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Old 12-10-2010, 12:08 PM   #1
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Recent laser stapendotomy

Thanks everyone for posting here, it has been great to have this resource to learn about everyone's experiences.

I am just about 72 hours past my stapendotomy. A few months ago I noticed that my hearing in one ear was muffled, like it hadn't "popped" after an airplane flight. I found myself habitually yawning and flexing my Eustachian tubes until I actually strained a jaw muscle. At that point I went to a doctor.

It turned out that I had mild to moderate hearing loss in that ear. I decided on surgery pretty easily, because I'm early 40's from a family with multiple nonagenarians - and some of them had decades of untreated hearing loss!

This was my first surgery other than dental. I hadn't expected the full hospital-robe-and-booties, big operating room but that's what I got. They do general anesthetic at this clinic to prevent the patient from moving, but they didn't clamp my head in place or anything. The doctor said he was putting the anesthetic in my IV, the room started to spin gently.

.. and then I woke up. It seemed like minutes had passed but it was a couple hours. They had told me the surgery went fine, but I don't remember them doing so. I sat for a few more minutes, then they let me get dressed and walk out the car. A family member drove me home.

The first day things seemed loud. I thought I could hear a doctor in my "bad" ear as I was getting dressed - his voice seemed to be all through my head. There was no dizziness or nausea. I didn't even take any pain medications. I was just a little weak and tired.

I was very worried about blowing my nose - allergies. I followed the doctor's instructions and exhaled very gently into the kleenex when I had to. If I sneezed, I directed the force out my mouth. For each of these I could feel the operated eardrum flex, but not hard or painfully. I got hiccups for a short time and that also flexed the eardrum, but not hard. I took Sudafed to keep my sinuses dry and avoid any nose-blowing. I also drank a lot of hot tea.

I thought perhaps I scalded my tongue with the hot tea, but not I think I've been experiencing some taste disruption. The tip and the side of the tongue, facing the operated ear, are slightly cool and numb. Some flavors are "off" - chocolate tastes less good than before but peppermint is much better. Milk is strangely colder, and white rice almost flavorless. The only meat I tried is turkey, and it's very flat-tasting.

About 30 hours past surgery I woke up with ringing in the operated ear. It's still there, not too bad.

I also ran my "test" - lying down with my good ear on a pillow, can I hear the shower? This was one of the ways I recognized that I needed to see a doctor. So far I can't on days 2 and 3. I didn't have the presence of mind to try it on day 1.

Since I've been sleeping only on one side - keeping the operated ear facing upward - I have a stiff muscle on that side of my torso. It's a weird complaint but I'm probably not the only one to experience it.

I also have one stitch in the side of my ear, just above the earlobe. I imagine they took a little piece of tissue to wrap around the titanium prosthesis. The stitch is irritated and sore.

I'll update in a day or two and let you know how it's going.

 
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:07 AM   #2
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

Well, it's been a day or two and I've finally found the "discomfort" - shooting pain in the ear, occasional. From the rest of the posts it sounds like they come and go as the swelling increases/decreases or moves around. When it gets annoying I lie down with the ear facing upward.

The ringing and taste disruption are still with me. I think the taste disruption is milder than it was but I'm not sure.

I woke up this morning and found myself sleeping on the "wrong" side - operated ear down. My back and torso were happy with the position but my ear felt full, and stabbed with a brief pain as I rolled back to "ear-elevated" position.

This is my first day back at the office, five and a half days after surgery. It is a pretty quiet place so it should be OK. I have been avoiding loud places. I have a blanket and pillow in the car in case I need to lie down.


Quote:
Originally Posted by siliconvlygirl View Post
I'll update in a day or two and let you know how it's going.

 
Old 12-13-2010, 09:54 AM   #3
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chrimar HB User
Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

Quote:
Originally Posted by siliconvlygirl View Post
Well, it's been a day or two and I've finally found the "discomfort" - shooting pain in the ear, occasional. From the rest of the posts it sounds like they come and go as the swelling increases/decreases or moves around. When it gets annoying I lie down with the ear facing upward.

The ringing and taste disruption are still with me. I think the taste disruption is milder than it was but I'm not sure.

