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jenni9033 09-26-2011 02:41 PM

Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Had a pressure equalization tube inserted in my left ear about 6 days ago for eustachian tube dysfunction. Ever since, my ear has actually felt MUCH worse...a maddening feeling of fullness/cotton in ears. Also, my hearing on that side sounds muffled, and I'm having to ask people to repeat themselves.

I had my right side done a couple months ago, and honestly don't remember struggling like this during the recovery. But that side was already so bad off that perhaps I didn't notice any new pressure afterwards. I will say that the previously tubed side feels fine now.

Should I give this more time to heal? Has anyone else gone through this terrible pressure/clogged feeling after pe tube surgery, and did it eventually pass?

I'm an adult in my 30s, and the only people I know who have tubes are kids, so they can't really answer me. :)

malagrey 10-03-2011 09:17 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Hi Jennifleck. I had PE tubes put in both ears at the age of 37. I do recall some major swelling a day after the surgery and for a moment I felt like the surgery made the ETD worse. I went back to the ENT and they did see any issues and the tubes looked fine. They said that the instruments used during the surgery may have irritated the area. They presribed some pain relievers and after a week or so I felt much better. It's been over a year since the tubes fell out and my ears are doing well (no plugging/pressure), thus I've forgotten about the post-surgery swelling.

I would suggest seeing your ENT to make sure that the tubes look good. They told me that this 'swelling/pain' rarely happens (but I wasn't buying it). It's frustrating, but I'd make your doctor accountable and have yourself checked out and at least give you something for the pain. I'm confident though that it will pass and I hope you'll be feeling better soon and that the tubes will be a success for you!

jenni9033 10-03-2011 11:43 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Thanks for responding, Malagrey. So are you saying that after your tubes came out, you didn't have eustachian tube dysfunction any more? That is good news! How long did you have ETD problems before you and your doctor decided to put the tubes in? My ETD had to go into "chronic" status (6+ months) before we could really make that decision.

The newer tube does seem to be calming down, at least for the last couple of days. I feel less distracted by a sensation of something being "stuck" (like a wad of cotton) in the ear. I never know, though, if I'm just having a couple good days, and tomorrow could be a bad one. The weather does affect me greatly...when storm fronts come in, I have bad symptoms. Some research leads me to believe that it's because that's when mold has its bloom and sends out millions of tiny spores into the air...right before it rains. Sometimes I even get a kind of brain fog/dreamy state where I don't feel quite real...it's horrible! I've walked around grocery stores with my kids and been unable to answer simple questions or remember what I was looking for in the first place...

I still am having trouble hearing with the new tube. I had to attend a public event last night and meet a lot of new people. Half the things they said to me, I could not hear or understand...it sounded muffled. I haven't had my hearing rechecked since having the second tube put in, but I have to believe I've had some significant loss...just hope it is only a temporary thing? My voice sounds different to me, which sucks for public speaking...I have no idea at what volume I'm speaking or how I sound. I sound (to myself) nasal and muffled, like I have a cold. My friends and family can detect no difference in my voice, and I don't think they are just saying that to make me feel better.

I'll update as things progress...I'm hopeful that at least the irritating pressure/cotton wool feelings in my ear will calm down more and more with time. Not sure if the hearing will improve until the tube is out and the hole heals, though.

malagrey 10-03-2011 12:30 PM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Hi jennifleck,

I looked back at my calendar/journal to get an exact time line for you:

Sept. 2009 - 2 weeks of cold allergies followed ith never ending 'plugged ears'

Spend the next 5 months on 'unsuccessful' medications (including Amoxicillian, Vermyst nasal spray, Levaquin, Cefdinir, Medrol Packs etc).

Feb 2010 - Went to see my 3rd ENT and asked for PE tubes. They felt a little uncomfortable for a few weeks, but my hearing started to get back to normal soon after the surgery.

Jul 2010 - 5 months after surgery: Had some trouble with plugging in the right ear. It turned out to be a build up of wax/fluid. ENT gave me some drops and the pressure/fluid clear up in about a week.

