I have always had pressure problems when flying resulting in ear pain and plugged up ears. When I last flew 2 years ago, both ears plugged up and never unplugged. I just had tubes put in my ears two days ago so I can safely fly again as long as they stay in. I noticed definite decrease in hearing and very itchy ears since then. I am using some antibiotic drops so that could be causing the itching. Anyone else had this problem after tube insertion. Does the itching stop and the hearing improve back to what it was before the tubes were put in? Thanks for your input.
I will share my adult tubes experience with you. I have eustachian tube dysfunction. Got it after a cold this January. By march I was at my wits end. My left ear, which is by far the worst symptom wise, got a tube inserted in office. It did not work out for me. I felt very,well, deaf! I immediately freaked out and the ENT removed it. I never got a chance to find out if it would really help me. I think that I might have done better with at least trying it for a week or so. From what I've read, many people have the problems you have initially, but as the brain adjusts to the changed sounds through the ear drum, the hearing improves. Also, as far as I know, tubes are meant to just help take over the eustachian tube function for awhile to allow pressure to be equaled in the middle ear. So I think the dr's hope that by the time the tubes come out, your own e tubes will be working correctly again. Hope this helps. Ive talked to some on this board that have tubes and have been ok with them after the initial adjustment period.
Jen, Thank you for your reply. I can't say that my hearing is back to normal but it has improved. I can see where having a hole in the ear which is made to put the tube through would cause hearing loss while healing. The itching is driving me crazy though. I don't understand why the itching. I thought perhaps it was from the antibiotics but have not used them today. I will use a drop tonight in each ear for the last time as directed by the doctor. The doctor said my ear drums were very badly scarred from the pressure problems caused from flying. THE GREAT PART IS THAT MY EARS FEEL OPEN AFTER FEELING COMPLETELY PLUGGED UP FOR 2 YEARS! I wish I would have called the doc today to ask about the itching. I fly tomorrow morning so won't have a chance to call until next week. Thanks again. Jen, after the tubes were inserted, I turned on the car ignition and didn't think the car was running as I could not hear it. That was really weird. I barely heard my husband when he talked to me and I had to keep asking him to speak up. Today I definitley heard the car running and have been able to hear my husband better.
So glad you're doing better. I'm getting to my wits end again with this plugged ear feeling, so I may have to give the tubes another go. I'll see what is said at my next ENT appt which is June 19th at UIC's medical college. I'm hoping that a teaching school will be able to help me sort out my ear issues as they seem to be related to chronic allergy/sinus problems. Then that cold I got in January really kicked my ears butt! I think I hated the tube because it literally made me feel deaf in that ear. My ENT readily took it out and never told me it would improve. I found that out in talking to people here actually! I think that having almost perfect hearing (5-10db) is what is making me hate the tube. I'd like it if you could update me sometime to let me know how they are as time goes on. That way if I need to do it, I'll be better informed.
Okay Jen, I'll be glad to do that! I'm happy to be able to fly tomorrow without worry. In the past, I always used AirPlanes (ear plugs for flying), took Sudafed, Benadryl, used Afrin nasal spray before descent, and chewed gum to try to prevent problems. Sometimes I'd be okay, even with the above, often not. The doctor referred to it as Glue Ear.
Itching could be an allergic reaction to the antibiotic ear drops. Maybe they could recommend a different one. Once my tube went in, my hearing improved, and I was able to equalize my ears. The tube also makes it possible for the ear drops to get past the ear drum. It seems senseless to me to use the drops if they can't get into the middle ear. Good luck.
How are was your flight? Did the ear tubes work well? How's the hearing with the tubes now that you've had them for awhile? I'm still thinking about the tubes. Did you have normal hearing prior to getting them? I had close to perfect hearing, so I guess that's why I didn't like them at 1st. I'm getting frustrated though.... Let me know after your trip.
Hi, I have bilateral PE tubes. I had the right done in July of 2011, and felt enough benefit from it that I had the left ear done in Sept 2011. Mine are for ETD, as well, and I do like being able to fly without fear. I will say this -- with one tube, I felt like my hearing actually improved, since I no longer had the conductive hearing loss of a pressurized ear. But after I got the left ear done, I was initially very regretful. It changed my hearing to sounding hollow and, well, weird! My voice sounded different to me, and my left ear felt more pressure after the surgery. The good news is...after a month or so, I guess I got used to the hearing change, because I stopped noticing it. And the left ear stopped feeling swollen. Now, not to say the tubes are perfect...I think sometimes they still aren't "enough" to keep my middle ears feeling perfectly equalized, and I still can feel my real e-tubes acting up. Also, my right ear got an infection recently that must have been too much for the puny tube to handle, as the ear felt 100% blocked. Luckily it is finally opening back up again and getting back to my (imperfect) state of normalcy. I'd say definitely give the tubes at least 4-6 weeks to settle down, and then see where you're at. I have had two hearing tests post-surgery, and my hearing has actually slightly improved, but of course, it's a surgery piercing the eardrum so not to be undertaken lightly. I just couldn't handle the ETD pressure issues any more, and was literally willing to take hearing loss risk over constant trouble equalizing, especially since even shutting a car door would often cause my ears to instantly block!
Followup to having tubes inserted in both ears so I could fly. I flew twice, once within the US and once to London, no problem flying at all. It was wonderful compared to past experiences because of ETD. It is also great not having my ears feel plugged up. I much prefer the feeling of tubes in the ears to the plugged up ears I had before. Now the bad news. It has definitely affected my hearing, I feel like I have significant hearing loss compared to before the tubes were inserted. I saw the ear doc and he just confirmed that the tubes were in place and said nothing about the hearing loss. I see him again in 3months and will have my hearing checked then. I don't know if I'll ever regain any of the hearing loss or not, I'm thinking not. I bought hearing aids several years ago but didn't feel as if I really needed them, now after the tubes being inserted, I definitely NEED them. When I listen to music or tv, the sound level I need to hear is at a much higher number than before. I wasn't warned about the possibility of hearing loss until the day of the surgery when I had to sign a paper saying I was aware of possible hearing loss or deafness as a result of the procedure. I'm sure it is different for everyone so my experience may not be typical. Peggy
Last edited by chardonnay; 06-15-2012 at 01:38 PM.
I have a similar plugged ear condition but due to an ear infection. My ear does not completely "pop" open and there is negative pressure. The ENT mentioned ear tubes. Did this provide quick relief for you?
I don't know what to tell you. I can't recommend it or not recommend it. I have had the tubes in for over three months. My ears are clear, no plugging and that feels great. It was an awful feeling. However, the tubes have affected my hearing, at least in one ear. I don't know what will happen when the tubes come out but I suspect the hearing loss is permanent. Immediately after the tubes were inserted, I went out to my car and couldn't hear my car running and after I got home, could not hear the microwave when it was on. My hearing was really bad (I could barely hear people talking) but slowly the hearing improved during the first few weeks and leveled off. Will my ears replug once the tubes are out? I don't know the answer but the ear doctor thinks they will. I won't have it done a second time. I think if I can't fly without having it done, what will I do if there is a family emergency? And that is one question I can't answer.
If I were you, I would not be in any hurry to have this done. I'd wait and hope the infection clears up completely and give the ears more time to unplug on their own. I tried popping them daily for awhile as suggested by one doctor. I did get one to open briefly a couple of times but it would plug right back up. I tried a number of different antihistamines, but nothing helped until the tubes were put in. I wish you the best of luck and hope that in time your ears will open up on their own.