, understood why people feel the way they do. I can tell you that I’m the lucky one in that my Dad is a surgeon so I could get free advance around the clock from the guy! He set me straight were my Doctors dropped the ball amd made the experience a learning one and not one of fear. I will post to the board with updates and hope others have found this site to help them through a bad time in their lives.

    Best of luck to those involved in all of this.

    • Dave,

      Thanks a lot for posting good to see some recent updates on this. I am really looking forward to hearing how your surgery ends up.

      I am waiting to find out still how mine went for my 8 week checkup to even find out if it was sucessful.

      Each day still is a bunch of worry that maybe just maybe it isn’t going to be successful.

      I have had many surgeries and this is the only one that had me so panicked about if it was going to be successful or if I did something wrong that is now going to cause me harm e.g. sneezing, bending over, using a straw etc

  • Hi Jeremy!

    Looks like we own the board! Sorry to hear you are so concerned about your surgery uptake. I’m two weeks behind you in terms of experience but I must say, I feel really good about the prospects for a full recovery. Here’s why, I received an underlay tympanoplasty from behind the ear. The incision around the ear was dry from the moment I woke up in recovery and it hasn’t changed. The ear canal did bleed the day of the operation and continued to bleed and lose a bit of antibiotics the next day and then it ended. This tells me that the ability of my body to stop and repair is as good as anybody out there. And so the body is doing its job to repair the damage. I can translate this into the internal workings of my surgery, knowing that the graft is also forming well in the first few days and that along with the method used to cover the eardrum opening with new material means that it is already a formidable feature in my ear. I would go so far as to say that there is little that I can do now to disrupt the surgery.

    The Doctor tells you not to use straws, … I was given a cup of water in recovery with a straw, why??, because there is zero resistance in a straw used to draw water. I also was told not to sneeze with my mouth closed although I have heard of others who have done that by accident. Again, if you did everything wrong, right after surgery, shame on you, if you are doing things wrong after the graft has set, you aren’t in trouble here. The reason is in the way they conduct the surgery, it is bullet proof after a few days. The only thing that can spoil the outcome is your body rejecting the graft because you received the wrong application for your problem.

    Without making this message too much longer, it should be noted that in periodical studies showing 60% success, there were major issues with cleaniness in the operating room and outside influeneces that came into play like a residual amount of infection being active at the time. In the case of 92% success, there again, there was an issue with the peer group receiving the wrong application for the surgery they required. For instance, even with 94% success,, underlay is not for everyone and yet the control groups were setup for statistical levels of both types of surgery even though it was wrong in some cases.

    I don’t have a clue what you received for surgery nor do I know what you should have received, but, it is suffice to say, you are likely to be very pleased with the outcome. The percentages are in your favor for success despite the issues you mention today. Remember, you have clean surgery, GEL pack with antibiotics and drops going for you. You also have your “feelings” as to how your recovery is going. Do you feel better in any way?

    I’m just like you, concerned that I will do something wrong, as an Engineer, I know the surgery is strong, my father can tell me why I should be pleased with my progress and so I’m not going to worry about this. I own an otoscope and today I will take a couple of pictures of the ear canal now that the plug has fallen out.

    Hope you are feeling well and feel free to talk about this if I can help. Nice to have someone else going through this right now!!

    • Dave,

      Thanks for the update.

      I am not sure exactly how he did the graft inside of my ear but he did have to cut behind my ear and not where I have seen most people get it done but further up the side of my head. The reasoning I was told was due to the way my ear canal is where it was like one turn after another and also that my hole in my ear drum was towards the front of my ear.

      I did end up calling them a couple days ago due to severe itching and random pain the most I have experienced since I had my surgery 2+ weeks ago. They advised me to start the drops early and use them for 3 days and stop.

      I did notice the past week though the popping and other sounds when I would swallow seemed to have now gone away and the only thing left is the weird pain and the ringing in the ears.

      I was more worried about the straw because every time I tried one I would get this weird feeling but now that I notice it more I think it is due to my muscles behind my ear were they cut it.

      I do believe though I have done everything I can as I haven’t even left the house really in going on 3 weeks now come next Tuesday nor have I lifted anything other than a laptop computer, tv remote and random items like that.

      He did look at my cut behind my ear the first post op which was about 1 week after surgery and said everything is healing very well and I can feel it as nothing at all has leaked from it. I haven’t even had any leaking from my ear since the 2nd day of surgery other than earlier this week some of the packaging came out in little tiny pieces.

      I actually had little to no hearing issues before the surgery and I only mainly did it to finally be able to swim and shower without getting an ear infection so as far as damage there was none at all to my ears just a little hole.

      I was offered the paper method of patching but I always like to go for the extreme to give myself not only better chances of success but also knowing that if it fails I have done everything that can be done to try to fix it.

      I also have noticed some weird grain feeling on my ear but think that might be due to some glue or something used during surgery and the numbness that I had with my ear has also finally gone away earlier this week.

      I know the surgery was done correctly without a doubt since this is the same doctor that has done my tonsils and also my septum and those also turned out not only perfect but healed very quickly but painless.

      I look forward to seeing the pictures of your ear and how it is healing and any future updates from you and others.

      • Hi Jeremy,

        Thanks for the detail, now more than ever, I feel you are in a great position to fully recover. Looks like we had the same surgery here, I don’t have any packing in my outer ear like you do, so I was able to sneak in there for a few pictures today, after only 4 days of recovery. I’m not sure if I can post pictures to this site so I might have to provide a link to some of them. I barely moved my camera into my ear, just enough to see the ear drum and I must say, it looks great! It is flat, very red, some trickle of blood when my packing broke away and fell out, but it looks beautiful. I too have strange pains and noises in there, much of that is getting used to my eustachian tube popping continuously. You have the GEL in there and your tube opening often and that is probably enough to keep you glued to your recovery!

        I’m a dummy and have already lifted something in the garage that is really heavy, didn’t feel any stress on my face/ear though. The paper patch is a great way to resolve a minor hole in the drum, perhaps you should have tried it as it is totally non-invasive. I plan on taking some more pictures a little bit deeper in there in the days ahead, perhaps we can post them here to the board as others might like to see a 4 – 6 day old ear drum.

        Can you tell me a couple of things:
        1) Did your ENT place some new packing in your outer ear?
        2) Did your packing fall out like mine has?
        3) Where did the hole in the ear drum come from, infection?
        4) When did you stop taking pain killers and what were they?

        Thanks my friend and recover damnit!!

  • Should have added to the I was offered the paper method but instead opted for the method of taking the skin from the muscle behind my ear.

  • 1) Did your ENT place some new packing in your outer ear?

    My ENT has done nothing yet to my ear other than remove the strips covering the cut he made behind my ear 7-10 days after surgery and he looked for about 10 seconds in my ear and let me know to come back in 6 more weeks.

    He didn’t remove any packing or tell me to take any drops until 7 weeks after my surgery. This changed as previously mentioned when I called him a few days ago he told me to start the drops early for 3 days and stop them again until next appt in another 5 weeks+. I go back in for my 2nd post OP November 26th.

    2) Did your packing fall out like mine has?

    I have 2 small sliver size pieces come out that looked like glue to me and they were 100% clear not even any blood. Nothing else has fallen out of my ear but I wish it had. I see others on here have had their outer ear packing removed I have yet to have that wonderful experience.

    3) Where did the hole in the ear drum come from, infection?

    I am not 100% sure I had tubes in my ear at twice once at 2 months and those fell out so they put some more in shortly after. I also after this while growing up pretty much walked around everwhere with cotton in my ears due to constant ear infection. My right ear appears over the years to have closed while my left one never did. I do not even know how big my hole was I am guessing possibly small since the doctor did offer the paper patch and he told me that I could wait 5+ years to get the surgery if I wanted so I guess I was in the safer zone than I think most people who get this surgery done to fix tumors and other severe issues. Mine was almost cosmetic and just to make life a bit easier for me.

    4) When did you stop taking pain killers and what were they?

    I really didn’t need the pain killers at all and I stopped them like the 2nd or 3rd day after surgery and didn’t really take them much I had vicodin.

    I actually came home 2 hours or so after surgery and ate a full course meal with zero issues and out of all my surgeries that I have ever had probably actually gained more wait in the first week after having surgery than the others.

    I do notice though I am constantly thristy I go through 10-12 water bottles full of water a day lately since the surgery and the first 1 – 1 1/2 weeks my throat was really sore due to the tube they put down it during surgery.

  • Thanks Jeremy,

    I appreciate you taking the time to tell your story. My packaing fell out on day 3 so I can access my new eardrum with my camera now. Last night I had some discharge from the ear, wondered where that could come from if the patch is sealed against my ear canal, but it doesn’t feel bad. I might call the ENT at the hospital and ask if I should still have packing in my ear! Anyway, I see my surgeon on Wednesday and will report back. I had to blow my nose today, have sneezed with my mouth open and yawned big time so if there is a chance to move things around I might have done it! Good luck.

  • I had my surgery about two and a half weeks ago. Oh, boy, let me tell you… I ended getting a staph infection. What a bad experience that was. They have me on antibiotics now though and feeling better, so hopefully things will go well from here on out. Not really feeling too optimistic at the moment though because I have had some bad sneezing problems with allergies and now all I practically feel/hear is popping each time I swallow and sometimes I feel like air is going through it. Probably not normal, is it? We shall see though.

    • Hi Ashley,

      Sorry to hear that you are struggling with your surgery. I can tell you that if you managed to get past the OP by a few days, before all of this happened, you should be okay. It is amazing how strong that bond can be after just that amount of time. AS long as you were sneezing with your mouth open, should be fine.

      On day three I racked my ear badly and there was blood all over the place, I sneezed a few times, coughed a few times and even plugged my nose and blew as I was use to doing that when I had tubes. The Doc was in there on day nine and spent twenty minutes poking and loosening up the packing and vacuumed everything out. During the process he poked me really hard in the new eardrum, nothing. He concluded that my surgery was healing perfectly and there was nothing to worry about. My staples are out and I have some infection that needs to be cleared up but the surgical staff think everything is perfect.

      Cross your figures but you should be fine. GL

  • There may be some thing wrong with your RSS feed. You should have a web developer check out the web site.

  • Hi, thanks so much for creating this site! There is no information to be had about what to expect after surgery. I’m now four weeks after having Tymanoplasty, and my ear feels like mush, everytime I swallow, it makes a crunch (think wet crunch) sound, did you experience anything like this? I’m back to the doctors in 10 days time and I’m doubting it worked.
    Looking forward to your reply.

    • Hey Gerry, it is perfectly normal to have that wet crunch sound, you have packing in there and some antibiotics with a fare amount of muscle movement going on, I’m at 4 weeks and one day and I have had that sound for 10 days now. If you have accidently blown some air up into the middle ear, you will hear some crazy sounds in there! There is little reason to think anything is wrong at all. As the Gel dissolves, you will be looking forward to plenty of noises. I have a camera and look at my new ear drum every three days. It looks great, a bit swollen and lumpy but that will thin out and heal over time. I have an infection where they made the incision behind my ear. It is just starting to clear up now. I too will see my Doctor on Dec 13th and by then, I can expect to have the balance of my outer ear packing removed and some of that inner ear packing dissolving. When you look at the rate of success on this operation, it is nearly impossible not to have a good result, you would have to do some crazy dumb things to make that graph move. I have done it all and that graph looks perfect. The best test is to play some music with some heavy base in it, like in your car, and see if your new ear drum is moving with the base sound. Mind is so cool, it bounces back and forth something I lost with both ear drums missing. Big difference between my two ears now, for the better, hang in there!

  • Hi DaveB
    Wow, great idea about playing music in the car (will test this out later tonight). The reason I worry is that I had six of these operations as a child on my other ear and all failed, then I waited until I was 32 years of age and had operation number seven and had a prosthesis fitted, and now all is good with that ear. Just worried if this newly operated ear doesn’t heal, as its just an ongoing journey.I’m sorry about your infection behind your ear, fingers crossed for you that it will heal up quickly. I’m now at 4 weeks and 5 days and I’ve been on total bed rest for the first three weeks. When I walk something now goes flap, flap, flap, I sound like a nerve rat, ha, ha!!! Back to the doctors on Thursday 22nd of this month!!! Can’t wait. Thanks so much for replying, it was very reassuring, and I wish you a great outcome, along with everyone who has to undertake this awful surgery.

  • Hi Gerry,
    WOw, I had no idea you have been through so much! Did your ENT Doctor suggest at anytime that your age was a factor in the uptake of the surgery? I hope that was the case for you anyway. I can’t see anything getting in the way of success here, if you are careful and remain healthy through all of this, you should meet the statistical reference of success. No idea what that flapping noise is, do tell us how that progresses sir!!

    I’m at 5 weeks to the day, today, the infection is almost gone, was it a beast to get rid of. The ear doesn’t hurt at all but it is very tender above the ear still. I have a substantial cold at the moment, went to see my Dad at the retirement home and came back with a gift. I would like to know how and when that GEl pack in the middle ear clears, mine is doing nothing at the moment, not sure if I even have any in there now! I see my ENT surgeon on Dec 13th for a follow up. Not much to report here but it is slowly beginning to get better and I can hear “base” sounds which I missed with both ear drums missing. Oh yeah, I take pictures of the eardrum again and it looks great, a little swollen, red in color and lumpy at the moment but all of this should change in time. I did flood my ear with water, I know, me bad, but I simply empted it out and used the hair dryer to bring it back to dry again, big deal.

    GL to all!

  • Hi Mate (Dave B)
    Well I’m at 5weeks four days just ahead of you. Right had my check up four days ago, and head of department said it was looking fine. My ear inside feels like jelly and wobbles around and when I tilt my head on the side it kind of slides around inside. Foul taste in my mouth, questioned what that was, is the packing breaking down, and was told due to major surgery I could expect to have that side affect and to give it time. I blew air, oops the day before my appointment and it cleared out the other ear, but doctor said all was still okay. Told to not fly and keep water out (this was totally stressed) and would be checked again middle week of March, 2013. They gave me a hearing test and the hearing was up only a little, but once again, told to give it time. I swallow all the time, and the ear clunks everytime I do this, so annoying. Dave this surgery now was my ear that had never been operated on ever, I caught Otits Media and bang, there went the eardrum. Great news about your infection clearing, phew. Oh flapping noise, new skin graph, hasn’t dried out. Make sure you post after your appointment as I’ll be interested to hear how your ear is progressing. Let me know does your ear feel dry all the time, or wet? Cheers. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!!!

  • I came across your blog while researching this procedure. I too will have this surgery 5 days from now. We tried (unsucessfully) to acquire approval for a procedure to open my eustasion tubes — mine are completly damaged – ( as in sinus repair – ballon type). My ENT was very positive this would work and thus prevent future problems with my eardrum. We will now need to wait for FDA approval but will try this after it approved. My R-eardrum is completly damaged due to numerous infections as a child a 2 unsucessful tubes as an adult. I am 53 yr old and also an Arnold Chiari patient. My hearing is not good (right ear) but almost all sound waves are picked up while using the exterior bone testing procedure. I will have to let you know how this works out later. BTW: we are all Apple users in our household — minus an iphone for me (I still use an almost dark age cell phone! Love my Ipad!

  • hi there,
    I had my surgery to replace the hole 8 weeks ago. Everything was going great, but now all of the sudden in the last few days I have pain in my ear. No leaking, just popping and pain. Is it possible to have lost the graph this far past surgery!? I am seriously hoping I don’t need another surgery :( will find out on monday!

    • Whitney, you should be just fine! I’m at seven weeks and I still have popping and the blinding stab of a pain now and again. One of the questions I asked the surgeon post three weeks was “how hard is it now for this to fail”, and according to him “you would have to bend down and lift up 20kg”, and whilst some will still go on and fail, it is now such a small percentage, that you will probably pass with flying colours on Monday. The big thing with this type of surgery is that you worry all the time, try not to, and all the best!!!! Post how you get on.

      • Thanks Gerry, you were right! Everything is healing great. Although he did say there was a teeny tiny hole still in my drum, he didn’t seem concerned? he said unless it causes me problems it wouldn’t need to be fixed1 pheewff!

  • Hi Witney, I am not a doctor but would like to comment on your post. It seems normal as healing is in progress and you may have to visit such problem in initial two months. Consult your doctor for advice. I had gone through this procedure and hadn’t observed such issue but my doctor advice me that this may happen and be catutios for any bleeding after 1 Month .. So Bleeding might be a concern but pain seems to be Ok .. All the best and hope for healthy recovery soon ..God less you ..

  • Lynda, Wish you all the best and healthy life ahead..It happens and we have to go through this phase of life because something good is written for us after crossing the hurdle..take a breathe and go for it with best wishes – Sunil

  • Hi Witney.
    If its a tiny hole, give it time, it will probably heal up all by itself given natural healing time. I would just have him check it on a regular basis, but he could probably see healing going on in the ear and if thats the case its only a matter of time before your little hole disappears! Did he tell you to still keep water out of your ear while it is still healing? Keep being careful with your ear to give it time to still heal!!! All the best!!!

