I have been reading everyone's thread on their Stapedectomy surgery and their recoveries. I am a little worried.
I recently had a Stapedotomy on June 24th. It was performed under local anethesia and everything seemed to go just fine. By the end of the surgery, my doctor whispered in my ear and I heard him perfectly fine, and he kept going softer and softer, and it was amazing. My hearing was about 40-50db on the low and mid range frequencies and the doctor said I probably received about a 40 db increase based on his tests after the surgery.
Well, the first day was rough as I was pretty nausiated and got sick 1 time being wheeled out of the hospital. By day 2, my nausea was almost completely gone, however, I was still a little dizzy. About day 5 most of my diziness subsided.
I went in for my 1 week post op and had the outter packing removed. Prior to removing the packing, I could not hear at all, except for some minor low frequency vibrations (which I could never hear before). He removed the packing (with suction) and I could hear the suction loudly in my ears. However, when the packing was removed, I still heard just as good with the packing in, which was pretty minimal.
I told my doctor and nurse my condition and they stated that my inside packing needed to be absorbed and dissolved...should be a couple more weeks to do so. Well, it is almost 3 weeks since my surgery and still not hearing back at the level I used to, let alone the improved state I heard during the surgery. Is it because of the packing as well as some swelling? I do feel a bit of soreness still, which could indicate some swelling.
My doctor recommended 2-4 weeks before hearing returns to normal. Has anyone experienced this to be at 4 weeks or longer? My doctor is one of the best in Austin, Tx and he knows exactly what he is doing....his nurse emphasized I had major surgery and it will take some time.
I just get worried that people are hearing 1-2 days after surgery. My sister had the operation done and immediately heard the differences, however, mine seems to take longer. She had the stapedectomy, so could that be the reason why my recovery is taking longer due to a stapedotomy?
There are times when the dog barks, crowded rooms, etc when I cringe because the loud noises are loud and hurt my ear. Is this a good sign? Everything is muffled still and when someone is talking on my operated ear, I usually do not hear them.
I can snap my fingers I can hear it better then I could 1 week ago...I guess it is a good sign. I may just be freaking out more then I should
Update for today, Seems things moved a bit this morning.
I can put my headset on my operated ear and hear what seems like a blown out speaker (seems the packing is preventing my eardrum to vibrate). It seems to get better in the day and then feel plugged up in the late evening/early morning.
I had my stapedectomy done just two days before yours. I won't have any kind of follow-up appointment until next Tuesday. All of the packing they used in my ear should dissolve on its own.
I could hear during the surgery (like you, I had local anesthesia), but then had very little hearing in that ear for the entire first two weeks. During the third week, I had a day of better hearing--the operated ear was even better than my "good" ear (which has mild hearing loss). Then it got worse again and stayed that way for the rest of the week. Today I had about a half hour of better hearing before things "closed up" again. I've developed my own "hearing tests" of rubbing my fingers together near my ear canal, picking up the phone and listening to the dial tone, etc. I also have my husband give me a daily report on how things are looking in the ear canal. His reply is mostly, "The same as yesterday. Dried blood and some shiny stuff."
Although I knew full well that hearing could come and go for weeks or even months after the operation, it was discouraging to have improvement and then for things to get worse. I guess my usual "script" for illness and injury is that things get progressively better; if you can hear better today, you should expect to hear at least that well tomorrow. That's not how it necessarily works with this surgery, and that's to be expected.
I know my surgery was a success--I can hear out of that ear--but it's important for me to remind myself that full recovery might take some time. I, too, tend to focus on the stories from people who could hear really well after the first or second day, but my story is obviously not one of those!
It sounds like your surgery was successful as well. Just know that you're not alone in how your progress is going!
I should also say that I'm sensitive to loud noises (e.g., car door slamming, rumble strips on the highway, bass parts in music). I wore hearing aids for a year, but this "restored" hearing is very different from the aided hearing I was used to.
Also, with a gain of 40 dB (that's what I think I'm getting, too), you'll be hearing a lot of background noises you were missing before, and your brain will need to adjust to that. I was at a meeting during my half hour of "better hearing" this morning, and although everything was louder, I had a hard time comprehending what people were saying. My brain will need some time to sort out the relevant sounds from the background noise.
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply in depth Cyrra...it was very encouraging.
This is the start of Week 4, I have heard "noises" that I have never heard before but cannot interprete it at all. Last night, I went to my favorite local bar and it was pretty rough at times with TONS of noises, some women cackling even made me cringe it hurt my ear.
On my way to work a Harley Davidson drove by and practically scared the stuff outta me That was on top of the road noise, radio going softly, and being inside of my truck.
I also have "hearing" tests such as putting a cotton ball in my ear and just rubbing the cotton ball I can hear, as well as rubbing my ear canal. Snapping my fingers I can hear as well but still muffled, not clear (plugging my good ear). I also listen to a phone dialtone, however, it sounds like a digital signal if that makes sense at all, like a bionic metallic dialtone. If I place my finger too far into my ear, I start to hear that "digital" tone which I assume is air being forced up against my eardrum which cannot move. I just hope that my "digital" hearing is due to the packing still in place restricting everything...i hope.