Around Sept 2010 I felt like one ear started plugging up again and my heart sank. I went back to the ENT to find out that one tube had fallen out on it's own. The side that felt plugged was just the PE tube that had started to come out on it's own but ended up get lodged in some fluid. My ENTs assistant removed it with 2 mintues and by the end of the day my ears were back to normal and I've been ok for the past year with NO PE tubes.

Based on my experience, the tubes should give you relief while they're in your ears, so if your hearing isn't right yet, I'd go back to your ENT. It could be that you have some wax/fluid in the tube (like I did in July 2010) and they may be able to give you some drops to break up the fluid so that the PE tubes can do what they're suppose to.

I really hope the tubes work for you while there in your ears and long after they fall out.

One other tip for anyone with ear issues: After this experience, I'm very cautious about taking care of my ears and doing what I can to avoid ear infections. I like to swim in the summers, so I had custom water proof ear plugs made at my ENTs office. It was only about $150, but they are great at keeping water out in the summer months while swimming. They are anti-bacterial and should last a while.

Good luck!

chiquita1982 07-26-2012 02:28 PM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
How long did it take you to feel better? I had a tube put in on Monday and then demanded that they take it out today (Thursday). I still feel the horrible pressure and nothing is helping the stuffiness. I feel like I can't hear anything in that ear. I'm ready to lose my mind! My ENT has no idea why my ear feels this way.

tulisa 10-05-2012 04:40 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Hi, I had grommets fitted on Monday under general for eustachian tube dysfunction.This was recommended by ENT specialist due to intermittent blocking. All I know is that on Monday before the op my hearing was as clear as day. When I came round I could barely hear a thing. Today is Friday and I still feel the same. If I had known and was properly informed that I would feel like this no way would I have had it done. It appears that no surgeon informs patient's how they could feel after the op. Therefore I feel my consent is not valid, as was not properly informed. Yesterday, which was Thursday I went to my local A & E department as I could not get hold of the surgeons secretary. The dr there got hold of ENT and apparently ENT said this is normal. If this is normal, why don't they say what to expect, as I wouldn't have had it done if I knew I would be like this. I am the same as you, I just want them out, as I was better off before and now worry how long this will last. It is effecting everything that I do. I now have an appointment on Wednesday, and will see what the surgeon says. I just want them out, but unfortunately, the fact they have already made a whole in the eardrum, even if they come out my hearing will still be muffled, due to having the perforation. I feel my surgery was completely unjustified and unexplained. My advice to anyone thinking of having it, if your ears aren't blocked don't have grommets. I will post on here again if any improvement, as it does appear on most forums that comments for this surgery are negative. Would be nice to hear some positives :)

jenni9033 10-05-2012 10:13 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
I'm the original poster for this thread. Just wanted to update and to let everyone know that my left ear PE tube DID eventually calm down. The cotton ball feeling went away. The echoing quality to sound went away. It took AT LEAST a month. Remember, this is surgery that involves a tiny foreign body being implanted into a delicate structure, and there is usually going to be associated swelling and inflammation. The body needs time to adapt to see if it's going to work for you.

The PE did not cure my eustachian tube dysfunction, but it does make travel easier. I travel often and live in a hilly area. Changes in altitude make my ears go crazy and block, and the tubes help with that. I'm grateful for any degree of relief from this maddening condition.

My doctor indicated that about 50% of adults do not adapt to tube or find it helpful. So...it's not for everyone. But the risk is low, either way.

Also, if you have to have your tube removed, the body goes to work immediately on closing the hole. Most holes are closed completely within about two weeks. I know this because after my right tube became non-functional, we opted to change it out for a longer lasting t-tube. The old tube was removed, my ear was left to heal for two weeks, and the new tube was inserted. The old tube left no hole and not even a scar on my eardrum. So I would not worry about what will happen if you choose to have the tube removed. Chances of longterm problems from a single tube insertion are very, very low.

tulisa 10-05-2012 02:21 PM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Hello. Thank you for your reply. That gives me some hope. Just wish I had been more informed about the recovery instead of left wondering if damage has been done. Thanks again

jenni9033 10-05-2012 02:55 PM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
I understand. You should have had to read and sign a consent form with all the possible outcomes explicitly stated. That said, it's almost always a low-risk surgery, especially if it's your first set. So you should be okay, even if you have to get them out.