  • I have had three tympanoplasty surgeries this year to remove my cholesteatomas. My last surgery was last week. My daughter recently started to loose her hearing. Took her to the family Dr., ENT, and finally to my surgeon. She has cholesteatomas in both ears also. And will need one of the bones reconstructed in her ear to repair surgery. Just wondering if anyone knows if this can be a hereditary problem and if I should have my other three kids checked out just to be safe. I’m sooooo over this!

  • i have read a lot on this blog. i had my tymp 1 month ago to correct a perforation that i have grown up with. 1 wk later my doctor removed the park and in the next visit 2 weeks later he said there was too much gelfoam so he couldnt see the graft. i am really worried whether the graft is intact since i have been blowing my nose without knowing its danger to the graft. Also, when i sleep on the side of the operated ear i see some yellow discharge which am not sure whether it is the gelfoam or could be an infection and since i lost my sense of smell when i was a child i cant tell whether it smells or not, so it worries me more. i am waiting for the next visit in a months time.

  • also how do i manage sneezing?

  • Hello everyone!

    I had a visit yesterday with my surgeon and all went well. They did an audio on my ears(one with tympanoplasty and the other with a huge hole in the ear drum awaiting surgery) and the audio shows that lower tones have reached 95% of the best possible out come at 7 1/2 weeks post surgery. So that is some good news indeed, now the higher pitched tones didn’t fair as well but he had to remove a large piece of scab and gel packing on the surface of the new ear drum so he thinks it will improve somewhat more in the future.

    My incision opened up after day 9 when they removed my staples and it took 4 weeks to clear up the infection for that. Now everything is in great shape with my surgeon is telling me it should out last me! Cool! I asked why my inner ear gel packing wasn’t draining, and why I wasn’t tasting and hearing weird noises and he didn’t know. I said that many patients on this site have issues with their gel packing but other than the first two weeks, I have had nothing. He didn’t seem to care and assumed it released within the first two weeks. I have broken every rule during the recovery process. I have sneezed with my nose pinched a bit, coughed lots of times, filled my ear full of water on 3 occasions. Everything you could think of I have been doing. My handy way to know my ear drum is intact is to climb into the car, crank up the volume on a rock station and turn up the base! It works for telling me if there is a complete ear drum in there. The ear drum beats to the sound of the base and it couldn’t do that without it being intact. I mentioned that to him and he was impressed and said I was right about that conclusion.

    I also own a camera, it works great for having a look at my surgery, everything looks fantastic, red, plenty of small veins forming and contact around the edges of the graft. And so it looks like this surgery is a complete success and now we are booking the next one for mid-January. Again, please follow the rules, I know its hard but this is serious stuff. I missed on a couple of occasions on the sneezing because if I make a loud noise our one cat attacks the other and I thought of them first. Dumb I know! The water was a slip when I tried washing in the sink on my own and used to hot of water once and too cold the next time. If you are careful for the first 2 – 3 weeks you should be able to handle these issues. As for leaking if you have any packing in your outer/inner ears, you will have some draining and some noises going on in there.

    I’m not sure what else to tell you so I’ll watch for any questions in the days ahead.

    Good luck to all and have a great holiday season!

  • Hi Esther,

    I would like to address your issue by saying this, the gel pack is a solid packing in the middle ear designed to support the graft during its early healing/bonding process. The bonding process happens very quickly and so your main goal is not to disturb this process until it takes on its own. You will feel a ripping sensation when the gel packing separates from both the sides of the new ear drum, that is normal. If you have gel packing in the outer ear channel, you will have draining as well until it dissolves. Is there some blood in that discharge? It is normal for there to be some dried blood washed out of the outer ear during the discharge period. It should become less and less though. As for the inner ear, you must sneeze freely, don’t try to hold it back and open your mouth wide open, this is important. Having said that, the packing is there to stop the ear drum from moving while it is bonding. If you felt a ripping feeling when you sneezed you should know that you need to be careful and open your mouth up. I couldn’t sleep on my ear for 6 weeks so you are healing faster than I did! If you can, try my test with the base up high in your car and report back to us. The ear drum can’t move if it has a hole in it, so give it a try. You could even put a plug in the other ear to really concentrate on this test.

    There are others here who have different results than I do and hopefully they will address this issue for you in the days ahead, good luck.

  • I had my surgery on Nov. 28th, and so far everything has been normal. This was a total repair, as I basically did not have an ear drum in my left ear. I’ve had two appts with my ENT to remove packing. My last one was Thursday, and she said everything was looking good and there was no infection. But, last night and this morning, I had some yellow drainage 3 times. It doesn’t have a foul odor, so I guess it might be some of the gel foam. She’s not having me put ear drops in, only 3 times before each appt to soften up the packing. Has anybody else experienced this?

  • thank you guys. it feels nice to know that someone else is going through the same experience. am trying hard now to follow the rules. Also this morning i noticed that the discharge is not as much as before and the yellowish color is clearing up i.e it is not as yellow as before. the noises are there once in a while, and i was also not given any ear drops to use.i will do the base sound test soon.Hoping for the best, may the good God heal us all

  • I also noticed that noise disturbs my ear a lot.this include even my own shouting. i feel like the noise is echoing back to the ear. yesterday i went to church and i couldn’t stand the music. i was feeling like everything was being blown on my ear. its so sensitive that it can react to noise from a vehicle far off. is that normal? anyone ever had such an experience to share with us?

    • Hi Esther,
      The noise will eventually go away-it is normal. I had my surgery in 2010. I still remember how my own voice sounded-it was loud. It also felt that everyone was talking inside my ears. It felt uncomfortable listening to music in the car or even having a regular conversation. I remember telling my family to speak in a lower tone. I think this lasted for about 2 months (+-). Eventually the sound will get normal. It is part of the healing process. Good luck.

      • Hi Tasha.
        Can you please tell me how long does it take for me to hear again after surgery? Packing was removed 2 weeks ago. After packing was removed, i hear pretty good for 2 days then hearing started to go down and it feels like behind my ear there is something inside which i think it is the disolvable packing. I also notice that when i talk and can hear myself talking in a normal level but yet others have told me that i whisper or talk very softly. Is this a good sign that i will b able to hear better in the future? Can you please let me know. Thanks.

  • Hi Anita,

    I too had a discharge with a bit of dried blood around the same time as you are experiencing now. It wasn’t a big deal as I knew from using my camera that I have some large pieces of gel pack to come out. I would think it is a natural function of the gel pack to clear itself. Today most of my gel pack has been removed. I have some fresh blood in there due to the surgeon removing some dried blood and gel pack. Everything looks good in there now. GL

    Hi Esther!

    Glad to hear you are seeing improvements in your drainage. I had some too around the same time that you are reporting, I didn’t see anything unusal in there and in my case. You mention sound issues and I have plenty of them myself! I can’t stand being in large groups of people, I absorb all of the noise equally and it mixes up so much that I find myself listening to 4 or 5 conversations at once! I use ear buds to watch TV so that we can make use of different volumes as the number set by my wife is much lower than what I need to get all of the conversation. I have a pair of wireless headphones that I use to listen to shows at my “custom volume level”. LOL

    I do think that all of this will change in a big way once the tympanic membrane thins and dries out. I have ringing in my left ear and somethings it is really loud and others, it disappears for a few minutes. We have to remember that plenty of nerve endings were cut and all of these have to join and start functioning again independently. I expect to see improvements in my hearing over the next 4 – 6 months. It is rare that my own voice has affected me, but it has happened. Please post to the board and let us know how you are doing! And GL.

  • Hi Dave thankfully, the discharge seems to have stopped….it was more yellow than red though, but did not have a foul smell. I don’t go back to the doc until next Thursday. I have so much dried stuff near the opening….it’s driving me nuts! It was nice going two weeks in a row, because that stuff got removed….I have to wait longer this time.

    Since getting some packing removed last Thursday, I have had some ringing a few times. I have been lucky in that it hasn’t happened very much, and when it has, it’s only lasted a few seconds. I’ve also been lucky not to have a lot of annoying noises….except for the popping sound practically every time I swallow.

    Today marked the 3 week mark…I had quite a bit of dull pain today and sometimes pretty bad….but not enough to take anything for it. My incision is closed up, but it was itching today….she told me last week it probably would as it’s healing underneath and the rest of the dissolvable stitches are dissolving….she removed the knot on the top and bottom last week, because they were driving me nuts…especially the top one with my glasses.

    What kind of camera do you have that you can see in there?

  • Hi Anita!

    Glad to hear you are doing better these days. It all takes time and everyone is slightly different in their symptoms I guess. I didn’t have much discharge, first couple of days, followed by a break and then 2 weeks later I had some more for 2 days. I have an otoscope that I ordered off EBay from Hong Kong. It cost me about $ 55.00 delivered and took 3 weeks to get here. It has 9 LED lights, an adjustable focus, several attachments and lighting adjustment as well. I can make movies or take still pictures with it and my surgeon thinks it is great!

    Here is the link to the unit:

    Please adjust the hXXXp: to http and copy into your address line.

    Mine was different in that it came with 9 or so attachments. This one is the same as mine and I haven’t had a chance to see what it comes with.

    Please continue to post to the board and let us know how you are doing!

  • Hi Dave,

    Yeah, I had reddish discharge for the first few days, then it stopped, and then at 2 1/2 weeks post op, I had the yellowish discharge. It looked like regular ear wax, just a little runnier. But, I’m glad it stopped.

    Wow, that camera thing is interesting.

  • DaveB
    Just catching up on posts and wanted to say, I’m really happy for you that your infection in your ear cleared and you’re healing is just as it should be! Must be so great having that camera to check out whats what in your ear!!! My healing is going well, was due to fly to London for Christmas but my surgeon has told me no flying for six months, even with a doctors certificate the airline wouldn’t refund any monies, but as long as my ear heals 100% that is all that matters.
    All the very best everyone else with your healing/surgery, and wishing everyone a merry Christmas!

  • Hi Gerry!

    Hope all is well with you!?! The infection has gone, it might have done some damage after a few weeks as that area is still tender. I had a look inside my ear and the ear drum looked kind of pinkish, my surgeon said he coloured it to make it stand out and to see if it moved at all, cool! Now I have pink ear, great! I cannot believe you aren’t able to fly for 6 months? I have my second surgery scheduled for January 29th and that can’t come soon enough. By then I should know the fate of my healing process on my first surgery.

    Question to the board:

    Did any of you enjoy hearing improvement from your surgery? I have much better range but I still can’t hear with volume any better then when I had the huge hole. I’m at 9 weeks tomorrow and maybe it is just too soon for me. I would love to hear from those who noted improvements since their surgery!!

    Have a happy holiday everyone, keep the faith in your surgery too!

    • Re hearing…when the packing was removed, i felt very worried as i still couldnt hear well, it was muffled but after about 3 months it improved more and i hear loud or deep sounds well but whispers or high pitch sounds is not that good. Overall i got about 70 % hearing back in that ear which was a good improvement on what i had pre-surgery. Its been one year since my surgery.

  • Fantastic news DaveB that the infection has gone, as for the damage will that now just heal up but take a bit of time? How did the surgeon colour your eardrum sounds interesting!!! I’m still down on hearing as well, but got told give it six months for the eardrum to heal. Sometimes when I swallow I can feel my eardrum blop up and down, other times its just a soft mush sound, so I know I still have healing to do in my ear. As for the flying, I think my surgeon is being extra careful given my history. Oh mate, 29th January another surgery, I feel for you, but if it gives you your hearing back and even being able to wash your hair and get water in your ear makes life easier, so I can understand while you are signing up for another so quickly. Are you now able to sleep on the sore ear, or is it still too tender considering the infection? Enjoy Christmas, and hopefully 2013 will bring good ear news to one and all!!!!

  • Hi Gerry!

    Yes, that infection has just set me back a few weeks, no biggy there! My Doc dyed the skin before he installed it and I never knew. I thought it looked great, almost like the blood was already circulating, but it was the colouring. Still a bit there today but not as much, wish I could post pics to the board to show everyone. I see, almost everyone else can fly within 8 weeks tops so I wondered about you. I want you to heal too, so do whatever that guy says. Okay, thanks for telling me about your external “volume” issue too, they test your hearing and tell you the surgery is a complete success but I can’t hear any better at all. I guess I’ll have to wait a couple of more months at least. Would be nice to hear from others too!

    I want the surgery done so I can go boating and swimming next year, might as well get it done ASAP and dream of those days at the beach! I just started sleeping on that side, I have to be careful but I’m always sleeping against that ear now. I want to to go back to the position it was in originally, I’d sit on it if I could. Ha!

    Talk to you soon, have a great holiday!!

  • Dave,

    Wow! You’re having another surgery at the end of January? I don’t think I could go through this so quickly. I hope it goes well for you.

  • Hi Anita,

    Yes, I don’t think I can do it either!! I can always cancel but we live our lives by the water and it is so difficult not to want to jump into the lake! I also want to have showers the old fashioned way. I wondered if I could go through with this again but my surgeon assured me it will last a lifetime so I decided to tough it out.

    Tell me, do you hear sounds around you with more volume than before? My hearing hasn’t improved at all on that side even though my surgeon says it is a complete success. I hoped I could forego using hearing aids after my surgery and wondered if anyone else was able to do so too. Thanks!

  • Good luck! I know I don’t want to go through this for a long time….thankfully, my right ear is fine.

    Actually, even with packing still in there, I do seem to hear stuff with more volume than before.

  • Hi I had this operation 2 days ago. Would I get away with removing the packing from my ear then adding a bit of cotton wool as I’m at breaking point very stressed and teary it itches and leaks something that smells like tcp (no infection) :(

  • No, don’t! Leave that to the doctor. I know it’s annoying though. When do you go see the doctor?

  • Hi Nat,

    Anita is right, you don’t want to disturb the packing in any way until it is ready to fall out. These first few days are the most critical ones in terms of getting the graft to take. The packing might just extend all the way into the outer ear canal and be attached via dried blood etc., which could tug at the membrane. The last thing you want to do is tug at the membrane while it is trying to attach itself to the tympanic wall. If it is lose and you can be assured that it reaches inward no where near the membrane, you might find it will fall out on its own. I would want to know that is is moving and falling out on its own and I would stop short of applying any pressure to get it out of there. You should be seeing your surgeon withing 7 – 9 days of the op, and they will remove it for you. Good luck.

  • Nat, is the leakage reddish in color? That is completely normal.

  • Oh, it’s also probably not the packing that is causing the itching…but the healing itself. Itching is a sign of healing.

  • Had a dr appt for my ear this morning. She suctioned some more packing out, and she said everything is looking perfect! There’s still a little tiny bit of dissolvable packing left on top, but the drum is moving very well, which tells her there’s no hole. :) There’s still packing underneath, but that just takes time to dissolve…and she said she put A LOT of it in there….so, I’ll be stuck with the popping sound when I swallow for a while. She said I still have to keep water out of it for now – which I’ve been used to for most of my life anyway. I can start playing my flute again :) :) I go back on February 7th (the day before my wedding anniversary) for a hearing test!!!!

  • Hi Anita!

    Thanks for reminding me of when your surgery was, I usually have to go back and check this out. So glad to hear you are pleased with your recovery! After just five weeks you sound as though you are really happy with the results from this serious surgery. Perhaps you will be coming back to the board to help others and to give us some detail as to how the surgery has helped you in terms of hearing and comfort overall. Take care and look after that ear!

    • I am ecstatic about the results so far!! I can tell that I’m already hearing quite a bit better out of that ear than I used to. So, I’m excited for Feb. 7th to get my hearing test!! I know I’ll have more tests as time goes on, but I’m excited to see the results of the first one.

      I will certainly keep up with the board!

      Are you still scheduled for your other surgery on the 29th?

  • Anita,

    Try to settle down there! Tell me, how well were you hearing in that ear before the surgery? I’m really the same as I was before the surgery and I’m coming from missing my complete eardrum. I have base tones now, but it appears I will need a hearing aid in that ear. I hoped to be able to go without one after the surgery. I’m scheduled for Jan 29th for my second operation and that isn’t much fun. Still, if I want to swim freely and have a more normal life, I have to do it, so might as well get it over with.

    Congrats on your surgery and do take care of it!

    • LOL, I’m just so ecstatic that she told me that everything looks perfect. Mine was a complete drum too. I didn’t hear very well at all, except through the nerve. Low tones I couldn’t hear at all, mid tones were okay…but all were below the normal line. We play ocean wave sounds on my hysband’s phone at night for white noise….I used to be able to lay on my right ear and not hear them at all….now, I hear them. There’s apparently 2 layers of the fascia that they use for the graft, one thicker and one thinner (they normally use the thicker)….because mine was the whole eardrum, she had to get the maximum amount of stretch to the graft, so she used the thinner layer. Maybe it is closer to the thinness of the real thing, which allows me to hear better right away? I don’t know. There’s still a bunch of packing underneath, so that’s probably why she’s waiting a month to do a hearing test. She told me that I won’t get 100% hearing, because the bones in there were a bit scarred and slightly misshapen, but they had decent movement, so she felt comfortable with them….I told her that even 50% better is much better than before. She hasn’t mentioned anything about a hearing aid…but she may be waiting to find out how much hearing I get out of it after a while.