I woke up this morning and found myself sleeping on the "wrong" side - operated ear down. My back and torso were happy with the position but my ear felt full, and stabbed with a brief pain as I rolled back to "ear-elevated" position.

This is my first day back at the office, five and a half days after surgery. It is a pretty quiet place so it should be OK. I have been avoiding loud places. I have a blanket and pillow in the car in case I need to lie down.

Thanks for your updates. I am seriously considering having the surgery done early in 2011 as my hearing has declined so much lately. I want to hear again in my left ear. I look forward to your next post. I hope everything continues to go well for you.
Chrimar

 
Old 12-14-2010, 03:16 PM   #4
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

I would ask the surgeon about the taste disruption. It sounds like he may have injured your chorda typani which usually is in the way during stapedotomy. Some surgeons used to sever it, but most surgeons are careful with it because it enervates half the taste buds in your tongue. Hopefully, he'll tell you it was preserved and your taste will return to normal soon.

I just had my second ear done last week and the first one six years ago. The difference in hearing in my first one was amazing so I can't wait until the second ear is fully healed.

 
Old 12-15-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

I'm back from my post-operation appointment, eight days after surgery. The one stitch on the back of my earlobe is out. The surgeon says that is where he took a tiny piece of tissue to wrap around the prosthesis end. Today he removed the cotton and the "packing", then rinsed my eardrum with drops. A very odd sensation but not painful.

I told him that yesterday I heard something in that ear. It was a trumpet fanfare at the end of an NPR program, it must have hit just the right pitch. I could hear it echo/whisper, just the high frequencies, in my right ear. The shock/delight of it hit my whole body. I laughed out loud (and stomped too hard on the brake pedal, but recovered). Next red light, I switched stations and could hear other tiny singing voices in that ear.

The surgeon pulled out the tuning fork and pinged it for my good ear. Then he shifted it to the right ear. I braced for disappointment, but I could hear it! It was a great feeling. The ear still feels fullness or "not popped" but there is definitely some hearing going on.

He says my hearing will "settle in" over the next six to eight weeks, so there will be a hearing test then. Until then I find that the new hearing is a bit distracting. It's like the left ear (good ear) knows how to filter sound - like road noise in the car - but the (new) right ear does not. It sounds like static instead of road noise. I can also hear my pulse distinctly in my right ear but not my left.

The taste disruption has faded somewhat. The fleeting "stabbing" feeling in the operated ear is much less frequent (thank goodness). I can still feel the eardrum flex when I yawn or hiccup. I am careful and gentle when I blow my nose. I only needed the blanket/pillow in my car one day (6 days post-surgery, for a 20-minute nap with ear elevated). Another day I used the wood-shop earmuffs to shut out some office noise. I'm cleared for non-impact exercise like elliptical so I'm hoping to try that tonight.

Thanks for the support and advice! I can't imagine doing this without the internet to connect us all together.

 
Old 12-15-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

Quote:
Originally Posted by siliconvlygirl View Post
I'm back from my post-operation appointment, eight days after surgery. The one stitch on the back of my earlobe is out. The surgeon says that is where he took a tiny piece of tissue to wrap around the prosthesis end. Today he removed the cotton and the "packing", then rinsed my eardrum with drops. A very odd sensation but not painful.

I told him that yesterday I heard something in that ear. It was a trumpet fanfare at the end of an NPR program, it must have hit just the right pitch. I could hear it echo/whisper, just the high frequencies, in my right ear. The shock/delight of it hit my whole body. I laughed out loud (and stomped too hard on the brake pedal, but recovered). Next red light, I switched stations and could hear other tiny singing voices in that ear.

The surgeon pulled out the tuning fork and pinged it for my good ear. Then he shifted it to the right ear. I braced for disappointment, but I could hear it! It was a great feeling. The ear still feels fullness or "not popped" but there is definitely some hearing going on.

He says my hearing will "settle in" over the next six to eight weeks, so there will be a hearing test then. Until then I find that the new hearing is a bit distracting. It's like the left ear (good ear) knows how to filter sound - like road noise in the car - but the (new) right ear does not. It sounds like static instead of road noise. I can also hear my pulse distinctly in my right ear but not my left.