I can envision a point down the road where it might become risky for me to keep getting tubes over and over, although my ENT said that some people do...pretty much for the rest of their lives. :-/ I hope my body heals itself so that this doesn't become a reality for me.

tulisa 10-06-2012 05:13 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Yeah, I am going to ask for them out when I go on Wednesday. It's like getting ears pierced. An earring is meant to stay in for 6 to 9 weeks and then can be removed as this is roughly how long it takes for there to be a long term hole. If I leave the grommets in for 6 months, the chances are my eardrum will have a continuous hole, therefore will always need grommets. If I get them removed now, the chances are it will just heal back naturally with no problems. That's my theory any how :). With all the forums I have looked at, it appears that many adults who have undergone this surgery do have similar issues, so I cannot understand why this was not explained. It is a legal obligation for any surgeon to lay down all the risks and facts in order to gain valid informed consent.

I feel for what you have been through, and unfortunately because they are specialist I have just listened and to what they have said and gone with it. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have gone for it. Not just my own experience but the experience of others. I don't think perforating eardrums is a low risk surgery.

Seriously think there needs to be research studies in this area on perceptions of adult patients post grommet surgery. After all ,its all down to evidence base, and to leave patients with such problems and even longer term problems is unethical.

Hope you manage to get everything sorted

morganplus8 10-12-2012 10:20 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
I thought I would add to this thread from my experience. I too had a simple ear infection on one side of my head, it took so long to see an ENT that the infection spread to the other side too. Despite talking several rounds of antibiotics the infection hung in there to the point that my GP strongly recommended that I get tubes. Not wanting to upset my GP any further, I requested tubes in both ears. For me, the pain was so severe that after only 2 weeks I demanded one tube be removed. The ENT removed the tube from my least painful ear and we waited for improvement. It didn't come at all. At the 5 week mark, the ENT removed the second tube and by then the hole where the first tube had been was now wide open, I lost my tympanic membrane for good.

After a couple of weeks of living in terrible pain, I went back to the ENT to review both ears, and in the second ear, the tympanic membrane completely disolved as well. And so after months of pain, things settled down a bit, the erosion of the membrane ended and I could move forward with the prospects of surgery in both ears. I felt so much pain that I paid a specialist in the US to do an MRI with Contrast to see if he could explain the headaches etc.. He concluded that I had suffered some mild brain damage from a "trauma" and that everything looked fine other than this area of damage. So now I'm heading into the hospital for surgery to my worst ear (Oct 22). The conclusion was that I contacted Tubotympanic Disease and that is what ate away at my tympanic membrane. I'll have at least two more surgeries down the road to repair everything, this amounts to 1 1/2 years of suffering.

My conclusion in all of this is that if you are like me, a heathy guy who had no past with ear infections, and you are experiencing something new like this, [B][I][U]go for one tube only[/U][/I][/B], no matter how wide spread your symptoms are. Dip your toes lightly into this invasive surgery.

My case is probably rare, I don't expect others to lose their eardrums over the course of a month, but I can tell you I would pay a million bucks not to have had both tubes installed at the same time. GL

tulisa 10-13-2012 01:48 PM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
Hello Morgan, Oh my word that is absolutely awful to hear that has happened to you. This surgery seems to be something that is taken more lightly than it is. i have been to see my ENT specialist and requested my grommets to come out as my hearing is still partial and was as clear as day before I had this done. He said he had never heard of this before... which I do not believe. He advised that I keep them in for a further 6 weeks, but I am not prepared to run the risk of there being a permanent hole. The specialist is not happy about it being removed so early but i said to him I could not listen to his advice when he had never even heard of the partial hearing after grommets before, and it seemed more logical to get them out, while the incision is still fresh in order for it to heal.