      Good luck on that surgery! Being that you don’t have much hearing back in the one ear yet, I’d almost be leary of doing another so soon.

  • Hi Anita,

    Thanks for sharing that information! I haven’t heard of the use of different thicknesses before, great comment for others here. I’m so glad you are doing well, to regain some hearing is huge news and you have waited a long time to get this resolved so celebrate that! I hoped my hearing would improve but so far, it hasn’t. There is a lumpy tympanic membrane in there now and I know it takes months to dry out and tighten up so I think I can look forward to some improvement here. I know, it is a bit of a gamble going under the knife again, I’m really not looking forward to it even though it means I can swim and travel again. But I have to do it as we spend our lives on the water during the summer months and I need to be able to fall off the boat into the water at a moments notice! Ha!

    I’ll post my experience to the board when that second surgery takes place, it will be interesting to compare the two of them almost in real time won’t it? As for my current surgery, I never did experience gel packing draining into my throat so I don’t know where I stand there. I always forget to ask enough questions while I’m with my surgeon. Keep posting to the board and let us know how you are doing!

    Hey, Gerry, Nat, Lori and the gang, everything okay??

  • Yeah, my doctor did everything she possibly could to make this work. She packed underneath pretty tightly, she used the thinner layer of the fascia, she packed on top of the graft pretty tight too. I have waited a long time, and I never knew this was even possible! I never saw an ENT until 2011 – I was 31 years-old!! Now I’m 33 and it’s like a whole new world.

    I’m sure you’ll get to hearing out of that ear. Just give it time :)

    I’m assuming that the gel packing underneath the graft would have to drain down the Eustachian tube and down the throat…that’s the only way out of the ear, once the graft is healed. It may not be something we can even tell is happening. I forget to ask all of the questions I have, too. I think about them before I see her, and when I see her I forget to ask half of them.

    Yes, I guess it will be interesting to compare the two almost in real time.

    Yesterday, I experienced a little bit of pain off and on…but I think that was because my ear is adjusting to having less packing in there, and since sound is reaching much of the eardrum, it has to adjust. Today, I haven’t had any pain at all.

  • Hi All
    Just reading and catching up! Anita I’m so happy for you, I was 32 when I had my first ear done with a prothesis and I was also jumping for joy! Dave, been thinking about you, just that having had a skin graph done, it has made me feel for the first time the other eardrum, its like it takes some of the pressure if that makes sense? I guess you will get to hear all the clunking in your head if you get the other ear done, before the first has healed, maybe check with your surgeon how your newly operated ear will hold up? Went for a walk today, and I had all this flapping in my head, I’m sure that even at this late date its packing?? Anyway not super worried as I know the perforation has gone, just so noisy in my head with a skin graph in one ear and a fake thingy in the other ear, every swallow, I hear the skin ripple (in my newly operated ear)!!! I figure its better than having the fullness feeling you have when your eardrum is perforated! Hearing fine, but I feel my skin graph is quite thick, so it needs time to adjust, heal and wear down!!! What date Dave is your next op, sorry I know you have posted it, the wife wants to know to add you to her prayers list, and just know we will be rooting for you and a quick recovery!!!
    Every body else happy with their surgery??

  • Hi Gerry!

    Glad to know you are fine! The best part of not posting to the board is knowing these folks are out making up for lost time! I have my next surgery on Jan 29th and I’ll be glad to get it over with. I hear you when you suggest that I check with my surgeon on my first ear, he says it is perfect and should last a lifetime. That and the fact that the feeling of pressure in your head when missing your eardrum convinced me to get it done. We travel to the islands a lot and when we aren’t down South, we are out boating on our lake so I need to get this done to get back to entertaining the family again. The left side is still tender even at 9 weeks now but it feels better than my other ear so I think I will go ahead with it. A lot can happen (positive) while I wait for Jan 29th too. My pictures look good, it feels good, I just can’t hear any better in that ear. Anyways, enough about me, hope all is well at your end and please make sure you post to the board with updates!!

  • Hi Dave
    Isn’t it wonderful not to have the that feeling of pressure, now that the eardrum is sealed! I’ll post my next update in the middle of March, when my hearing gets tested again, and a general check over by the surgeon. I’ll keep checking the board for your posts after your second operation. I’m still tender on my operated side and have only just been able to start sleeping on that side, fantastic!!! Roll on summer, where we will all be able to swim and enjoy the water and most importantly for me, be able to fly again!

  • Hi Gerry!

    Glad to see you are so positive about your operation! Yes, it is nice to be able to sleep on that side again and the pressure or fullness will never be missed! The swimming part is what has me motivated but travel is another big one! I have to admit I’ll be nervous when the plane takes off! We were hoping to visit some friends in Florida in late March this year so I’ll have to get clearance from my surgeon after only 7 weeks post surgery, we’ll see! I will be posting back to the board after my surgery at the end of this month, its good to get as much information out there for those who are about to undergo their first round. Best of luck and talk to you in the weeks ahead!

  • hi good people. am glad we are in a new year. my incision has healed completely. the only worry i have now is whether the graft is intact. i traveled up country for Christmas and the long drive on a hilly ground was too disturbing on my ear due to the fact that i was being tossed up and down most of the time on the rough road. In fact at some point the yellowish discharge was too much at night whenever i slept on the ear. The discharge is reducing again since am back to the city and all seems to be well except for the popping sound whenever i swallow. Am going to see my doctor on 17th, i will update you after that.

  • Hi all,

    I’ve spent the past couple of days reading through this blog, and it has been so helpful. It’s nice to hear the experiences of people who have been through this procedure. I feel like most of the people around me think I’m over-worried about this procedure and that it’s a less serious and less complex procedure than I think it is.

    I had “rear endaural tympanoplasty” four days ago. Does anyone know what endaural means? Is it the same as transcanal? I don’t have a cut behind my ear, but I have one sort of in the front and inside of it. Tragal cartilage was used for my graft, so this incision is likely the graft site but I think it may also be the incision through which the surgery was performed.

    I have a silly question that I’m hoping you all can help me with. How long did you keep cotton covered in vaseline or antibiotic ointment in your ear? Did you use it just when showering or all the time? If all the time, did you use it just for the first few days or for several weeks?

    Many thanks,

  • Esther,
    Sorry to hear you had some discomfort on your trip and sorry about the discharge :( Had the discharge completely gone away at some point? I haven’t had any discharge in 3 weeks. How far past surgery are you? Good luck at your appt on the 17th!

    So, I play in a community concert band, and last night was our first rehearsal after the holidays. My doctor gave me the okay to start playing my flute, but I haven’t done so yet. I don’t have plans to start actually playing in band until after my hearing test on February 7th…but, I’m going to rehearsals to start to acclimate myself to the sound. Last night was incredibly LOUD!!!! I had been planning on sitting in my seat and listening, but my husband suggested that I sit off to the side for now…since I sit in the front row. I’m so glad I sat off to the side, because I had to go to the other room for a bit. I’m noticing that louder sounds are MUCH louder, and are getting clearer (at first, everything had a ringiness to it)…lower sounds are louder, but are muffled, in that if it’s talking, I can’t understand what’s being said. I’m sure some of this has to do with the packing that’s still underneath the graft…preventing the sound from reaching the middle ear very easily.

  • Felicia,

    The vaseline is only necessary when showering really…and should be used until your doctor says it’s okay to get water in your ear.

  • Thanks, Anita :)

  • Anita, it only discharges a little at night when i sleep on the yr

  • You’re welcome, Felicia.

    Esther – seems a little odd that it’s still draining at all. Hopefully you get a good report on the 17th.

    Did anybody else start to get REALLY annoyed by the packing that’s underneath the graft…about 6 weeks after surgery? My 6 week mark was Wednesday. Yesterday, the packing underneath was driving me nuts! Last night, in bed, I was laying on my right side, like I’m accustomed to, and I kept getting the popping sound in my left ear – much like it does when I swallow…only I wasn’t swallowing. It was really annoying, and I’m not sure if it was caused by the packing or what. I’ve read that the gelfoam packing takes 2-3 months to go away, and can start at around 6 weeks. I don’t go back to the doctor until Feb. 7th…which is actually kind of annoying, because every little thing I do, hear, feel…makes me nervous that even though she said it was all good 1 1/2 weeks ago, that something has changed. I plug my right ear A LOT to check and see how well I’m hearing out of the left one. It’s like a nervous condition or something. LOL!

  • Anita, everything you described was happening to me and its all normal. Yes its annoying but perservere as you dont have a choice and this is your valuable hearing that we need. My packing was made of gauze soaked in antibiotics but i still had the popping sounds whether i was swallowing or not. It goes away when packing is gone. My op was exactly a year ago.

  • Hi guys – Has anyone else experienced getting tongue numbness? If yes, how long did it last?

  • Hello everyone!

    Sorry I’m not able to address some of the questions about the gel pack and popping sounds a few weeks after surgery because I only experienced those two issues a few days post surgery.

    I’m posting because I did run into my surgeon at the hospital the other day and told him that I did not receive any benefit to my hearing after this operation. I still need a hearing aid to catch anything people are saying. He felt this was strange and assumed I would be hearing much better by now (10 weeks today). We thought it might be something to do with the gel pack not releasing at all.

    Can you tell me at what time did you feel your gel pack start to become noticable and the poopping to begin? Was it early, say 2 weeks or much later, say 10 weeks and how long did it last? What of any taste did you notice that lead you beleive the gel pack was draining? I’m confused about mine having read that others are so bothered by it. I haven’t tasted anything different.

    Thanks and good luck gang! My next surgery is in 2 weeks and I’m concerned about it at this point.

    • Hi All
      Dave, it could be that your gel pack hasn’t all broken away. I know that last week when I went for that walk I told you about the flapping, well that night there was loads of popping in my ear and remember I’m only a week ahead of you surgery wise, after that I’ve noticed my hearing getting better. The taste is awful, it comes and goes, I’ll get a clean glass to have water in and it smells like an overdose of salt, so I can’t drink it, at first I thought the glass hadn’t been washed, even though it had come fresh out of the dishwasher and my wife assured me the dishwasher cycle had finished!! So even now, three months after surgery, popping and that awful taste and a couple of weeks back my tongue was numb, but that didn’t last long. So even this late after surgery, there is still popping and healing going on in my ear.

      I understand your concerns about your next surgery, but have another talk with your surgeon, I’m sure he’ll reassure you. I hope it reassures you that I’m still breaking down the gel pack at this late stage!!!

  • Thanks, Narelle!

    Felicia, I did not have any issues with tongue numbness.

    Dave, mine has been popping since a couple of weeks after surgery. I’m surprised you haven’t experienced any. I’m at 6 1/2 weeks. Even with the packing behind the ear drum, I’m already hearing better than before…at least I feel like I am. My hearing test on 2/7 will tell the story.

  • Oh, and Dave, no, I haven’t experienced any odd tastes either.

    • I’ve had two operations this year, April 16 and October 15, and both times I’ve experienced a metal taste in my mouth. My doctor said it is normal and could take 6 months to a year to heal – there are cases that you never get normal taste back. It took 6 months after the first operation to get my taste back – just in time for the 2nd operation.

  • Re tastes .. I think the antibiotics they keep in your ear end up down your throat. I vaguely recall funny tastes

  • Thanks everyone for the helpful comments, I really appreciate it.

    Hi Gerry, I think you might have something there, you and I have been tracking closely here, only a week apart. I became concerned about all of this when others have reported noise, plenty of it, draining, salty taste, and better hearing. I have none of these things and the only popping sound that I noticed was in the first two weeks when my outer ear cleared. I can plug my nose and pressurize my ear and the ear drum moves slightly, I’m afraid to do too much here as this is one expensive ear drum, not to mention the nasty surgery! I would like to know that my first surgery is healing well and that I will hear with volume from that ear soon. It’s difficult to think about going back under the knive so soon again as it is.

    I learned something this past week that I’ll share with the board. I learned that my balance system via my left ear is damaged so badly that I’m only able to stand using my vision as a guide. I never knew that until the Doctor asked me to close my eyes and stand there, I fell over. I thought I was dizzy and felt it would improve over time so I might need more surgery for that issue. I can’t walk heel to toe with my eyes closed, I just fall immediately. I would like to be able to hear with volume and your idea that gel pack may be stuck to the new inner ear drum makes sense. I can look in my ear with my camera and I still have two pieces of gel pack stuck to my outer ear drum and this is 10 weeks now. There is no sign of this stuff coming loose anytime soon either.

    I will talk to my surgeon when the surgery date nears, we can’t do anything now but he wants to go ahead with the second surgery and asked that I have faith in the first. I will keep you posted on all of this and thanks for updating the board on your progress.

    Anita and Narelle,

    I would appreciate it if you two would let me know if there are any changes in your status too. Gerry mentioned that he was out walking when suddenly he had a major change in his healing process and I hope you can post to the board if you have something happen too. As my surgery date approaches, I’m really looking for new information on your progress!

    Thanks everyone!

  • Dave – have you had a hearing test yet? My hearing test will be 10 weeks post op. Has your doctor looked in your ear to look at the drum?

    That’s interesting about your balance. The only time I had balance issues was the first couple of days after surgery because of the enormous amount of packing that was in there.

    The next time I see my doctor will be the day of my hearing test – Feb. 7th, which will be after your surgery. But, I will certainly post an update after that.

  • Hi Anita!

    Yes, I had a hearing test at the 7 1/2 week mark and because it was less than 8 weeks, they refused to do the pressure test. They peeled two big pieces of gel pack from the outer ear drum area that failed to dissolve and there are two smaller pieces still there as I can see them with my camera. My Doctor looked at the ear drum and thought it was perfect and told me I can shower with it now. I see it all the time and it does look great, pink, I see the veins and its shape is flat with a great bond on the sides. I just haven’t experienced any of the popping or salty taste like others. My hearing test shows 95% (100% perfect) on base notes and nothing on high pitch notes which is great but that test is fed into the ear drum and not outside noise as you well know.

    The balance thing was the same for me, I had problems the first few days and never thought about it again after that. Thanks for taking the time to respond and best of luck with your hearing test.

  • Okay, well, just remember, everybody is different in what they experience. I have popping, but haven’t experienced any salty taste. I know that right after the surgery, due to them having to clip the nerve that controls some of the taste buds, I had a hard time tasting salt – but that has gotten better. Maybe some of the salty taste some people are experiencing is just their salt taste buds starting to work again…who knows.

    Remember too, that it will probably be 6-8 months before they know for sure how much hearing you get out of it. I don’t always notice a lot of difference, unless things are loud – because then they seem A LOT louder than normal. Regular volume…I don’t notice, unless I plug my good ear – and I can tell that I hear things that I didn’t before – but they’re not always very clear.

  • Hi guys – I have another question for you. I’ve been noticing how much bigger the ear that I had surgery on is compared to my other ear. When did your ear return back to it’s regular size?

    • It’s funny you mention the size of your ear because after my surgery in April my ear got larger and I told the doctor it felt and looked like a PIG ear. The doctor said not to worry it was still healing and it would go back to normal – he was right because the ear is now the correct size but I still have tenderness behind my ear where the cut was. Give it time and it will all work out okay.

    • It probably looks bigger because there’s still some swelling, but it sticks out more than the other due to it being opened up and the muscles and tendons being cut. Once those muscles and tendons regrow, they will pull the ear back into place, and the swelling will go down as well. My ears are small, so I don’t notice it sticking out too much…but it does. Just give it some time.

  • 7 weeks today and I’ve had quite a bit of pain…not terrible, just like little, sharp, shooting pains. It’s kind of annoying really. Anyway else experience that at 7 weeks?

  • Hi Anita!

    I can tell you that my sharp, sudden, stabbing pain started after 8 weeks. I might have had a modest amount of this pain in the initial 2 weeks, but after 10 1/2 weeks now, it seems to be going away for me. I would say it lasted about 10 days and was annoying and not severe. I would describe it as a stabbing pain right down the center of the ear drum, in the heart of the surgery and painful enough to mention it when it happens. Nothing has changed for me so I assume its part of the nerve healing process.

    As for my ear position, it is still leaning outward about 3/8 inches from the home position and tender at the top. The incision is still a bit tender too, just enough that I don’t like it when someone touches it! I can pull on the ear and it doesn’t hurt, just tender to touch. My surgeon claims it will return to its original spot but I don’t care as I have to have the other one done in 10 days.

    Just an update on my hearing, or lack of it, I was driving along today listening to the radio and while I was bored waiting for the light to change, I plugged my nose and placed pressure on that ear. I noticed right away that the volume of the noise in that ear went up. I tried this several times and it worked every time. I’m very careful doing this but it might be the secret as to why I can’t hear any better. Perhaps I’m able to separate the ear drum from the residual packing in there? I don’t know but it was nice to gain that temporary increase in sound!!

  • Yeah, that sounds like the exact kind of pain I’ve been having today.

