Another Piece of Great Feedback


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I really enjoyed this feedback. Robert, you’re welcome, and I hope you heal up perfectly! I cannot even imagine what it must have felt like to have that happen. The fact that you knew you had perforated is remarkable.

There are 7 responses to “Another Piece of Great Feedback”

  • Yah I knew it was perforated because I could blow air out of my ear. The doctor and PA, both couldn’t see it, so I said, “Put your ear up to mine”, and tried to pop my ears, “hear that?”

    They did. For them to “see” it I told them to use their otoscope and did the same, they saw bubbles that time.

  • Hi,

    Thank you for all the posts on this blog. Great to read about other people experiences. I’ve had both a Myringplanoplasty and a Tymplanoplasty operation over the last two years. To fix an near subtotal perforation in my left ear. Its been a hard slog but finally the ear drum has grown back after the last operation. I’ve been surfing for 17 years and wondered how long you stayed out of the water to let it grow stronger and what precautions you took when you went back in the water. Especially returning to go surfing.

    Charlie Burns

  • Anyone who wants ask about my experiences of either operation. Please post here and I will reply on this blog.

    All the best,
    Charlie Burns.

  • How you feeling now? Have to get one done in the fall. Feeling rather anxioius : /



  • I feel fine now. It all heals pretty quickly. Just be extra careful after the op with blowing your nose and sneezing to protect the graft.

    My hearing is in the normal bracket. There is still quite a bit of scar tissue inside the ear which I occasionally produces a some dull pain for short lengths of time. I put this down to having two operations on the ear in a relatively short period.

    Its so nice to be able to submerge my head in water after two years. Next step swimming with ear plugs obviously. I’ve got to be so careful as the eardrum is very thin where it has healed. Hopefully this will thicken up over time.

    All the best with the op. You’ll be fine.


  • Hey Charlie,

    I also had a tympanoplasty done 2 weeks ago. Because I kitesurf I am wondering how is your experience now being in the water. Are wearing amy earplugs just to be on the safe side ?

    Looking forward to your reply,

  • Is this old blog still active . ? I found it today. My Tympanoplasty/mastoidectomy was 5 weeks ago and driving me crazy…..still have discomfort, hissing, fullness and some fluid in ear. Dr. Says all is fine but I feel disappointed by these symptoms!

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