I've always had eustachian tube dysfunction since I was a child. In my mid 20's I decided to go to a ENT and ask if there was anything thing that could be done as its very annoying to have to constantly be popping my ears. He decided the best option was to put a tube in my right ear which ends up being a terrible mistake because 5 years later a different ENT will tell me I still have the hole in my ear. I was then told that I needed to have it repaired because it would help with the very slight hearing loss I have and also prevent cholesteotomas from developing (which, I was told, can cause facilal paralysis or lead to infections that may cause death). I then meet with a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic who decided to perform a tympanoplasty using (I believe) muscle tissue to patch my broken ear drum.
I was told after about two months of post surgical doctor visits that graft had failed and that the hole was about 30-40% of my ear drum. I also experienced significant hearing loss in that ear. I would say about a 50% loss which for all intents and purposes still exists today. Its been about two years and I've only recovered a small portion of that initial hearing loss.
I decided to go to another doctor, this time at University Hospitals here in Cleveland. This doctor indicated that he could help fix my hearing while performing a second tympanoplasty. This surgery was performed in November of 2012 and up until today, May 23, 2013 the surgery was considered successful in that the graft had taken (this time cartilage was used for the graft instead of muscle tissue). This surgery improved my hearing by about 5-10%, but I still have that significant hearing loss in my right ear. The doctor informed me in March that the graft looked great and that I could swim and lift weights. I should also push gently on my ear drums to help clear out any fluid that may still be in them which might improve my hearing. I am to do this about 10x per day until I see him for our next appointment in mid June. Today, while doing this exercise I pushed air through my ear drum. I tested it a second time to make sure that I wasn't mistaken and had the same results. It's my belief that pushing on the ear drum in this way may have weakened it and caused the failure.
At any rate, I'm left asking myself what in the heck I am supposed to do? Why would the 2nd tympanoplasty have failed after it looked so promising? Do I continue having tympanoplastys until one actually works? Is there any real fear of a cholesteotoma forming if I don't have my ear repaired? Is there any real good reason why I shouldn't just leave the hole in my ear? Head surgery is not fun and I'm tired of spending the money on surgeries that don't work for me. Any thoughts?
You've been through the wringer! I also have suffered with Eustachian tube problems for a long time, well not my entire life, but it seems like a long time to me. I did try a PE tube last year in one ear to see if it would help me and it didn't at all. I know that they help some, but not me. Was your ETD helped at all by the tubes?
As far as your question on whether you should continue to haven these surgeries, I can't answer that because I don't know if its medically ok to have a fairly large opening in the ear drum. Have you asked your why/otologist what their opinion on this is? I would do that first, and if you don't get a clear answer, get another opinion. I'm sort of shocked that the dr who performed your second surgery would tell you to pop your ears. I mean, it's a delicate new little ear drum, why have you start testing its strength already? It brings my mind back to my c-section with my first daughter's birth... The area they just operated on is very vulnerable and weak. It was 10 wks before I was allowed to climb stairs. I feel like that dr did you a bit of a disservice by having you trying to equalize pressure with a new ear drum. Of course, that is my humble opinion. When I do a valsalva (pop my ears) I can feel the air that goes up there literally thump into my ear drum. It's not the gentlest of things. Is is it in any way possible that your body may be rejecting the patching (similar to transplant?) I know that prednisone is often given to calm the body's immune response in cases of transplant, but I'm not sure about your own body tissue.
I really feel like you should re consult your ent about leaving your ear drum open. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that obviously your middle ear would be open to the environment and therefore infection. The other reason is that you will still have the hearing loss, but it seems like the tympanoplasty didn't really change things all that much.
I'm sorry that I don't know more about tympanoplasties, I hope my opinions have been of some use to you.
I'm sorry to hear about your condition. I had a myringotomy three weeks ago for fluid in my ear and the hole in my eardrum is still opened. It hasn't healed yet. I'm concerned about the same thing happening to me. Do the ent's say your hearing loss is due to the hole in your eardrum? What type of tube was used in your ear? The ent that I have been going to said the trick to putting in a tube in an ear is to get the right size. One that is large enough to allow fluid to drain out but small enough not to damage the eardrum so that when the tube comes out the eardrum is healed or just about. Did the opening become larger due to the failed surgeries? Did you hear better from this ear before the 2 failed attempts at repair? I'm in Ohio also. Is this an unlucky state or what? If you want ear problems move to Ohio.