  • Hi All, I had posted on here back in Oct of 2011 as I had went through the Tympanoplasty surgery. Months later I posted again an update and reported that after everything that sadly I still had a small perforation in my ear. Well it is now January 16, 2013 and I just went in for another follow up with the doctor and there is improved bass(low-end) hearing in my ear and the perforation has healed over. The high-end frequencies were a bit lower than previous tests but most likely due to the crap load of wax the Dr. removed from the ear. ;) I was so happy to learn all this today. However the hole healed over in the shape of a small bubble, so the specialist wants to take another look this coming September and he may put a tube in my ear to see if he can even out the bubble. Fingers crossed… fear not though as to some the pain and agony may seem not worth it, there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel and although the surgery/healing process can seem daunting it is worth it in the end. Take care of your ear and do not put it through any stress for as long as you can. Give it time to heal properly, with a lot of patience. As much as it sucks there is always hope. All the best folks!

  • Hi JasonD,

    If you have a moment, could you tell us how your healing process went? Did you have any ringing in your ears, bleeding, drainage from outer ear, sharp pains or gel pack noises as the product dissolved. I was wondering if your hearing volume went up at all? If you could mention the timeline for all of these, I and others would appreciate it.

    My latest “big thing” is to gently plug my nose and pressurise my new ear drum and let it “pop” a bit, when I do that, the base sounds give way to higher pitched sounds and I can hear much better. I don’t know if I have anything still in my middle ear because I never did taste anything funny draining from that ear, nor did my hearing improve at all from the huge hole that was there before the surgery. I have my next surgery in a little over a week and I’m not thrilled about that! Being able to pop that new ear drum makes me feel like they can still do something to improve my hearing in that ear.


  • Hi Dave,

    I’m guessing you have bilateral perforations. I also have perforations in both eardrums. My ENT did surgery on my right ear, the more problematic one, first. He said he didn’t want to operate on the second ear until 6-12 months later. I think he wants to make sure the first ear is fully healed before tackling the 2nd. How long is your doctor waiting before doing surgery on 2nd ear? It sounds like it’s not as long.

  • Hi Dave
    I know your surgery is coming up soon, but please ensure your first surgery on your ear has healed before getting the next one, I know how much pressure this new surgery has put on my other ear that I had done 14 years ago!! I can feel it lift and ripple when I swallow (14 year old ear). Have a really good sit down talk with your doctor.
    Felicia, sounds like you have a really good sensible doctor.

    • yesterday i went to see my doctor, unfortunately he said my graft is fallen n that she cant see the hole. she gave me another date after 3 months after which she said they will repeat the operation. so sad

      • Oh Esther, I’m so sorry!! :( Maybe that’s why you were still having some drainage? That’s so disappointing after going through so much after the surgery in the healing process. My doctor said at 5 weeks that everything looked perfect and said that she’d see me in a month for a hearing test. It’s been a little over 2 weeks now, and it’s driving me nuts that I don’t see her for another 3 weeks – I want to know that things are still looking good!

  • Esther, I take it that your graft has failed. They do and they can (I had six on my left year and finally the number seven operation worked with a prothesis). I’m so very very sorry for you if this is the case, just know that it can be fixed, and there will be light at the end of the tunnel for you!! Will they be trying bone cartilage as the next step? Hopefully it might still heal by itself,(hence your doctor waiting another three months).
    All the very best Esther.

  • Has anyone else gotten all obsessive about checking what they can hear out of their operated ear? I’m constantly plugging my right ear (my good one) to see what and how I’m hearing out of the left one. Then, I’ll plug the left one with my finger and then remove it to see how different things sound – do they get louder?, what can I hear different?, etc. It’s like an addiction now!! I just can’t wait until that hearing test in 3 weeks!

  • Hi Anita – I’m still anxious to get the packing out of my ear, but I’m sure once the packing’s out, I’ll be obsessing over my hearing and trying the tests you’re doing :)

    How are things sounding to you so far? Are you hearing any differences?

  • Guys – I have another question. For those of you that got dissolvable stitches, how long did it take for your stitches to dissolve? I had my procedure two weeks ago. Some of the stitches have dissolved, but others are still there.

    • At 2 weeks, my doc removed the knot at the top and bottom, because they were driving me nuts, and it was healed well enough she felt it was okay. It probably took another week or two for the rest to dissolve the rest of the way.

  • Hi Felicia,

    Yes, I’m missing all of my tympanic membrane on both sides. They completely eroded as soon as the tubes were installed. Very painful experience there. My worst one was restored first and it will be 13 weeks since that operation. I know it seems to be soon for most here but I have little choice when you think about it. I’m not saving anything by leaving my bad ear alone, it will still be useless if I don’t do the surgery. I trust my Doctor in this case and feel that my first surgery can be improved.

    Hi Gerry.

    I do appreciate your comments and I can assure you that I have looked at my current surgery very carefully and truly feel that it is stable now, and not likely to change much from here. My surgeon will be doing my better ear, the one that is missing its tympanic membrane and nothing else. This shouldn’t be too difficult to repair. I have two things going for me, I can view moment changes in my healing process with my camera, and, my father is a retired surgeon and I can grill him for details on my healing process. He has been a great help in all of this. So far, I believe I will be going through with the surgery and report to the board shortly after next Tuesday. Thanks.

  • I just played my flute a little bit for the first time since surgery! Doc gave me the go ahead 3 weeks ago, but this is the first I’ve attempted. I played fine and the sound was somewhat clearer…should get better over time. Now I’ve got the whooshing sound going on….thankfully I haven’t gotten a lot of sounds…like whooshing or ringing…just occasionally. The only thing I get is the popping sound, mostly when swallowing….but that seems to be lessening a little bit. It will be 8 weeks on Wednesday.

  • Argh! I hate the fact that its been 3 weeks since I’ve seen my doc and will be another 2 weeks before I see her again and have my hearing test!!! I’m so nervous that something’s going to go awry! Today is 8 weeks since surgery.

    • Did you have tinnitus before graft? Did it go away completely, my doc said surgery would not help me at all but I had to have my eardrum strengthened.When I attend noisy gatherings with a lot of folks talking I get pain and my hearing completely disappears in my ear.It is not that good since graft but that was expected. Also makes me feel fatiqued and I cannot keep up with everything like I used to, I am afraid to do yardwork, too much pulling and heavy lifting. Please tell me when you started and how long it took for things to get better. I know it’s probably on this blog somewhere but I am tired and cannot find it. Like you I suffer between appointments because for the last two years (it has taken that long to find a doctor who will try to help) it has been a long time between doctor appointments. Dispite obvious physical symptoms they told me I just had tinnitus and would get used to it. Please give me some hope as my symptoms now are filled with pain and noise. I also have salty flow from e tube in left side of throat, before the graft I was getting a thick film on front of my eardrum and ever time it was taken off it came back within 4-5 weeks. It was never identified, but was not skin like the doctor said but they never said what it was. Now that graft is in place this flow has started and is not only salty but irritating the left side of my tongue and opening of e tube. I think it might be fluid coming from my inner ear but I don’t know how to find out if that is it. If it is fluid from inner ear I fear I may need and additional graft to plug that. The doctor said some of this material was also behind the ear drum but was not hard and dry, he described it as goop. I’m not familiar with that term maybe someone hear has had a similiar problem with inner ear and can enlighten me.

  • Hi Anita!

    First off, glad to know that your Doctor would allow you to practice playing the flute after only 5 weeks, now that’s a vote of confidence! In addition, you were careful enough not to play it for another 3 weeks so this is a example of how careful you are with your surgery and your outcome.

    So now you have made it to 8 weeks and the results sound to me as though you are the poster child for great surgery! Do you have anything to be worried about? Pain in the operating area itself, the eardrum doesn’t feel/sound quite right? I would think you are still healing and let’s face it, this is some nasty surgery! If you apply some slight pressure to your eardrum, does it feel like it leaks air at all? I would think that if it pressurizes, you are fine. I know it is a pain to wait for a review but you are a model patient and I think you need to relax and know that you can’t change anything good or bad about the success of this surgery. Best of luck and I’ll post to the board right after my next surgery in a weeks time.

  • Hi Dave,

    Yeah, well, I didn’t intentionally wait 3 weeks, I just hadn’t had the opportunity.

    A poster child? Hmm…I hope that stays true :) Well, I do have a slight bit a pain in the ear, but I think it’s still from healing, and from the bones getting used to moving, etc. I think a lot of the packing underneath is gone, because I’m not getting as much popping when swallowing…still getting some, but not as much. I don’t know how long my eardrum was nonexistent, but I’m pretty sure it was many years…so, things have to get used to working again — as before, I was mainly only hearing through the nerve. I don’t really know for sure how things are “supposed to feel or sound”. I do know that I am hearing differently. We were watching Rambo on TV yesterday, and there was a woods scene and you could hear crickets…but when I would plug the operated ear, I couldn’t hear them. I don’t know if I would’ve before surgery or not…I just thought it was interesting. Also, sometimes when my husband is talking (he has a deep voice), I will plug my “good” ear and I can sort of feel vibration in there, that I never felt before. I haven’t tried to pressurize my ear at all, intentionally – I’m scared to do that.

    Yeah, I know there’s nothing that can be done to change the success at this point…I just hope that things have stayed “perfect”, like they were 3 weeks ago. 2 weeks from today is my test :)

  • Hi Anita,

    Sounds as though you are caught in the middle of a waiting period and have the blues. I felt that way too, my next visit couldn’t come fast enough but I have that camera so I can take pictures all day if I need to find some hope. Did you try sitting in your car, playing some rock music with the base turned up and feel the vibration in your new ear? That works for me, I knew right away that the eardrum is here to stay if I can feel that vibration.

    I passed my pre-admin for my next operation and I feel pretty good today, I think I had a minor infection in my bad ear and that set me back a bit but ear drops seemed to have cured that issue. The only discomfort I have now is that full or packed feeling in my bad ear. The operated ear feels normal now with little hearing improvement. When I pressurize it though, it takes away some of the base and I can hear clearly, needs a tent pole in there or something!

    Best of luck, I’ll report back next week.

  • Yes, I guess you could say that I have the blues…the blues that I don’t see my doc for confirmation that everything is still going well for another 2 weeks. I do feel vibrations in that ear…getting more so now that it seems some of the packing underneath is gone. I wish I had a camera like yours…just couldn’t afford one right now.

    Glad your doing better and that you passed your pre-admin! Good luck on Tuesday!!

  • Anita,

    If you are feeling vibrations in that ear you are fine. Its impossible to create a vibration without the eardrum being intact. I understand why you wouldn’t want to pressurize that ear, its scary and possibly harmful but it does assure you that everything is fine. The camera is a great way to see if there is still some packing in there. My Doc dyed the skin graph so it is easier to view too and that gives me a chance to study it carefully. I can install the camera, pressurize my eardrum and see it moving back and forth. I know there are no holes there and that it is set for life now.

    My biggest issue in the weeks ahead is getting rid of those staples after my next surgery, man, I hate those!

    Take care and best of luck to you.

  • I’m sure it’s fine, since she did give me permission to play my flute….it’s just my own insecurities about it I guess.

    Staples?? I didn’t have staples…my doc used dissolvable stitches for the incision.

  • DaveB, wanted to wish you all the very best for your Surgery on Monday 28th January, will be sending loads of quick healing vibes your way. Just think of all the water sports you will be we able to involve yourself with this summer!!!!
    All the very best!

  • Esther, hope you’re not too down in the dumps about your ear. Just know there is a solution for everyone, and your surgeon will work it out for you!!! Stay positive.

  • Hi Gerry!

    Thanks for those kind words!! I have my surgery officially booked for 12:30 PM on Tuesday so I have one more day to enjoy that packed feeling! Heck, I have one more day to be able to touch that ear without yelling ouch! Hard to believe that a guy who has never really had any problems in my life, other than broken bones from being a goof, needs two of these surgeries now. I’m hoping I get a better “volume hearing ” result than the first one.

    Thanks again and I’ll be sure to post to the board when I’m up to it. This one is just the tympanoplasty itself, from behind, and nothing to do with mastoid issues. Cheers everyone!

  • Oops sorry, off by a day! Well enjoy a nice relaxing meal tonight DavidB, and do post once you are up to it! (Its kind of easier now that you’ve had the first one done and know what to expect).
    Best wishes, you’ll do great!!!

  • Thanks again Gerry!

    You were ready there, …. more encouragement for me which is good. Surprisingly, I’m more worried about this one knowing how long it takes to recover and the fact that the last one wasn’t successful in terms of sound. My surgeon begged me to let that one go and have faith that we can do much better with the less damaged ear. This is nasty surgery, a lot can go wrong and you know that better than most. The law of averages is on my side and I’m going through with this to get to the other side which is a much better standard of living this summer. Besides, my floppy ear needs another that looks just like it!! LOL

    How has everyone’s elses ear healed, is it back to normal after only 3 1/2 months? Mine is out by 1/4 inch and feels un-attached compared to the right ear. I know I’m expecting a lot here but this is all we can do while we wait to go into surgery. Take care and look after yourself my friend!

  • DaveB, yes it takes time to heal but on the plus side it tightens up the eardrums to have two done and actually might make your ear (which you have already had operated on), work better!!! You won’t be needing that tent pole, lol. Just look at it as only one moment in time, and when you are in the water this summer coming, you’ll think it all worth while. You know how I was complaining how my newly operated ear was putting pressure on the older ear, well that has now sorted itself out and pressure in both ears is feeling great, so this is what you can look forward to!! I think you are really brave, and you can do this!!! You have to think of the pay off.

  • Gerry!!

    Well you are my biggest off-shore fan club so I’ll have to do it now! I like your idea that it might “balance” things out here. As you well know, things don’t function well when you are missing an ear drum. I never think much about my new one but I’m always bothered by my open ear. Anyway, its the waiting that drives you crazy, not the operation. The recovery is slow and that’s a pain. I had my hair shaved short to get ready for quick cleaning this time around. You would think I was a pro or something wouldn’t you? Ha!

    I will report back as a next surgery and mention the various changes and issues for others to read. I appreciate this site as, I, like many others was left to worry about how things might go. Talk to you on the other side!!

  • Good luck tomorrow, Dave! :)

  • Well, I was going to get on here last night and wish you good luck Dave, but I forgot :( I wouldn’t count that first one out just yet, they do say it can take 6-8 months before you know for sure how much hearing you get.

    My ear feels a lot better in terms of the outside…but then, my ears are really small, so it probably didn’t take as long. Inside, I occasionally have some pain…but I attribute that to the nerves continuing to heal and the drum healing further. I’m looking forward to my hearing test next week!!

  • Hi Gerry!

    Well, its over with, I can tell you I was pretty disappointed to have to go through this surgery after only 3 1/2 months post my first round. But now it is done and it was so different from the first go. At a later date I’ll come back to the board and explain what’s different and where I stand today. Thanks for your support, I quoted you to my wife 20 minutes before surgery and it meant alot to me to be able to shrug it off and move on with life. Your comment was to the effect that, “it was a once in a moment thing” and you are so right! Thanks bud.

    I think you gave me some good luck!!! Its over, now we heal, you know that of course.

    Timing doesn’t matter, as an alumni of this surgery, I know I would get your best wishes and support. As I mentioned to Gerry, I’ll tell you all about it when I can get stable here! Take care.

  • DaveB
    Mate, welcome back to the land of the living!!! Really pleased you made it through surgery, now just rest and take it really really easy.
    Will look forward to your updates!!!

  • Thanx Gerry and all of you for the encouragement i am set to go through it a second time. this time round i will be more careful

  • Hi Esther, well thats great that you are not going to give up at the first hurdle! From experience, ensure that your ear is totally dry and not weeping before another surgery (I’m sure your surgeon will ensure this). Take care of yourself (eat healthy foods), so your immune system can help heal your ear quickly and help you bounce back after your next op. Post once you know your new date. All the very best!!!

  • Hello everyone!

    I thought I would give a brief update on my surgery from this past Tuesday. First off, it is not anything like my Oct 22 surgery in basically any way. I have been bleeding for 2 straight days before it stopped. That means internally as in the taste of blood made me ill after awhile. Externally, it is dripping away constantly until late yesterday afternoon. It has stopped now with just minor amounts coming out. The reason for this was the simple fact that my ear looked almost normal after the surgery this time, it hadn’t begun to swell until later that evening and from that point on, there has been great pressure on my face as far over as my nose. With antibiotic gel on the incision, and more packing fluid in the ear channel, the cuts were not able to dry up and seal. Today, the swelling is dormant, the size is about where we were late last night and things are looking up. My first surgery was not like this at all. As for the pain it is much less than last time too. I had to take some pain killers when the swelling went up but that was it. I felt pain in the center of the surgery, didn’t feel any pain there with the last operation.

    The ear feels almost normal to touch and my taste buds work normally too. I had taste problems and my ear was totally numb the first time. Granted I had much more work done on the first ear, this one was an anterior tympanoplasty with fascia. The other one included plenty of bone infection.

    I conclude be saying that I have high hopes for this one, it just feels much more stable. I looked in the channel with my camera and it is full of packing and blood clotting. Looks great. My camera shows my first ear drum as looking really healthy too, purple due to the dye used to brighten up the surface for pictures and there are plenty of veins running through that first ear drum too. I see my Doctor this Wednesday to have my first checkup and to remove some of the gel pack and staples. The staples don’t even bother me and I’m now sleeping well too. Everything just feels better this time around! So far, and unlike last time, there are zero noises going on in there, just some temporary ringing! That’s it for now, thanks to everyone who was thinking about me, I appreciate that!