The taste disruption has faded somewhat. The fleeting "stabbing" feeling in the operated ear is much less frequent (thank goodness). I can still feel the eardrum flex when I yawn or hiccup. I am careful and gentle when I blow my nose. I only needed the blanket/pillow in my car one day (6 days post-surgery, for a 20-minute nap with ear elevated). Another day I used the wood-shop earmuffs to shut out some office noise. I'm cleared for non-impact exercise like elliptical so I'm hoping to try that tonight.

Thanks for the support and advice! I can't imagine doing this without the internet to connect us all together.
Sounds like you are doing really well so far. I am glad. I will continue to follow your posts since I am considering the surgery sometime late next month or February. Thanks for posting.
Chrimar

 
Old 12-20-2010, 09:01 AM   #7
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

A little fretful today. Yesterday it rained, and I could hear the raindrops in my good ear but not the operated one. I also found a new test - the sound of my fingerprints rubbing together. I still can't hear it in my operated ear. I wonder if those frequencies will come back. I know that this worrying isn't helping anything, but it's not easy to stop once the fretting has started.

Would anyone like to share experience on when certain sound frequencies came back, or in what order they came back?

 
Old 12-20-2010, 09:17 AM   #8
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chester d HB User
Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

I can hear the sound of my fingers rubbing together in my left ear, which was operated on 6 years ago. I can't hear that in my right ear, which was operated on a week ago. But I haven't had the packing material removed yet. I go in first thing tomorrow morning. Keeping my fingers crossed that the surgeon removes the packing and I can hear from that ear afterwards!

 
Old 12-21-2010, 08:20 AM   #9
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chester d HB User
Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

Just got back from the doctor and he did not remove the packing material because some was stuck to the eardrum. Instead, he gave me some drops and said that my hearing would get better over the next few weeks and even months. My hearing test showed a huge improvement over the before surgery test, but it's not yet at the level of the other ear.

 
Old 12-28-2010, 07:46 AM   #10
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

I can hear my fingerprints rubbing together now, but it's still softer/different in the operated ear.

I notice that I have a little numbness/stuffiness in the operated ear when I wake up in the morning, especially if I have been sleeping with the operated ear down. It clears up in a few hours. Is this supposed to happen? Am I supposed to sleep "ear up" for many weeks after surgery? I try to, but when I wake up I seem to have rolled to the other side.

 
Old 12-28-2010, 09:32 AM   #11
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

It's not uncommon to have a fullness feeling in your ear after the surgery. You are what, 2 weeks post op? It takes weeks, even months for the ear to heal. I've had the surgery on both of my ears and everything you've said sounds normal. As far as sleeping on the operated ear, your doctor should be the one telling you about that. Did the doctor tell you it was alright to go back to normal activities, like sneezing, blowing your nose and getting it wet? If so, then it's probably ok to sleep on it if it's not uncomfortable but hey, i'm no doctor. Good luck and be patient. I'd say it was 4 - 6 weeks for me to start hearing anything that didnt sound distorted or crazy after both of my surgeries.

Bart

 
Old 12-28-2010, 10:40 AM   #12
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

I'm sleeping on either ear now and my operation was about 20 days ago. I haven't noticed any stuffiness in my ear when I wake up. I think the sleeping ear up is only for the first couple of weeks only. But I still can't hear my fingers rubbing together as well in that ear as in the other ear.

 
Old 02-10-2011, 03:17 PM   #13
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Re: Recent laser stapendotomy

I had my first post-op hearing test yesterday. My tinnitus is at the same pitch as the test tones so it was a hard test. I asked if they could change the tones - maybe up a major third - but they said it's standard and they can't do it.

Overall I've regained about 20-35db of hearing, depending on the frequency. That puts me at the bottom edge of normal hearing for most frequencies.

Even 2 months post-op, sometimes I feel my eardrum flex if I sneeze or blow my nose too hard. It's very disconcerting. Today I feel better about it: they did a pressure check and both eardrums responded the same, normal range. So I know I'm not blowing out my eardrum or damaging anything just from a sneeze.

I'm pretty happy with the results, and so glad for modern medicine!

 
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