'Im with you on this. My advice to anyone thinking of allowing anyone to tamper with your ears, make sure it is fully justified and there are serious problems with your ears already. Wish I had done the reading beforehand. Just hope now I have no permanent damage. I am having the grommets out on the 22nd, so will update again. So hope things get back to normal

morganplus8 10-15-2012 04:22 PM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
[QUOTE=tulisa;5071732]Hello Morgan, Oh my word that is absolutely awful to hear that has happened to you. This surgery seems to be something that is taken more lightly than it is. i have been to see my ENT specialist and requested my grommets to come out as my hearing is still partial and was as clear as day before I had this done. He said he had never heard of this before... which I do not believe. He advised that I keep them in for a further 6 weeks, but I am not prepared to run the risk of there being a permanent hole. The specialist is not happy about it being removed so early but i said to him I could not listen to his advice when he had never even heard of the partial hearing after grommets before, and it seemed more logical to get them out, while the incision is still fresh in order for it to heal.

'Im with you on this. My advice to anyone thinking of allowing anyone to tamper with your ears, make sure it is fully justified and there are serious problems with your ears already. Wish I had done the reading beforehand. Just hope now I have no permanent damage. I am having the grommets out on the 22nd, so will update again. So hope things get back to normal[/QUOTE]

Hi Tulisa,

Thanks for your warm comments! I have myself in quite a pickle right now. I can only suggest to others that trying one grommet at a time is the safest way to search for relief. My case is unusual I'm sure but it is proof that patients must be more aware of what they are allowing others to do to them.

I make use of hearing aids and I own a otoscope and take pictures of my ear drums every 4 days. I know what is happening in there at all times and if I see blood or the beginnings of another infection I get it treated ASAP. The camera costs about $ 60 and works with any PC.

Just a thought if you are like me and want to be on top of all future events regarding your health. I understand why you want to remove both tubes, just make certain that you are aware of the recent benefits if any and weigh those improvements with your justifeid fear of what might happen next. I guess I might post to the board after my surgery so that others can learn from my experience with damaged ear drums.

The best of luck to you, I hope you can find a happy medium there were you take advantage of medical science and still protect yourself from further harm.

tulisa 10-22-2012 11:21 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
UPDATE - Went to have my grommets removed today and spoke to the surgeon before I went to theatre. He agreed with me to have them out as they had only made me worse and had no benefit to being in. This is 3 weeks since I had them inserted. He was concerned that my partial hearing could be underlying damage rather than the grommet itself, so I have a follow up in 8 weeks for a hearing test and to see if all has resolved. Fingers crossed my hearing will come back. Have to say, its no worse so that gives me some reassurance that having them out hasnt caused any further damage. Hope now that my eardrums will heal without the grommets in. Will update again :)

tulisa 10-24-2012 05:03 AM

Re: Help! Ear Pressure Feels Worse After PE Grommet Tube Surgery?
 
UPDATE - I am now day 2 post grommet removal and feel now the grommets have been removed I no longer have the pressure I felt in my ears. Please note that my grommet insertion was an unjustified surgery and I should not have had them in in the first place. I had previous intermittent blocking, however, my ears were not blocked on the day of the op before having the grommet insertion, therefore they should not have been put in.

I am still unable to hear clearly but I do have a hole in each eardrum so that's to be expected. From my personal experience I am glad I have had them out and demanded that they take them out, as the surgeon said if I had left them in for much longer her would've left them in and not disturbed it. He also inserted a mesh to cover the hole to encourage the healing.

I can only talk from my personal experience, so this may not be the same for everyone, but most people know there own body and when something is wrong. I say again, if your ears aren't blocked, do not have grommets. Sounds like common sense now knowing what I know but when the specialist advised me to have them, knowing my history, I decided to go ahead thinking that they would help with the intermittent blocking.

Now they are out and the surgeon has made all efforts to correct the surgery, I feel much better that i made the decision to have them out and will now wait for the healing process to do its job and hope I make a full recovery :)


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