    Hi Ester!
    I do want you to know that each surgery is a little bit different, I hope they can see what was unique about yours and perfect it this time around. I might have to have my first one redone too so I understand how you feel. My first one is a complete success aside from no improvement in hearing. They might be able to fix that will another operation so I might be heading back as well. I can see, this second one went much better than the first one.

  • Just wondering…has anyone who posts here been treated at either the House Clinic or Univ of Iowa?

  • Hi Dave,

    I’m glad to hear this round sounds like it going better than the first. Thanks for the update. Happy healing.

    Sorry, Jt – I wasn’t treated at either of those places.

    I got my packing out yesterday. It feels good not to hear that crunch when I move my jaw. I’m anxious for my hearing to get better, but I think that may not happen for a 2-3 months. I’ll have my hearing test in 3 months, and I should hopefully be able to fly then, too.

  • Anita – Have you had your hearing test yet? Let us know how it goes.

  • Felicia – I have my hearing test tomorrow!!!! I’ve been waiting 5 weeks for this!! Today is 10 weeks since surgery.

  • Hi Felicia!

    I’m having a much better time with this surgery, it was done differently than my first one … and on an ear that was missing the tympanic membrane only. So far, no taste issues, no numb feeling near the surgery, and I can feel almost normal feedback from the ear itself, my other one is still a bit numb.

    I went to my first followup appointment and an assistant Doctor removed packing for about 1/2 hour. That helped with the hearing a bit as I couldn’t hear a thing in that ear since the surgery. She peeked under the last bit of packing and said the eardrum looks very good so far. I haven’t sneezed , coughed or yawned this time around either! Everything looks good for a more normal recovery. I have to go back and read some of these messages that will give me the timeline for the dissolving of the gel packing within the middle ear. Mine is packed solid and hasn’t begun to make any noises. In my last surgery I had packing noises withing the first week and it lasted only about 2 weeks. I seem to be following a pattern that many on this site are going through now. That makes me feel more confident in this operation.

    I’m using Ciprodex drops 3/3/day for 7 days and things are washing out of the outer ear today. Time to review some of your posts and see what your gel pack experience was like!

    Good luck Anita!!!

  • Hi all!

    So, I had my appt yesterday, but she decided to wait to give me my hearing test :( She couldn’t see the whole drum, as part of it was being blocked by some flaking – that she said is normal healing. I assume it’s the drum thinning itself? I’m not really sure. So, anyway, she wants to give it more time to heal before giving me a hearing test. I go back on March 19th – the next day will be 16 weeks.

  • Hi Anita!

    As long as you are happy, we are too! Not sure what the flaking is either, but waiting is not a bad thing. I believe you are hearing well anyway right? Perhaps you can comment on how well it is going or whether you still see changes in your recovery? I would like to know when you first noticed that the middle ear gel packing was dissolving? I have a more normal surgery on my right ear and it is packed full of gel. I would like to know when others first felt the packing beginning to clear and how long it took for the middle ear to open up and provide better hearing.

    My outer ear is draining still, this is after 12 days of post-surgery. I think this one is going to be a winner but right now, I can barely hear anything. Not much more to report, this time we didn’t get infected in the incision behind the ear and so that pain isn’t there for me. The ear is moving back into position as the swelling goes away. I will take some pictures of the new eardrum tomorrow.

    Take care and be patient!

  • Hi Anita – Don’t feel bad about having to wait a bit longer for your hearing test. I’m about 5 weeks after surgery. I saw my ENT for the first time after surgery last week. He took the gauze packing out from my ear canal. I was thinking he would want to see me next month for a hearing test, but he actually doesn’t want to see for another 3 months. I won’t get my hearing test until early May. I’m hoping to get cleared for flying and getting the ear wet then, too.

    Where do you feel your hearing is at right now on your I operated ear compared to what it was like before surgery?

    Dave – it’s difficult for me to try to assess whether the middle ear gel packing is dissolving or not. I haven’t felt anything trickling down my throat yet. I do hear noises, though, sometimes, like a crackling. I’m guessing that’s from the middle ear gel packing breaking up. My operated ear is still pretty full, but I’m only at 5 weeks. Hearing in my operated ear is no where near where it used to be yet but I’m hopeful. The good thing about getting the gauze packing out is that I don’t get as much tinnitus. Also, I’m not having as much trouble as I used to have before in noisy places at separating and honing in on particular sounds.

  • Dave, just wondering about you and how you are getting on? When is your next check up? I hope its all going well for you!

  • Hi Gerry!

    Sorry for the delay, I have been really busy lately. The surgery is far better this time around than my first one. I have all of the classic symptoms this time around, some pain, that full or packed feeling in the middle ear, plenty of liquid coming out of the ear channel, poor hearing etc.. But today something moved in the middle ear and the pressure went away and I could hear very clearly. It lasted less than a minute and never happened again but it was exciting.

    My latest surgery has already healed about as well as the 4 month old one. It’s closer to the original position and doens’t seem too tender right now. There was a slight infection that cleared up within 3 days. So everything looks good with this one, I will be sure to post to the board when the gel packing moves enough to allow me to hear. What this has proved is that the left side has not been a success when measured in terms of hearing. It is terrible and I imagine I’ll need something done to it again.

    I made a mistake today and pressurized the new ear a bit and the ear drum moved, I hope there is no damage and shouldn’t be since this was my only error in 18 days!

    Thanks for asking about me, I’ll be sure to report back to you guys when something changes, but suffice it to say, I’m really pleased with this surgery!!

  • DaveB, that is brilliant news about you getting the hearing coming in there for a bit, at times it will be super sonic and it will come and go to it settles. When is the next check up? I got a letter from my surgeon (a whole month earlier than expected) to tell me to come in on the 26th of this month as he wants to check progress, so I’m hoping for good news and hopefully never have to see him again, lol!!! (no hearing test scheduled which was a bit surprising). Keep posting, and I’ll update on the 26th (4months and 2 weeks after surgery).

  • Hi Gerry!

    That’s very intersting that they have called you in early. They must feel good about the healing process and outcomes. I would assume you will be able to fly? My next checkup is April 3rd, I have already had my staples taken out and the outer ear is clear of everything. I finished off a weeks worth of ear drops too. Its just that if this ear does open up, I won’t care when my next appointment is if I can hear again! This one seems like it will be so much better than the first surgery.

    Tell me, when did your inner ear gel pack start to break up and how do that progress? I’m dying to see some improvement ASAP, it hasn’t opened today a bit but yesterday, it continuously opened up for a few seconds. I’m at 3 weeks post-op on this coming Monday and it would be nice to see this one work out for me.

    Anyway, be sure to come back to the board and let us know if you’ll ever need this website again! Ha!

  • Hi DaveB!
    Well I live in hope its a good outcome!!! Fingers crossed. I’m not the best person to ask about the gel pack because mine took ages to break down, remember before Christmas I got checked and was advised to not fly to London. It wasn’t to I was out walking (after Christmas) that it started to pop and crackle, finally!!! So if it takes a while don’t stress it, it will happen. Yeah, I hope its a brilliant result for you as well, especially as you have had to have work on both ears, one has to work out!!!
    Don’t worry will be back to post the good, the bad and the ugly (behind my ear, it sure is ugly, rough cutting, I’ll be questioning the surgeon on that!!!)
    Looking forward to your update in April!!!!!

  • its good to be here… After 10 months of my surgery i found another serious problem… on last winter seasoN i moved to someother place and because of climate i caught cold and since from 3 months i’m suffering with cold… when i gone to my native place for the ear checkup my doctorr said you have an nasal probLem ( bon bend) .. Because of cold i got an ear infection its not at all healing at all … Now i’m bit worried about my health.. Seems like i need to gO for another surgery…. Every morning when i woke up i feels like there is some liquid coming out from my ear and bubbling sounds come out… And does it paInful to have an another cut on the same place for annother surgery??????

  • Boy Irman, that sounds rough to get to the 10 month stage and then to get problems. I hope your surgeon will sort it out, have you made an appointment time? I guess if they keep cutting the same place there would be loads of scar tissue in the healing so maybe the cut slightly above it? Something to question your doctor on? Get your ear checked as soon as you can that would be my advice to you, its always more reassuring to talk to the doctor and to get any worries sorted out! All the best!!!!

  • Hi Gerry!

    This second surgery is healing so quickly, the ear is closer to the home position then my 4 1/2 month surgery. It feels normal to touch and the only issue is the gel packing in the middle. I wish it would dissolve ASAP but we all want that don’t we? LOL

    Hi Omran,

    So sorry to learn that your think you surgery isn’t going to last. Do you know if this is the case or are you speculating that it must have failed? From what I can read, you think you might need a surgery to access the fluid in your ear? Something like a tube in the ear is the normal process for draining and drying out the space.

    If they were to do a full surgery (tympanoplasty) there would have to be a hole, one that doesn’t dry out and resolve itself by closing thereafter. They can’t do any surgical work while it is infected which leads me to believe you would be getting a tube in that eardrum and it will take months to decide its fate. Best of luck with that ear and please post to the board as soon as you know something.

    PS I have heard that a second surgery is about the same as the first in terms of discomfort, the eardrum the second time around is created with a slightly smaller surface area which won’t be noticed in the end. Gerry is the expert on surgeries here though!

  • Hi all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Things are going pretty well, just passed the 14 week mark today. Yesterday, my ear was hurting some…it hasn’t hurt in weeks. Today, I have this “wet” feeling that I haven’t had in probably 4-6 weeks. I attributed it to the packing dissolving….so, it could still be that maybe, but it’s awfully annoying. Still waiting for my appt on March 19th and will hopefully get a hearing test. Hope you’re all doing well.

  • Hi Anita,

    Thanks for the update. I’m at 10 weeks, and every now and then I get that “wet” feeling and some sharp pains in my ear. I think it’s normal and is probably just the packing dissolving and the ear healing. I know that it is annoying, though. Maybe when you go for your hearing test on the 19th, your doctor will try to remove more packing. Keep us posted on how it goes. Best, Felicia

  • Hi Felicia,

    The only packing that would be left is that which is underneath the graft, if any at all. My ear still gets that popping sound from time to time when I swallow, thankfully not all of the time. My ear has been hurting, well, more of an achiness, off and on the last couple of weeks – really annoying!

  • EAR UPDATE (the long awaited results):

    Good news: My hearing HAS improved! The higher frequencies are closer to the “normal line” than before, and one is even ABOVE the normal line! Before, everything was under the “normal line”. The lower frequencies are slightly better, but not extremely great. But, all in all, this is better than it used to be.

    So-so news: She has determined the surgery to be a “partial take” (now that she was finally able to see the whole drum and get a good assessment of it), meaning that a small portion of the graft pulled away, so there is a small hole. This is still MUCH better than it used to be, considering the severity. She said that over time, the drum could continue to grow and shrink that hole, and should it get small enough, she could just go in and put a patch on it (which she told me at previous appts. is synthetic). Should the hole stay the same, then I *MAY* be looking at another surgery like the previous one, only not as severe.

    More good news: I no longer have to put a cotton ball covered with vaseline in my ear when I take a shower!!!!! After 4 months of this, it has gotten extremely old! (Tomorrow will be 16 weeks since surgery). I’ve always been a pro at taking a shower without getting water in my ear anyway. I will have to wear an ear plug should I decide to go swimming and put my head under the water – this is likely never to happen right now anyway, but she did give me a pair of ear plugs that fit my ear.

    At this point, she will continue to monitor it periodically. I don’t go back until September. If she can put a small synthetic patch on it to cover that, it would be much better than going through another surgery!

  • Hi Anita – That’s great news! I hope that hole starts to get smaller and close up. Thanks for keeping us updated. I’m at 11 weeks, and my next appointment with my ENT is 7 weeks away, when he will give me a hearing test…I’m so anxious to be able to fly and swim again (and stop wearing those cotton balls in the shower!)

  • Hello all, Wow, it’s amazing how many people are left to muddle out for themselves what is normal and what they should or should not be doing after their Tympanoplasty surgery! They asked me in the hospital… any questions? How are we supposed to know what to ask? They should tell you everything that is relevant to the success of your operation! No one told me not to blow my nose, or suppress a sneeze or not to pick up heavy objects, or that any packing was in my ear and could cause damage if you pressed on it etc etc etc. I feel very relieved to have the internet to turn to for advice, because it is sadly lacking in our medical profession apparently! In fact my whole reason for needing surgery was because my GP, after repeated visits to him with ongoing ear infection, which finally resulted in a small hole, made the hole larger by syringing my ear and blasting the hole wide open! He was then having me use ear drops that should never be used with a perforated ear drum! Finally it was ME that demanded he give me a referral to a specialist. I had my surgery two days ago and have not been in a great deal of pain as far as the ear and stitches. I’ve been fairly dizzy, but not yet to the point of nausea. My ear is ringing loudly and constantly at every pulse beat, but my main complaint is eating. To chew sends pain shooting up my bottom jaw into my ear and I feel a pressure on the inner side of the drum. I’m trying to eat soft foods, but even the slightest pressure can cause a shooting pain. I hope that stops soon. I also have some seepage of bloody liquid from the ear, but I gather from here that is normal. I lifted some heavy sections of tree trunk today, before I knew any better. No harm done I don’t think, but it would have been nice to have been warned not to do so before I left the hospital! So anyway, hanging in here and looking forward also to one day being able to not be afraid to submerge my head in water once again as well as hopefully, have better hearing.

    • Hi Jill!

      You are referring to many of the issues we all had right after our surgeries. I’m on my second one, first on October 22/2012 and the second on January 29th, 2013. And so I have two experiences with all of this. The ringing in the ears, the sore jaw for about 6 days, and the itching and drainage of the outer ear, all of this is normal. Depending on where they harvest your graft, the jaw muscle is going to be sore. As for packing, it is annoying on the exterior until you have your followup visit in about 9 days. Then you will feel much better as the stitches are removed, (if they don’t dissolve) and much of the packing comes out. Glad to hear you aren’t in that much pain, nice!

      I can’t compare my two surgeries as they healed so differently, my second one was so much better than the first for comfort and my ear went back to the home position in only 3 weeks. Perhaps you can tell us more about the type of surgery you had, Class II or something different? Mine are both CLass II tympanoplasties with the ear lifted from behind.

      Best of luck!

      • Hi DaveB, I hope I don’t have to go through this again like you. I hope you have better luck with the second surgery outcome. Today I had my first post op appointment with my ENT specialist. He seemed pretty pleased with my progress so far, although it will be another week before he removes my ear packing and stitches. I had the whole ear lift surgery and the specialist said the surgery was more involved than he expected. The ear bones were badly scarred from previous infections and he said he had to do a fair bit of drilling to enlarge the ear canal because of it. He said the drilling came very close to my jaw bone, which accounts for some of the jaw pain and also he took the skin graft from a muscle involved in chewing. He said the ear drum was very badly ruptured so here’s hoping the graft takes successfully. I’m still having a little dizziness, but that seems to be decreasing. I’m now able to chew better also. The specialist said I should be feeling a lot better still a few days from now. I mentioned I was disappointed that no one told me about the things I’m not supposed to be doing, such as suppressing sneezes and the rest, but he seemed to think avoiding those things made no difference one way or the other. Even so, I’d like to do everything I can to ensure the success of my operation.

        Thank you for taking the time to reassure me that all is normal. Best of luck for you and everyone else. I’ll let you know how I progress.

        • Jill, this sounds much like mine. I basically started with no ear drum – my ENT knew this going in. However, when she got down there, the bones were a bit scarred from previous infections (which I hadn’t had in 20 years). At least one of the three bones was misshapen, but thankfully it had good movement, so she was pleased. I don’t know how much drilling she may have done, but I do know that it took her 30 minutes longer than she had scheduled – she had 3 hours scheduled, took 3 1/2, because my ears are SMALL. If you read my last post, you’ll see results after 16 weeks.

          • Anita, it’s nice to know you’ve had a pretty good outcome from your surgery. Would have been even better without a small hole, but hopefully you won’t have to go through having your ear removed again. I’m really hopeful that mine will heal well and I’m eating very healthy foods full of antioxidants to help the healing process. It sounds like a very slow healing process, but I guess I can be very thankful my name came up so soon on the public health system surgery list. I really didn’t expect to get an operation for a year or more. As it is I only had to wait 4 months! So looking at it in that light, it’s like I have an eight month head start on getting back a normal ear drum. I’m glad I have the winter (southern hemisphere) to heal also, so hopefully when summer returns I do not have to worry about upturning my kayak and getting water in my ear. Twice this last summer I fell into the water, but both times managed to keep my head from going under.

            When I was having all the trouble, pre-perforated eardrum, with the infections, a dear friend of mine, who has hearing problems, advised me again and again not to make light of the situation and get specialist help… but I did not take the situation very seriously until it was too late. I guess the old saying “you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone” is very relevant. I have learned a good lesson from the experience if nothing else.