I do not have any dried blood or anything visible in my ear. I was also one of those "RARE" cases that had an artery running through the stapes and had to get it cut/coterized.
I guess if things were bad, I could not hear at all, my fear is things were made worse, not better. I will periodically post to track my progress. I have not had a day where my hearing was better then my "good" ear which is mild to moderate loss as well...just louder noises. Concerned but will wait till things heal. Both my ears were approximately the same pre-surgery so it was a coin toss of which one I wanted to get done.
I have my 2nd appointment in mid-August which I would assume is an assesment and maybe another hearing test to see how things are...not sure though. Having about 40-50dB loss on the lower and mid range frequencies, I expect to see significant improvement.
I have my other ear (right) scheduled for September so I want to make sure things are on track for the left ear to date.
My hearing is starting to get close to normal levels, but not there yet. I left work at 5:30PM and I was listening to some music and all of the sudden my ear just opened up. I went to pick up some dinner at a crowded place and it was just a VERY wierd experience...things just sounded so much brighter, I started to hear louder but still I was unable to interpret or distinguish verbal communication. It plugged back up late last night and early this morning.
Just have to give it more time but what I heard last night was very encouraging! I just can not believe the differences in the recovery process and everyone experiences it very differently.
Well, over the weekend it went from bad to worse to better to worse. I still am not hearing at my pre-op levels and I hope it is still due to inflamation. I still have soreness, increase metalic taste (comes and goes), and my dizziness has subsided a lot.
I can still feel as if my ear is "plugged" and I can feel increased drainage (which could also be my allergies but I am hoping it is some of the packing).
This morning I could barely hear my phone dialtone but it would change levels as I moved the phone about my ear in a circular motion (to open the airway). It still has the metallic/digital sound to it.
I am considering calling my doctor to just to get a feelgood from him. I figured that almost 4 weeks I would at least be able to hear at my pre-op levels. I had someone standing right next to me, talking into my operated ear and did not hear the conversation at all.
I thought about calling at week three or so, but I chickened out because I had a feeling the nurse would just tell me to stop calling. I guess that wasn't such a bad guess!
My hearing is still coming and going as well. (It's been four weeks today since my surgery.) Although the general pattern is that I can't hear well in the morning and then something pops open in the late morning or early afternoon, yesterday I couldn't hear much at all. And I think ragweed season is starting because my allergies have been pretty bad. I'm trying to be gentle with the nose-blowing, but my ears are feeling kind of congested as well (at least more congested? I don't know anymore!).
I was woken up this morning around 3AM by a loud bang....my ear pop'd and crackled....I was too tired and went back to sleep.
Today at lunch, it was a completly different feeling from the previous 2 days of no hearing. It sounded like all the sound was getting funneled through a liquid...kind of like one of those movies where the character is playing the role of God and hears all the prayers at once...a lot of mummble jumble but in the end it was a lot of noise Best way to describe....
Tomorrow will be WK4. Let's pray for a magical day!
Things are starting to open back up again really well. Light cardio seems to really open up my ear, and working out in the gym with weights slamming on the ground scares the bejesus out of me.
The phone dialtone is now louder in the operated ear. However, sound clarity is still an issue as I cannot distinguish conversation through that ear yet, but I can hear sounds. It seems like a liquid is still swooshing around in there and I hear like you would under water.
Will keep posting updates as things improve....seems like I am now heading in the right direction
Well, things just really opened up wide yesterday. I am now hearing sounds and voices I can recognize. My dialtone on my phone no longer sounds like a digital synthesizer, and my ear just feels more "Open". My unoperated ear just feels so plugged up right now.
I think the surgery was a success and I still have some whooshing sounds but it clears up from time to time. I had to drive with the radio almost 50% lower in volume (a lot!) as I could hear it just fine.
I can hear my telephone dialtone on its lowest setting perfectly in the operated ear and my unoperated I can barely hear it to the point I second guess myself if there is even a sound.
As stated, my next appointment is Aug 24th, and I have a feeling by then it is going to be a world of difference!
Also, the dialtone frequency seems to be much higher on the operated ear.
Has anyone experienced a frequency shift for sounds? Could this explain why I have a difficult time hitting vocal notes and why I cannot sing on key??
Great to hear that things are going well! I did experience some differences in perception of frequencies, but that seems to be gone now. I attributed it to a perceptual difference--I wasn't used to hearing the full range of frequencies, so things sounded higher-pitched (who knows if this is an accurate explanation . . .).
I was rehearsing singing a capella last week and ended up way out of tune, which is extremely unusual for me, so this might be another effect of the change in ability to hear the full range of frequencies and being able to hear my own voice "outside" of my head. (This problem seems to have gone away, too.)