    • Jill – I had my first Tymp/Mast on the 21st and I agree with everything you wrote. Thank goodness for this website it’s so helpful! Yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes all are things that involve little chewing :) there is hope though, today day 7, I can actually chew again. Hang in there

      • Hi Jt, Thanks for your input. I managed to find things I could eat ok. Fish, chicken, scrambled egg, home made puree’d vegetable soups, stews, cereal, berries and yogurt. The more solid foods were more painful to handle obviously, but I found I could partially crush most of what I fed myself enough to swallow, although it took some of the joy from eating. I never lost any of my taste, so that was a plus I guess. I’m chewing much better now and have a lot less jaw pain. Actually Jt, I had my surgery at around 2pm on the 22nd of March, which would have been 11pm, on the 21st LA time, so there wasn’t much between our operations in time – only in miles. Speaking of miles, why did you have your surgery so far from home? I’m feeling a great deal better now btw, all round. I had a very severe migraine on Thursday/Friday, which knocked me off my feet. Give me surgery over migraines any day. It’s far less painful!

        • Hey Jill,
          Thanks for the reply, that’s actually kind of neat that we had the op on the same day-kind of (although I wish neither one of us had to go through this!) I too, ate almost all the same foods you mentioned :) While the board mentioned a lot of what to expect, I don’t really remember anyone talking about the pain when chewing…guess it depends on what type of surgery you have. My Dr. “sacrificed” my taste nerve because he didn’t want me to have issues with metal tastes that some people mention (which I guess can happen if the nerve is stretched/damaged). On day three, I woke up with an intense migrane that lasted nearly all day. Dr. said might have been Vicodin or anesthesia but switched to Tylenol and was fine by day four. Just like everyone else I’m a little paranoid about messing something up although I have to go back for my second surgery in Dec. as long as the Cholesteotomas haven’t grown back they plan on putting in a Titanium Prostetic implant. I actually went to the House Ear Clinic in LA, world renowned and amazing! Nearly all the ENTs I asked mentioned the House. Glad to hear you are feeling better, I am too :) each day gets a little easier. Sounds like you have a great specialist who answers all your questions….when is your next visit? Do you have packing in your ear? Did they go through the canal or did they go in from the back of your ear? Will your hearing be restored? On a fun note, where do you live…guessing somewhere cool like Australia?

          • Hi Jt,
            I got my ear severed for the op. Just had my second specialist visit today in fact and had the stitches and packing removed and a bit of house cleaning in the ear. The specialist said the ear is still quite inflamed inside, but did not seem too concerned about that. He said the ear drum is looking good at this point in time and he should be able to see if it was a successful graft when I return in two weeks. Mean time he prescribed some ear drops which he said should help with the inflammation and healing, which I am to use for 7 days only. Any problems before the two weeks – call him. It was great to get the stitches out, they were pulling very uncomfortably and also I finally got to wash my hair after two weeks without doing so.
            I’ve felt so much better in myself since last Sunday and able to get back into my usual activities. I’m a pretty active person, so I’m happy about that. My ear still feels blocked with gunk and still have the tinnitus. My hearing in slightly improved without the packing, but still quite impaired. It remains to be seen if my hearing will eventually return to normal or at least closer to normal than it’s been in some time. I’m very optimistic, at the moment, of a good outcome though.
            Good that you went to such a famous ear clinic. I guess you should be in the best hands there. Best of luck for everything going right for you, now and in the future. Sounds like your Cholesteatomas is a much bigger deal than my perforated ear drum. I guess I’m the lucky one! (I’ve just looked it up on Wikipedia.)
            I sincerely hope your ENT specialist manages to permanently fix the problem, without too much detriment to your hearing.
            You guessed right, I live in Western Australia. It has hardly been cool this Summer though and now still hotter than average temps into Autumn, but I know you meant cool in the term of good. Yes, it’s a good place to live.
            Glad you’re feeling better. May you only improve on that.

  • Happy you found us, Jill – don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you have. It sounds like your GP is smartest. How is your ENT?

    • Hi Felicia, Thank you for your time in replying to me. I have changed my GP, as I was very unhappy with the treatment he gave me. I am extremely happy with my ENT specialist, he is very easy to talk to and explains everything I ask about well and is never in a rush to push me out the door and bring in the next patient. I trust he has done a good job with the eardrum reconstruction although obviously I can’t know for sure at this point. He did sew my ear on to match evenly with the other though, so cosmetically I’m pleased.

  • Hi everyone!

    Thought I would update the board on my second surgery, I have been very quiet about it as I ran into some problems in the past 4 weeks. I did get an infection in the middle ear, it pushed hard against the new eardrum and finally broke the seal for about 40% along the outer edge of the graft. And so it looks like the “glue” the holds the overlap together gave way and now I can see though the gap. I can close it by using a cotton tip to gently push it back into place but it will not grow together without some help. I see my Doctor next week and hopefully he can score the two surfaces slightly and repact it again without a full blown surgery. I see all of this clearly with my otoscope camera as you know.

    This whole surgery has been painless but I was unable to see my surgeon in time to get on drugs and stop the infection. The pressure in my middle ear was so strong that I had to stop driving, I couldn’t look down or I would collapse so this was serious. The drugs and drops cleared it up and my balance is slowly coming back.

    I’ll report back when I see my surgeon and we know what is planned for me. Good luck to all.

  • Hey everyone – I thought I’d post this tidbit about flying as that’s what originally brought me to this website. As I type, I’m on a plane back to Florida just 7 days after my first Tymp/Mastiodectomy (also had three Cholesteotomas) removed. Because everything is packed so tightly the Dr gave approval to fly. The ability to fly was huge because I had the surgery done in LA and I live in FL! ~ Best to all

  • Hi Anita and Jill!

    Thanks for those wishes, the infection is now gone, my face feels much better. My balance is way off still but it is improving and I’m driving again. I cleaned things up in there and have some good pictures of the hole in my new eardrum. Actually, it is the underlay of the graft and the ridge that never connected. And so, like you Anita, I have this portion of the surgery that failed to take. I see my surgeon on April the 3rd and will report back. I would say that 40% of the ridge/graft connection has a slight gap, I can close it anytime I like but it opens up again on its own. I hope he can score it and get it to bleed, than pack it with gel-pack and see if it will close. I knew I had a hole there when the ear drops kept going right threw into my mouth! That infection really blew up, placed so much pressure on my brain that I could barely walk. I’ll post to the board with the results of the meeting.

  • Hi gang!!

    Thought I would pop back and tell you more about my neverending story. I went to the surgeons office on Wednesday and told him I have an opening where the underlay of the fascia failed to make and hold contact with the edge of the eardrum material. He looked in and saw a scab like structure there and I told him that under that scab is the gap that I saw with my camera. He thought about it for awhile and concluded that if the gap doesn’t close on its own, I would have to go in and have my ear removed and stitched back on, … and a new eardrum too. All I really care about is going through that entire operation again.

    What I didn’t tell him was that I did some of my own operating, I looked in there and saw the gap and closed it with a Q-tip!! Much to my surprise, the I can’t pass air through that eardrum any more. Even when I pressure up quite a bit nothing happens. An so I see him again in 2 months when he “hopes” it will heal on its own not knowing that I’m the one who closed the gap myself. I might tell him this in about ….. NEVER!!!

    The short of this is that there is still hope for my surgery even though it has failed. The skin was fresh enough as I was using ear drops at the time and that helps a lot. I’m going to place a few drops in my ear on Sunday and see if any of them go right through. Let’s hope this home remedy works!

  • I just finally finished reading all the post in this blog. All I can say is WOW!!! I had my surgery on March 22nd 2013, just two days before my 50th birthday. My Ent assured me that it was just a simple procedure that he would do on a Friday and I could go back to work on Monday. He said just a small incision behind the ear where he would take a piece of and close up the hole in my eardrum. (I have had ear infections since a child) He also assured me that I would be feeling just fine the next day to go to lunch with my sisters for my birthday. After my surgery, I was awaken by the nurse telling my husband and daughter that I had been vomiting and she got me a ginger ale (with a straw) and a cracker that I thought tasted stale (my taste buds were messed up). She proceeds to go over the dos and don’ts of after surgery. As soon as she read the part about the straw she jerked it out of the cup…LOL I would have thought that she would have known not to do that. Anyway, my husband tells me that there was a lot more damage then expected and that the ENT had to rebuild my whole ear drum since it was paper thin and the bones were touching the ear drum. So I had this big cup (looked like a sports cup)on the side of my head. I wasn’t feeling any pain since I was on the pain meds. I have a low tolerance for medicine which means I can take tylenol and it makes me sleepy. Of course my bad ear is on my right side which is the side I sleep on. So that was the only problem I had that night besides vomiting and that only happened once while my husband left me alone to go get my prescriptions filled. I was feeling fine the next day and went to lunch for my party. And at 5:00 pm that day I was able to take my sports cup off my head. I was so excited. But to our surprise, behind my ear was cut from top to bottom and was glued shut and I had 2 stitches inside the little tab of my ear canal. I did not know until the nurse called on Monday to check on me that he did a flip over. On the 3rd day, I was feeling like crap and it was my 50th birthday. I was suppose to go to Olive Garden and my kids were coming over. But no Olive Garden for me and I barely could sit up with my kids while they visited us. I was also not able to go to work on Monday. I worked ver few hours that week even though I work at a desk. I was in pain and felt so weak the whole time. Washing my hair the first time was done by my husband in the sink and then I learned to put a sandwich bag over my ear while in the shower and I am still after almost 3 weeks still doing that. My second week was much better. I was so excited about going back to the ENT on wednesday to have the packing removed because I couldn’t stand the sounds in my head and the feeling of being blocked up (like a horrible ear infection). Well to my surprise again, he couldn’t get all the packing out and I was devastated. He said to continue with the ear drops for another week (which we had been doing twice a day but didn’t even know they were to be softening the packing) and he would try again.
    So here I am today waiting for 5:00 to go back again to try to get the remaining packing out. I am not getting my hopes up and from all of your post, it sounds like that just getting the packing out is not going to get rid of the roaring sound in my head. I am also very worried that the graft did not take. I can’t afford to have another surgery to fix it nor do I want to. So many days I wish I had never done this to myself. I am hoping that eventually that feeling will go away and I will be able to hear again. I had only lost 20 % of my hearing due to the hole and he says that I should get most of that back.
    I enjoyed reading everyone’s post on this blog and it does make me feel a little better knowing that my surgery was pretty normal. I was just not informed correctly from my ENT on what to expect after surgery. And it could be that he didn’t know my ear was going to be in such a bad shape. As a child, my parents didn’t take us to the DR’s like they should have and so my ear infections just caused so much damage with scar tissue. My GP that I have had for over 20 years always just put me on antibiotics and would say that I had a lot of scar tissue in there. Never once did she say…oh I see a hole in your ear drum. It was actually discovered by an allergist who seemed totally shocked it looked so bad.
    Thank you all for your post and I wish I had found this site before my surgery. It has been the most helpful!!!

  • Hi Lisa, You and I are only months apart in age. My 50’th was in January. Sounds like all is going pretty well for you at the moment. I hope the outcome is a good one and you will not need repeat surgery and your hearing is restored or at least improved. I’ve just finished my week of ear drops and still getting occasional small ear pains, but on the whole I think there is an improvement. My ear is still tender and if I get over tired is seems to feel worse, but I expect that it will continue to improve. The tinnitus is still there, but I think it’s not as loud as it was, either that or I’m just getting used to it. My hearing has improved on what it was last week, but is still not as good as the other ear. I see my specialist on Thursday and I’m optimistic he will have good news for me on the graft. I think it has been successful, as the ear drops did not pass though at any time and when I very cautiously blew my nose, through necessity, no wind blew out my ear. I will be very disappointed if my optimism is premature. Anyway… Best of luck to you.

  • Thanks Jill. They got all the packing out except what has to dissolve behind the eardrum. He said that could take months. The good news is, he said it looks like the graft took and no more hole and that it all looked good. I still can’t hear out of that ear except maybe 5 %. And I don’t have to go back to him for another month when they will do another hearing test. He did say that my hearing still would not be back fully by then but they still want to check it then. I still regret having this done but I guess one day when I am able to go swimming and not get an infection from it, I will be thankful. Right now, I still have pain kind of like having a constant ear ache and of course the roaring sound comes and goes depending on my activity. I am thankful for this blog that Ricky started otherwise I would have thought I was abnormal all this time. Probably would have drove my Dr nuts calling him…LOL Hope everyone else’s procedure has turned out well.

    • Hi Lisa, The specialist told me the shooting pains in the ear are all part of the “healing process”. I can’t say I really regret having the op, because it will be well worth it to be able not to worry about water in my ears again, but I certainly wouldn’t want to have to go through it again, so I’m desperately hoping to hear the graft was a total success. I’ll let you know what that verdict is on Thursday. I am having quite some discomfort in my head above my ear, in the area the graft was taken from. I hope that is also part of the “healing process”. That is really my only concern at the moment. Yes, I and I’m sure everyone else who has been through this procedure, am very thankful to Ricky, because being able to read and discuss our concerns and results is of great benefit to one and all. I think however, the medical professionals should also have a read and perhaps they would realize how much we are left in the dark about what to expect, correct aftercare and address any possible important info and concerns BEFORE we need to ask.

  • Hey Jill,
    I just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and your Dr. visit on Thurs.

    Best of Luck,

  • Thank you Jt :). Nice of you to think of me. The appointment yesterday went well. I had my ear vacuumed again and my specialist said the healing was going well and it looked like it has been successful, but I have a very narrow ear canal, so it’s difficult to see as I still have some swelling, so he said he will be able to tell me definitely next time, in a month, when I go. He seemed a bit concerned when I told him my hearing was only about 50% in that ear. I should have asked more about the hearing loss and what is expected, but I just didn’t think to at the time. I did say my main objective was that the graft was a success and so I was delighted that he told me he thinks it has been. I had been so concerned about the graft that everything else seemed secondary. Anyway I’m stoked that all looks good there and now it’s just sit and wait for the next appointment and see if my hearing improves in the mean time. How are you progressing Jt? I’m sure you must have had a few appointments since your op?

    • Hey Jill,
      I’m so excited for you and the great news that the graft was a success! From everything I’ve read and been told about the hearing loss, things should get better with time. Do you have or maybe I should ask, did they put any packing in the middle ear? Perhaps that might explain why your hearing isn’t quite where it was? Did you get your hearing tested this time? It might help establish a starting point so that as time passes you can see how things are progressing?

      Other than my pre-op, I have not yet returned to the Dr. Three wks after the surgery I started Ciprodex drops to break down packing. After a month of drops (2x daily) I’m scheduled for a visit to my local ENT to have the packing removed and check on the graft (my visit is on May 2 and time seems to be moving very slow – Lol).

      I won’t have any hearing improvement until the next surgery in Dec. but I’ve come to terms with that. I’d like to be able to shower, wash my hair, etc. with the fear of water getting in my ear though. Did your specialist say anything about that? I know you are a water girl :) I’ve read about custom ear plugs that are supposed to help? Any thoughts?

  • Jill, I am glad to hear that it looks like your surgery was successful. I am still not hearing but maybe 15% in my new ear but I did ask my Dr about it and he said that I still have packing behind the eardrum that had to dissolve and also the eardrum has to thin out to be able to hear again. So, I would assume you not hearing but 50% is probably normal. Do you still have packing behind the eardrum??? My tinitus is still bad and I also am still getting the shooting pain. But I am getting through it and am looking forward to be able to hear a whole conversation. I have a bad issue with any background noise drowning out a conversation, like a vacuum running or loud rooms in restaraunt. I work at a small airport where there is constant mechanical noises in the hanger where the guys are working on the planes. If I have to walk out there, I get major pain shooting in my ear. I would hope it is normal. I also still have the itch in the ear canal. Please let me know if all this is normal. I don’t go back to the Dr until May 6 and will be having the first hearing test done.

    • Hi Lisa!

      I read your message and I have to tell you that everything you have concerns with, are normal at this stage of your recovery. You would still have plenty of gel-packing in the middle ear and that will greatly reduce your hearing. When you start to hear some crackling noises, popping and a wet sound/feel, that is when you will be losing some of that packing. When the packing goes, you will have moments of hearing better, clearer followed by some full feeling in there. You haven’t mentioned any of these noises yet so I would think you are having a normal response to healing.

      It would be normal for a residual amount of packing to still be inside your outer ear area as well. Then, as you mentioned, the skin needs to dry out completely and tighten up a bit as well. Others can confer with my comments, but to me, you are doing well. We all know about how multiple sounds at one time can drive you nuts. My concern would be your ringing in the ear, let’s hope that improves soon. Best of luck!

      • Hey DaveB
        Thanks for commenting on my post. I do have the popping and crackling sounds. It took two visits to get the packing out of the ear canal. I do still have the gel behind the eardrum. I have that some of you have to put Ciprodex drops in the ear after the packing comes out but my Dr has me on no drops. I did have the drops to loosen the packing but nothing since that. I guess different DR do different things.
        I am just glad this is almost over and I since the graft took, I don’t have to worry about having it done again. I couldn’t afford to have it done again either. I am so thankful for my insurance. the surgery center tried charging my insurance $21,000 just for the surgery.

  • I’m so glad this place is still up and running. I consulted it two years ago when I had my first tympanoplasty. I just had my second 8 days ago. The first was completely successful – the second perforation was caused by an injury a few months ago, unfortunately.

    I’m due for my first follow-up appointment with my surgeon in 2 days. I’m freaking out a little right now because I’m having sensations I didn’t have the first time, namely a sensation of cold air through my ear when I inhale deeply. I still have packing in my ear, there’s been virtually no discharge the past day or two and very little pain. I actually feel quite good aside from this awful feeling of air blowing through my ear, as if there’s still a hole. I don’t even how how it’s possible to feel such a thing when the packing is still in place.

    I’m trying to be calm and wait until my appointment on Monday but it’s hard. Has anyone experienced a similar sensation?

  • Hi Alex, DaveB, Lisa, Jt and everyone else. I went away for the weekend and see it’s been a hive of activity around here since I left. I still have the tinnitus too Lisa, I think I’ve just learned to zone out of it most of the time. I do feel like a build up of pressure from time to time in the ear, but never have I felt the wind blow through as it used to do before the operation Alex… I’d be very concerned about that if I were you. I think you should ring your surgeon and see what he/she says. I guess Monday is pretty close now though anyhow. I know what you mean about back ground noise distorting conversations Lisa. When I went out for dinner with friends and they were all talking among themselves over a singer in the back ground I couldn’t understand anything more than a word here or there. I felt very frustrated and isolated. My hearing has improved a bit since that night, but I still have to ask people to repeat themselves a lot even in with no back ground noises. I do not get much ear pain any more, apart from the wound site. That often gets sore in the evening when I’m tired. Also the surgeon accidentally sewed a couple of hairs into the wound, even though I especially braided my hair the day of the op to keep it out of the way. The skin healed around the hairs making them impossible to remove properly, but my son had a go at it getting them out with a pair of tweezers, but I did hear them both snap. My son said there was some puss activity happening in the trapped hair areas, so now I just have to hope any hair still remaining in the wound will not cause any infections. The wound seems better now the hairs are not protruding. I assume I have packing still behind the ear drum, but I did not ask about it. I really will have to start writing down the questions I have, so I don’t forget to ask. I have not been given a hearing test yet. Also Jt, thanks for the congrats, but they are still a little premature. The surgeon seemed pretty confident the graft has been successful, but stressed that my unusually narrow ear canal makes it difficult to get a good view, especially with it still being somewhat swollen, so he said he should be able to tell me definitely that it is successful or not in a month. I got my exterior packing removed on my second visit. I then used the Ciprodex drops for one week only. Two drops three times a day. The surgeon said they would be helpful to help reduce the inflammation that I had inside the ear. Then I had to wait another week to before I saw him and obviously there is still some inflammation, but he did not give any more drops. I guess I should count myself very lucky Lisa. My op cost me nothing and neither have any of my follow up visits. They are all covered by Medicare – our public health system. I could have paid and had the op earlier, but I chose to wait until a place was available on the public operation list and luckily did not have a long wait. Good luck Alex. Good luck all. How’s your ear now DaveB? Gotta go.. hubby’s nagging.. nag nag nag! lol.

  • Hello All,

    I had a tympanoplasty on my left ear on April 30, 2013. Like most, I have had many ear problems dating back to childhood. I had tubes placed in both my ears on four different occasions and experienced recurrent ear infections in both ears for the past 30+ years. I have experienced perforated ear drums in the past (most due as a result of a cold and bad sneeze), and each time they were treated with a paper-patch. For years I was a competitive swimmer and also scuba dive, so besides the issue of hearing loss, having properly working eardrums is very important.

    Anyhow, I am 6 days out from surgery and have experienced many of the issues the people on this blog have. Despite my perforation being 20% in the rear of the eardrum, my surgeon had to take the postauricular approach, as I have a smaller than normal ear canal. The first two days after my surgery I was in extreme pain and could not sleep; even Oxycodone would not relieve the pain or help me sleep. The third day after surgery I experienced debilitating nausea. By day four I began to get used to the pain as it started to diminish; this was also when I began to notice annoying side affects that on day 6 post surgery are making recovery annoying. 1) Everything I eat tastes like metal. 2) The ringing, pulse, itching and other random sensations in my ear have forced me to sleep with a sound machine in order to drown out the crazy sounds. 3) My operated ear appeared normal from the front view up until day 5, now at day 6 my operated ear is noticeably protruding from my head. 4) The dizziness has not diminished. 5) Loud noises like TV or a lot of people talking at once is very bothersome, trying to speak with someone with a lot of background noise around is almost impossible.

    Anyhow, tomorrow, 7 days post surgery is my first follow-up appointment. I am happy to go see my surgeon just for reassurance that everything is healing as it should. My head where the graft was harvested is very tender and behind the ear where the stitches are located is beginning to swell, so seeing the doctor will ease some of my worries.

    I will start to post my updates and process as I heal. So far so good, I know better days have to be ahead.

    BTW – Prior to surgery I had significant hearing loss (in need of hearing aids), so I am happily looking forward to the day I can turn on the radio in my car and hear the bass of a song.

    Happy healing to all!

    • Hi Jai!

      Welcome to the board! I’m so sorry to hear about your many issues, we have all gone through most of them ourselves and feel for you. I’ll come back to the board when you post another message regarding your follow-up visit with the surgeon. Best of luck and hang in there!

    • Hello All,

      So I am now a little over two months post surgery and many things have happened. My first post-op appointment at 7 days post surgery was very disappointing, my surgeon said virtually none of the packing had dissolved, the stitches in the rear of the ear had started to swell and a few actually came open (partially my fault, despite my surgeon wanting to cut my hair during surgery, I demanded he do what he had to in order to prevent from cutting my hair, which I had been growing for many years years.) from the pulling on my scalp from putting my hair in a ponytail.

      Anyhow, I went back to my surgeon two weeks out from surgery and the packing still was not dissolving, I could virtually hear nothing out of my ear, I still had moderate pain, and all the side effects remained. The 4 week visit was the same bad news. At each of the visits the surgeon used the operating microscope to manually remove as much packing as possible, but out of caution did not want to remove any packing the was directly in contact with the graft. I continued to use the Ciprodex as directed for about 6 weeks post surgery.

      At the 6 week visit, I was feeling much better, many of the side effects I had experienced were now gone and I felt my hearing was starting to improve. Today I am about 10 weeks post surgery and I feel great, my ear still wont clear (as instructed by my surgeon to try a few times a week) , but for the first time in years when I hold my nose and gently blow, air doesn’t come out of my ear!

      While I am feeling much better these days, everything isn’t without continued side effects. The scare incision behind my ear is still extremely sensitive, I still have no feeling in the top half of my ear, the area under the graft site on the side of my head is still very sensitive, I constantly feel like the inside of my ear itches, although I cant do anything about it, and sleeping is still difficult because all of the sounds I ear.

      In all, I would have the surgery over again if I had to, and am looking forward to swimming again very soon — I already have clearance from my doctor, just have to build of the courage!

  • Hi Jai,

    Sorry to see you had so much trouble. Sounds like I got off pretty easy in hindsight! I have the same problem with the narrow ear canal. I was shocked when the specialist said he used a drill to break down scar tissue in there! Don’t worry about the dizziness. I had that for a good week or so and it’s quite normal to that point. I hope your specialist will have good news for you when you see him/her.

    It seems to be quite a drawn out healing process. I still have the ringing in my ear and the ear is still not hearing as well as the other one, but I’d say it’s 75% hearing now rather than 50%. I’d like to hope it will regain all the hearing, but as I’ve said before, what really matters is that the graft has taken and I believe it has.

    All I can say is keep your chin up as well as your optimism. Also, eat healthy and avoid unhealthy habits. Personally I strongly believe looking after your body goes a long way in helping it heal it’s self. You should start to feel progressively better soon.

    Jt, hope your checkup brought good news for you?

    Bye for now,

  • Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to give something again and help others such as you aided me.

  • Hi everyone,
    I’m scheduled to have tympanoplasty next week on May 29.
    I’d like to find out if anyone was able to hear anything after the surgery? I can’t imagine waking up completely deaf.
    I’m having second thoughts about the surgery.

  • My surgery got postponed.

  • I had my surgery last year September. My hearing has not changed at all. I still have this poppong sound in my ear that’s very annoying. There’s this uncomforable pain in my ear and I don’t know if this is normal, can anybody relate?

  • I just had eardrum repair on Friday, 6/28/13. A graft was taken from inside my ear. My surgeon went through the ear canal. I was given a prescription for pain med but no antibiotic. Did everyone else have an antibiotic ? I am still really tired and dizzy. Loud noises hurt. I am trying to only take Advil. My pain is bearable but pretty constant. I have had the hole for almost 40 years and had the repair to improve hearing. Yesterday I had opposite side facial numbness but it went away. Are we not to strain in lifting or not bend over at all? My dr follow up is in three weeks. Am I not to remove any packing on my own? So glad to found this site! Thanks so much

  • Hi all – I have a question that I’m hoping someone can help me with. It’s been about 6 months since I had tympanoplasty performed on my right eardrum. Eveything seems to have healed nicely, and I’ll be having a hearing test at the end of this month because hopefully by then all of the inner gel pack should have dissolved. I wanted to ask others who have had the surgery, how long it took for the gel pack to fully dissolve and for their hearing to reach it’s optimal level.

    Many thanks,

  • Hi Felicia!

    I can tell you my middle packing lasted about 7 weeks re: my first surgery in Oct/2012. The second one in Jan/2013 was a bit longer as the two operations were different in nature, I’d say 2 1/2 months total. All of the strange noises disappeared and I was back on track. The second surgery still has a hole in the ear right at the edge of the membrane so I have to have it located and repaired soon. Best of luck when you go for your next visit and please come back to the board with a full report!

  • Thanks, Dave – I’ll report back to the board after my hearing test. The last time I saw my ENT was in May. I thought he would give me a hearing test then, but he didn’t because he said that, even though my eardrum was looking good, we needed to wait until the gel pack fully dissolved.

    He gave me clearance to fly after that, and I did in June. On flying, I heard some crackling and popping.

    After the trip, I came back with a bout of sinusitis, and I started hearing more crackling and popping and feeling some pressure, which had me worried, so I saw my family doctor.
    She confirmed that my eardrum is still intact and that it doesn’t look like I had an infection :)

    The crackling and popping could still be gel pack or the sinusitis or both (I have Eustachian tube dysfunction, so I don’t think my Eustachian tube functions very well at draining fluid or equalizing pressure). I’ll wait it out.

    I will also be having a 2nd surgery on my other ear (left), but I’m waiting to be absolutely sure that my right ear is as healed as it’s going to get before getting the second surgery. I’m thinking of having the second surgery in December.

    I hope that all goes well with repairing the hole left in your eardrum. Will they try to repair it with a paper patch, or do you think you’ll have to go through another tympanoplasty?

    Did your hearing improve after your surgeries?

  • Hi everyone, this blog has been both immensely helpful but it’s also stressing me out! I know everyone is different so I’m trying not to panic but I’m near nervous breakdown worrying about my tympanoplasty next week.

    This will be my second tympanoplasty, my first was when I was 5. It didn’t work and I spent my childhood wearing earplugs in the shower and freaking out about swimming. I’m now 28 and stopped really worrying about my ear when I hit high school. I still try not to go underwater when swimming but I have, without disaster. I only thought about my ear when I would fly and my left ear wouldn’t pop like my right ear. I never experienced any major hearing loss, although the audiologist just confirmed that I do have some minor hearing impairment in that ear… I’ve just lived with it my whole life as long as I can remember so I didn’t know the difference!

    Over the past two years or so, my ear has been regularly bothering me and I’ve had a series of odd health issues that I think can be traced to the ear problems (vertigo, etc…). The ENT recommended surgery and told me it’s outpatient, I can go home right away, no big deal. I took my surgery day (Thursday) and the next day off work but seeing people here say they were out of work for 2-6 weeks is making me panic! I work a desk job in a relatively quiet environment so I’m hoping that I’ll be okay.

    In terms of pain level, when I was 5, I remember being miserable but I don’t know if that was the surgery or just being so young and not having any kind of pain tolerance. I’m so worried that I’m going to have to miss a lot of work during an incredibly busy time in my office. :(

    I have a pre-surgery appointment on Friday so I guess I’ll bother them with my questions and concerns too! Thanks for providing a place to share this kind of personal feedback!!

    • Melissa,
      Like Dave B said, depending on the type of surgery you are having it may affect your recovery time. I think lots of ENTs say its no big deal but they’ve probably not had the surgery done themselves! My ENT was quick to point out that they never fully know what needs to be done until they get in there everyone is a little different. You will probably have packing in your ear afterwards which can be uncomfortable and you’ll probably only be able to hear out of one ear which might make your office job difficult.

      When is your surgery scheduled?

  • Hi Megan,

    The pain or discomfort in that ear might be related to a surgery that didn’t close or form the membrane completely. If you aren’t hearing better and have a pain, it suggests that you might have a hole (lower/little improvement in hearing) and a possible infection. So I think having a pressure test and a look to see if there is redness or an infection would make sense. Let us know what happens.

  • Hi Regina!

    Plenty of questions there! Yes, you would have some pain there, Advil is a light duty pain killer for this operation but you seem to be toughing it out really well and it’s likely the pain will drop off every day here. I had two operations (ears removed) and both without antibiotics, reason, our body can take care of itself and the surgery is very clean. There should be a bit of antibiotic in the packing though. As for the packing, if you have the outer ear taped, that can come off, if there is gauze in the outer ear, that might just fall out. The main issue is whether you are still experiencing any discharge? If there is discharge you want to know if it is blood or some other colour indicating an issue. Finally, your surgery is through the ear and might not require ear drops for a week. I don’t know the pattern for healing of that type of surgery so, if in doubt, call your Doctor’s office. Good luck!

  • Hi Felicia!

    A paper patch won’t close this hole, he will have to go back in, on July 10th he will be trying to locate the hole in there and determine what is the best approach here. I have narrow ear canals so it is likely that he will enter from behind the ear again. I’m hoping he can see the hole even if he has to cut open the ear canal as that would be less painful, “I think”. LOL

    As for hearing improvement, my left ear is finished, I have ringing in it now and that is really annoying. The hearing gets much better when I blow a bit of air into the middle ear. But then I have to swallow and the air pressure that tightens up the new eardrum goes away. So when I want to hear something at low volume, I pressurize the ear and hear it!

    The right ear is better even with the small hole because the entire eardrum was missing so something is better than nothing here!

    • Dave,
      You post so often and really help a lot of people who visit here. I’ve never written to you but wanted to wish you all the best with your July 10th surgery. It’s clearly not your first rodeo :) which is a good and bad thing.
      Take Care ~ jt

  • Hi Melissa!

    We all have encountered different experiences with surgery. Some of us felt little pain and started back to life as usual right away. Can you tell us what type of surgery you are getting? I had the incision from behind the ear(s) with some bone work at the same time. Depending on how they are going about your repair it might give one of us a chance to describe the healing process. Having the surgery on Thursday and returning to work on Monday might make for a long day for you. Let us know how things are going and any details you may have regarding the type of surgery. Good luck!

  • I had it done in may. it is all healed up now and i feel good. i cant yet swim but thats ok. u cant lift anything for 6 weeks tho. Mine healed up great. i go back on the 17th of this month for another hearing test. b4 the surgery i actually had no hearing loss in the ear i ended up having the transplant in! i had a tube put in the right ear as well. things are good. i had some pain for the first 3-4 days but i had tonsils out at the same time sooooo lol everything hurt in general. good luck. dont b afraid to ask ur doc many questions!

  • Hi JT!

    Thanks for those kind words, it is a scary operation for many so I’m trying to pay it forward and help in anyway I can. For a guy who has never had an ear infection in my life, I’m going through plenty of surgeries! LOL

    The bottom line is that while it is a slow recovery, there is no reason to believe you can’t have a successful operation and come out if it feeling much better. I would encourage others to keep an eye on this thread and post when someone is in need. I’ll say something after my July 10th visit, he is exploring to see where the hole is in my latest surgery.

  • Hi all,

    Please help me, I had a graft 2 weeks ago, and only had a deity yellow antibiotic dressing placed in ear. Was given no instructions after surgery. I called hospital twice who told me to leave dressing in for 2 weeks. I must admit I took dressing out after 10 days as bone dry. Went back for check up yesterday and told its my fault graft has moved and dried up? How would I know this if I hadn’t been told anything! Given ear drops for 2 weeks.

    All info I have found through google. When I said this to sic reply was there us nothing to tell, and that’s private surgery for you!

    But this morning washed my hair with cotton wool plug and Vaseline and my ear got wet, now blocked, not happy.

    Please help me.

  • I went back for my three week recheck yesterday. Dr removed stitches from graft inside ear and removed packing against my ear drum. He used a vacuum type device to get some of the packing out. I am to go back in 6 weeks for hearing test after inner gel pack dissolves. The good news it that the graft took and I can already see improvement in my hearing. The bad news is that now my ear is hurting again. Did anyone else experience increased pain after having packing and stitches removed??

  • Hey Dave B – How did things go? Hoping you are doing ok….kind of unlike you not to post?

  • Regina,
    I had my surgery in March and it seems like each time they do a procedure there is a slight amount of pain involved but it usually goes away after a day or so (nothing Advil or similar cant help with). The Doctors office always asked me if the pain was in my ear or near incision? When in doubt I’d call the Dr office. Congrats on the success of the graft?

  • Hey Jill – hoping things are going well….how are you doing 4 months out?

  • Hi Jt!

    We have been on vacation for the past two weeks and out of the country. I did go see my surgeon and there clearly was a small hole in the new membrane (right ear). He suggested that I might need to have the full surgery again because he couldn’t locate the small hole. (I do want the hole closed to hear better and to be able to swim freely in the future.) I asked him if he could knock me out or at least freeze the area and cut into the ear canal and have a better look. He froze it up immediately and went back in and found the hole! So now we know where it is, so I asked if he could perform a simple Myringoplasty by scoring the surrounding area to draw some blood and than patch the hole. To my surprise, he did just that! I ended up leaving his office with a patch and the chance that it might scab over and completely heal.

    Such wasn’t the case as the next day, the ear was swollen badly and infected. The patch that I took a picture of the past evening was already missing and there was blood and infection coming out of that hole. So we had a great plan but there was an infection present in the middle ear and it didn’t like being choked off with the patch. I go back on the 13th of August and between now and then, I’m using ear drops every day. If we can get the infection to clear, I think we can close this hole once and for all. It was a great effort that fell short of our goal.

    Hope all is well with others here.

  • Dave,
    Thanks for the update, I was hoping for better news :( Keeping fingers crossed for the 13th!

  • Hey guys,
    I just got my surgery done 3 days ago. I am 16 by the way. I have always been getting infections and stuff after swimming, so I stopped going in the water the past like 2 years. Everything was fine but I still had my small whole in my eardrum. So summer started and I begged for my parents for the surgery. Anyways I’m on day 5 right now and I really regret getting the surgery. My pain was okay for the first 2 days, but I don’t know what happened but day 3 the pain started and it is so EXTREMELY SHARP and PAINFUL. I still can’t hear out of my left ear, the sounds like liquid stuff is not bothering me too much. It’s just the pain. I can’t sleep with Codeine. I went to the doctor who replaced that bowl thing on my ear, and replaced the . The doctor also told me I should not be having too much pain anymore and that I could return to my most regular things, except like running and yelling. I still have the extreme pain and I am really worried something is not right. I also feel really weird, I don’t know how to describe it, I feel out of everything. Like dizzy sort of. My mom says it’s cause of the the thing in my ear which has to do with my balance. Please help, I can only sleep with codeine!!!!

    • Hi Sam,

      I’m sorry things have been rough for you. Has it gotten any better?

      • No unfortunately it has not gotten better. I don’t know how I can stop this. The pain is sometimes so sharp that my neck and head twitches. It’s really hard to do anything. I have been in my room this whole time, enduring the pain. Please help. IS THIS NORMAL!!?????

        • Hi Sam,

          I haven’t checked the board in a while, so I hope that you are doing better now. What I can tell you is that I had a lot more pain in the first week than I was led to believe too. Every one is different, and it depends on your tolerance to pain. The sharp pain is normal! I had a total ear drum replacement in November, and I experienced the sharp pain from time to time for MONTHS after…even now, I have pain off and on (some of it depends on the weather, I think). I really hope you’re feeling better now.

  • I can’t sleep *WITHOUT CODEINE ^^^

  • Sam,
    I just saw your posts and was wondering how you are doing? The surgery can be overwhelming but hang in there each day will get a little better.

  • Ricky,
    I wasn’t sure if you read this board anymore or not but I did notice a recent comment you made. I wanted to let you know this board has really helped myself and many others get through our surgeries. There’s nothing quite like it out there! I have learned a lot of things from many of the topics discussed on this board and used the information to ask my doctor questions which probably never would have been discussed. Thank you for continuing to update/provide this source of information. You’ve made a difference!!!

  • hi friends i love to add our perforation folks on my id so that i can server better with my experience.. add me on fb n admin u too becz u r ma hero :) https://www.facebook.com/xXiMrAnBaigXx

  • Well went back and graft has moved! Tried to blame me for taking dirty dressing off. He cleaned my ear with a suction tube, it felt like me ear was being hoovered up. Still got a hole in the ear, and need to go back 25/9.

    Has this happened to anyone else?

    All I want is my ear sealed, do you have it done again?

    Feel that I have been treated badly and that was private health for you.

  • Hi Gang!

    Thought I would update everyone on my latest visit this week. I had my second surgery on January 29 2013 for my right ear, it left a small hole in the membrane and I have been back since to have it closed. The first attempt didn’t close the hole, rather, it burst and blood and mucus came out. So I went back this past week and the surgeon installed an “closed” Grommet in there. Has anyone every heard of a closed grommet with no hole to drain the middle ear? Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for the next 3 months. The hole was 1 mm and the grommet is 3 mm so the hole is closed now. I have been googling this for a couple of days and can’t find anything on this type of a solution. I can see it with my camera and it looks fine, my ears hurts though. Any comments would be welcomed!

  • I had my right eardrum reconstructed in July and my only question is whether anyone has had to have both ears done? I am having the left one done in November and it seems soon to me I have only just recovered. And yet I don’t want to put it off…

  • Hey,
    Its been 3 days of my surgery and I am regretting it. I had a perforation without any hearing loss or infection but I went for the surgery for future ramifications. But Due to surgery I am literally deaf of that ear and it is hard to go to office and be attentive :( Also I planned thanksgiving get away to Las Vegas … all tickets booked and it is just 3 weeks left for that. In case the packing does not clears I will not be able to go there which I have been planning since last year with my buddies :( ……. I don’t know WHY I WENT for This ………!!!!!!! So my questions is … How soon I will be back to normal ??

  • 2nd procedure was on Tuesday 5th November, lets hope it takes this time.

    Still only have yellow antibiotic dressing in ear, no instructions again.

    More worried about washing my hair, than ear at mo.

    Just want to get back to normal and hear properly.

  • This is the only blog I’ve found like this. Thank you! I need reassurance!

    I am 4 days post tympanomastoidectomy with cartilage graft. My surgeon made it sound like this procedure was no big deal, but I see that it is! I have been feeling awful. I couldn’t sleep for the first 2 nights at all and now I can only sleep in an upright position or else I get dizzy and nauseous. The pain is no longer constant, but at times it is a very intense sharp shooting deep ear pain that stops me in my tracks. I have 2 young children and I have a physical job. My surgeon has given me no real restrictions and am supposed to return to work after only 1 week and my job invludes lifting. He is so laid back about surgery and after reading all your posts and experiences, I’m so nervous that my activity level will ruin this surgery and I do not want to do this again. It’s been far worse than I anticipated.

  • Hi guys,just seen this really helpful blog!
    I had my surgery 3 weeks ago,and I still feel dizzy!
    Is it normal?Had everyone experience it that long?What should I expect?

  • Hi Debbie,

    How did you make out with that procedure? I guess you have to grill the Doc until they are mad at you. I have a small hole in my eardrum after my Tympanoplasty back in January of this year. He has tried to close it twice and failed because I believe I still have an inter ear infection. When he closes it off, pressure builds up right away and the patch pops.

    If anyone is reading this thread, who can you recommend for a Doc in America? I’m giving up on Canada now unless there is someone here doing good work.
    Thanks gang!

    • Hi Dave B,

      Went back last Wednesday and graft was in place. Sneezed last night and tried to hold it on, as it was silly o’clock in the morning. Hope it hasn’t popped. Back on the 18th, so will see. Still have constant ear ache and constant ringing.

      Will it ever end!!!!

  • Hi all from a Kiwi guy in Australia,
    great blog I just had Myringoplasty 2 weeks ago has been a pain free process I had the packing removed a week after the surgery and the surgeon was happy that there were no holes and the graft had taken well.He prescribed an antibiotic drop which I have taken for the last week and finished taking yesterday.He also told me I could start to equalise but I don’t remember when he said ,does anyone remember equalising 3/4 weeks after their surgery??
    For some reason upon taking the last 3 drops overnight the ear has become blocked when it has been steadily getting better and hearing was improving there is no heat or seepage and it looks healthy externally..
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • I’m thinking Typanoplasty is virtually the same as Myringoplasty.

  • I had my surgery 11 days ago,and wished I had read this site before then. I was given all the info about sounds and sensations post operative,but not enough about the pain. Unfortunately,I did not take the pain meds every 4 hrs and suffered needlessly.Returned to work 1 week after surgery,which is too soon I think.My tympanoplasty ended up
    being a complete replacement of tymphanic membrane,not a graft on rupture.Being in my mid-fifties and having
    been under general anesthesia for 2 and half hrs does a job
    on your body.Tonite I had an episode of intense pain in the
    canal,which was concerning. I am also concerned about the number of people who have had failure and need repeat surgery.

  • Hello all! Great site to get some feedback from others that have gone through the same thing. I had my tympanoplasty surgery a few weeks 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!

  • Hello Everybody….Hope u r well & enjoying ur life after Tympanoplasty surgery. U know my doctor also warned me that i should need this surgery. But my question here now i’m feeling full deafness in left ear & also have ringing & dizzness chircking type bell. So my question after the surgery deafness will be finish or not?…. wait ur replay…

  • Hi Saquib and everyone… Saqib, if you just got your surgery the packing in your ear will block your hearing and that is normal. Make sure you leave your ear alone – don’t poke at it. If you’re lucky your hearing might return to normal eventually. The dizziness is normal at first also. You need a lot of patience, it’s a slow healing process… To everyone …It’s been a while since I posted and eight months since my surgery, which was successful in fixing the eardrum. However, I still have a degree of deafness in the ear, which my specialist seems to think is due to a combination of my very narrow ear canal and scar tissue build up. (I still have to wonder about my GP prescribing me ear drops that I later found should not be put in a perforated ear, as they may cause hearing loss) Also I still have a degree of tinnitus, which I can and do live with ok. The specialist explained this ringing is not in your ear but in your head. Something to do with the hearing signals to the brain not being even, so the brain tries to turn up the volume thus causing this annoying audible noise http://www.hearinglossweb.com/Medical/Tinnitus/search.htm. Anyway bottom line for me, from my specialist, is my hearing is about as good as he can get it. He did say he could open it all up again and take another look, but did I want that? A big fat NO from me.. once is enough. I’m just grateful the hole is fixed. The hearing loss is minimal and I get by, I just don’t catch everything said.

  • I am so happy I came across this website – it has been a great reference for since my tympanoplasty on Dec 5th! I’ve got a couple of questions – if anyone has any input I would greatly appreciate it!!

    — At my 2 week follow-up, doctor told me I could gently blow my nose. I have tried this twice (extremely gently and slowly, and only for a quick second)and am now afraid that I have dislodged the graft in some way. It was very painful for quite a while afterwards. Has anyone else experienced such discomfort? I wish my doctor would have told me what to expect when I tried blowing my nose for the first time!

    – sleeping…it’s been 3 weeks since my surgery and it still hurts to lie on that side of my head (had an incision behind my ear for the procedure). When lying on that side, I feel incredible pressure and some pain. My doctor said it would be ok to so this, but I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is ok. Has anyone else had trouble sleeping at 3 weeks post-surgery?

    -headaches….is anyone dealing with horrible headaches and sensitivity to noise (especially in crowded places)? Sometimes I feel like I must be a big baby, but I really cannot stand a lot of noise. I feel like my head hurts constantly and any noise is jarring (which is surprising to me since I am not hearing my of anything out of the injured ear!)

    I’d love to hear any thoughts/opinions anyone has, as I’m starting to stress that something might be wrong. I hate the thoughts of having to go thru this surgery again!! I am not usually a whimp about things – I am very fit, usually very energetic and active and this surgery has certainly thrown me for a loop!!

  • I had ear infections as a child like crazy, my mother told me I never needed tubes. Three years ago I had found I had a bad infection with a small perforation in my right ear. That was my Thanksgiving present. That ear healed great and the ear drum repaired itself by Christmas. Early Jan. I had excruciating pain in my left ear. Found out I had a massive infection and a large perforation. After 5 months my ENT Dr. referred me to the U of M. Three months later they finally figured out and treated he infection with the right meds. Was infection clear for 8 weeks and scheduled my first tympanoplasty. All went well was scheduled to see the Dr. 6 weeks later, ear drum popped in 5 weeks.
    The Dr. was monitoring it then 3 weeks after that the infection was back with vengeance. The last year has been torture. They treat the infection, a week later its back and more painful then ever. Told the Dr. we need to figure this out I want to go back to college. He performed a Radial Mastoidectomy and Tympanoplasty last Dec. I go in this Monday with my fingers crossed. My ear has been itching and burning the last few days. This makes me nervous its infected again, this is the last surgery I will allow anyone to do.

  • Hey guys. I am so glad I ve found this blog. Is really useful. I underwent a tympanoplasty surgery on December 13th. I stayed home until Januar 7th. I experienced no pain after the surgery. Right after the surgery I was hearing ackward sounds in my other ear – Tinnitus they said. But it weared off in a couple of hours. I felt a bit of dizziness in the next few days. After a month I got Otitis. The doctor prescribed me ear drops.. I went for it because my hearing was always bad..not very bad but still. The hole was big and I| said I might give it a try. The doctor says the graft is in place and it is healing fine but he al also says that he cannot predict and that I have to wait. I don’t have that disolvable foam pack in my ear- as far as I know- and still I feel like my hearing is worse than before the surgery. the doc also says that at this point the graft is thick, and as the time goes by, it will get thinner and then by hearing will improve.. What do you think? Could the hearing get worse even though the graft hasn t died? Oh and something else..he says that normally the rest of the eardrum was supposed to be soft and like a jelly but mine was hard and cracky like chips :|.. I am looking forward to your answers guys. Did someone with normal package(the one that goes pulled out by the doc after 3 weeks)experienced something similar to this? Should I have already noticed some sort of an improvement?

  • I am 5 weeks post op of a Tympanoplasty and titanium prosthesis. I am trying not to be paronoid, but I can’t seem to find very much mentioned of people experiencing a lot of pulsation sounds in the ear after the operation. I have the full sensation, sensitivity to load noises, tin taste in the mouth, but the worst is the very, very loud pulsing sounds (like blood pumping) that only stop when I lay down. The doctor says this is normal. I can live with dealing with it, all I want to know is how long this takes to go away. Has anyone experienced this and does anyone know approximately how long it can last – what is the worst case scenario on length of time it will last. Any input would be very much appreciated.

    • Amy-
      I’m about 4 weeks post op and have similar blood pumping sensations…on and off. The anxiety around waiting is a bit annoying, but I’m sure it will all be fine.


    • Amy…. Just had my surgery Monday. I too can hear blood pulsing through my head. No idea how long it lasts though. Figured it’s part of joys from the”inner ear”

      • Btw… My Dr. Went behind the ear to reach the membrane.looks like the incision literally goes ALL the way around the back of the ear. He then used glue instead of staples. Seems a bit excessive now that I’m reading everyone else’s experiences. Did anyone else’s Dr do this? I had a fairly big hole…. Nearly %40…. Just curious.

  • hi Amy. I think that the more you think of it, the more louder it gets. So it is with my tinnitus..when I am alone and I do nothing, is there..annoyng me..a continuously ZZZZZZZZZZ in my head..but when I am at work or when I am talking to people pufff! is gone..just try not to think of it and it will go away:) I guess each of us has experienced different things during the post-op period…. For example, I can hear better low-pitched sounds, and I can’t hear at all the high-pitched ones..ackward huh!! I just hope that everything will be fine, because -as far as the doc says – the new eardrum is in place..up and runnin..

  • Thanks, but this isn’t tinnitus, I have tinnitus but this is blood pumping to the surgery site. It is part of the healing process and the sound is approximately 10 times loader than tinnitus. I just want to know the expected time before this starts to go away. The sound and the Fullness sensation. If anyone knows, would love the input.

    • Amy,

      I know what you mean, I had the pumping feeling and was told it was my bloody pumping round my body.

      My 2nd graft has now taken and ear drum is healed.

      Bit worried about getting ear wet now, as this had been going on since May 2013.

      It’s a long round, but my hearing is better apart from the tinnitus, that I now have to live with .

      Best wishes

      • Deb- to keep your ear dry try (and yes, I am not kidding) Silly Putty. One of the docs that developed the tubes in the ears about 45 years ago told me this(my little sister was part of the trial for it)I had my first tympanomastoidectomy 3 weeks ago ( supposed to do the other side when this heals – we will see) and I have suffered almost everything written about here…thank goodness, I thought I was crazy! BUT…what I can contribute to the discussion is that silly putty works like a charm to seal out water! Beats the mess of vaseline and cotton balls!

  • Aha…I understand..I havent had those sort of things..I ve had others:) I am sorry I cannot input a valuable answer for you. One question for the others – and for you of course – when should we start noticing that the hearing has been improved? thx

  • Ela, from everything I have read on the internet, it takes 3 – 4 months before a full recovery and you know what your hearing will be. I assume around 3 months post op your doctor will recommend a hearing test. My hearing seems to be better some days and worse others – I guess that is part of the healing process. I just hope it heals well for both of us and things turn out well. I know I do not want to do this again – ever!