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sarahebeth 01-05-2010 06:53 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Hey Everyone! I've been lurking for some time and finally decided to register so I could chat with you. I had a stapedectomy one week ago today (Dec. 29th). I would say everything so far has been pretty typical...vertigo for about 3 days, pain (but not horrible), no nausea (thank goodness!!!).

What I have to ask about, though, is this miserable pressure in my head and the fact that that all sound (both ears) seems muffled. I feel like BOTH ears are stopped up and that my entire head and neck are throbbing. My jaw and neck even feel almost bruised. I don't have any drainage, no fever, no redness, I don't think there is any infection, but it really is frustrating. I go tomorrow for my one week post op appointment, so I guess we'll see what they say then.

I haven't really noticed any improvement in my hearing yet either. There have been a few times that I thought MAYBE it was better for a second, but I certainly haven't had any EUREKA! moments. I'm trying to be patient, but I guess I really thought that after a week I would be feeling better. TIA for "listening".

theponderousman 01-05-2010 10:47 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Hey there Sarahebeth, congrats on the surgery and the 'good so far' recovery! The muffled part is pretty 'common' from what I've read and what I went through, and a month out for me, there still is some, unfortunately on the GOOD ear too :( Just ask your DR about the sore neck and all, although I think I recall reading one of the reports from a while ago that it happened to them too, so it could be a reaction some people have?

Just keep reminding yourself that you may not hear much of a difference for months...that way you won't be too upset if you can't tell :)

Reidan 01-06-2010 02:53 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Hello everyone. I too am at 5 weeks post-op. Things are better for me too. Still have some pains and sudden bursts of loud tinnitus (compared to my normal low background noise tinnitus) Hearing is not yet back to pre-surgery levels. This has me concerned, but I am trying to be patient and calm. Well, as much as I can be!!

My first post-surgery hearing test is still 3 weeks away. So I went to a music store to get a tuning fork to perform my own tests. The store owner told me that he does not get much requests for those anymore. Instead he showed me a small key-chain device that emits the 6 tones of a guitar, notes E,A,D,G,B, and e. Only cost $12 so I bought it. When comparing both ears I can definitely tell that the surgery ear hears the tone lower volume and pitch than the non-surgery ear.

If you took the time to read my other very long post you may remember that I posted that the incision from my surgery came out of the ear canal and onto the side of my head. Because of this I had lots of swelling and numbness. It has gotten much better, but still have some of it even today, 5 weeks after surgery. So I am hoping that is the cause of the hearing not recovering better.

To Sarahebeth,
The jaw soreness, and maybe even your neck, may be related to your Eustachian Tube which runs from the inner ear to the throat and passes real close to the jaw joint. The tissues around the tube are most likely inflamed from the surgery and you are feeling it in the jaw and neck muscles.

I had headaches for the first couple of weeks after the surgery. Had one or two days of sinus drainage that caused some stuffiness in my head and non-surgical ear. Took over the counter Zyrtec to clear it up.

As for not hearing any better. Do you still have surgical packing in your ear? I had 2 layers of packing. One was gauze that they removed 1 week after surgery and the other was a gel packing down deep in my ear that they did not remove until the 2 week mark. Things got much better then, but as I posted above. For me they have not approved to better than pre-surgery. But everyone has a different body and heals at a different rate.

If you have made it 1 week with little or no complications, you are doing real well. Be patient and let the ear heal.

soundboy 01-06-2010 04:33 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
No they didn't give a reson for the perforated ear drum, apparently it just happens sometimes. I'm hoping it will healby itself, my hearing is better than it was pre op so it's positive so far. (5weeks) I've noticed i'm saying what>? haa? can you repeat that? a lot less, which is comforting.

Hang in there Sarah it does get better, I remember after 2 weeks feeling like i just wanted to feel normal again, It's a massive knock to your system. And don't get discouraged by your hearing not being good yet. I'm at 5 weeks and consider myself lucky that it's starting to get good now.

Reidan - I also have a difference in pitch between ears. I produce music, and work in audio so really hoping this fixes. apparently a difference in pitch is pretty normal and generally fixes itself after around 6 weeks.

A naturopath friend put me on to a remedy called Traumeel. I think it's helped with the inflammation and fullness feeling. Can never really tell with these things, but i figure it can't hurt. It's a natural remedy for inflammation and Otitis. So it can only help with no side effects.

sarahebeth 01-06-2010 07:42 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Thanks, guys for getting back to me. What everyone said makes sense and is reassuring. I actually had my post op appointment today. He took out the stitches and then "vacuumed" out the gel stuff (which wasn't bad, but a little nerve wrecking). He then plugged my "good" ear and whispered numbers until I could hear them. He said I heard them at a moderate whisper. He was very close when he did it, so I'm not sure how to measure the amount of gain. I do go back in 2 more weeks, the 21st, for my official first post op hearing exam. That should be interesting.

As far as the muffled feeling, I think it has a LOT to do with pressure issues as well as healing. Sometimes it's so muffled and full feeling that it makes me crazy...then a few hours later it feels almost normal for a short while. Oh, and sounds are so strange I have water in my ears. Even riding in the car...the wind on the car and the passing cars seemed SO LOUD compared to the radio inside the car. Strange.

Anyway, I feel like I'm posting my thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness...sorry for that. I hope it makes sense. There is just soooo much that I'm analyzing, processing, and dealing with each day. I'm so glad others understand.

Oh, and in case anyone is curious, I have a mixed loss. My left was operated on and before surgery I had a PTA of 77 dB. My right ear is at 38 dB. I am 32, a mama to two little girls (5 and 18 months), and am a teacher.:)

theponderousman 01-06-2010 09:55 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Sarah, keep up the spirits! :) And trust me, the feeling of rambling in posts is ALSO normal! Go back and read mine for crying out loud! :) The description of the noise (not specific sounds) in the car is something that REALLY bugged me, but in a 'good' way because hey, it was sound I hadn't been hearing for a long tim!

I think my best way to describe what I was hearing to friends that always asked about it was that it was like standing next to a fast moving train talking to someone with a sea shell over your ear. I came up with other descriptions, including some when I had some drinks in me, but I liked that 1 the best!

Good luck in the coming weeks!

sarahebeth 01-07-2010 07:26 AM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
[QUOTE=theponderousman;4157584]I think my best way to describe what I was hearing to friends that always asked about it was that it was like standing next to a fast moving train talking to someone with a sea shell over your ear. I came up with other descriptions, including some when I had some drinks in me, but I liked that 1 the best![/QUOTE]

Wow!!!!!!!!!! Perfect description!!! Perfect! I am so glad it's "normal". When did that feeling go away for you? I am a high school teacher and am wondering how it's going to be in the classroom. I wasn't in school last week b/c of Christmas break/surgery and we have been out all week so far because of snow (a BLESSING for my healing). I think it may be back to reality tomorrow, though.

theponderousman 01-07-2010 03:58 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Well for me I'd say it was there for a good 3 weeks if not more. Keep in mind, as with the tinnitus, I got used to some of the sounds and feelings (dizzyness is still there at times but I'm used to that now too). But each person has so many different reactions to the surgery, and there's 2 different surgeries at that! Which 1 did you get by the way?

I've gone to a few movies since the surgery at the places that have the high end sound systems, and I've found that bringing a small squishy ear plug has helped in some of the scenes (Avatar had a few loud ones). So you may want to hold onto a few of those in rare times too.


soundboy 01-07-2010 05:00 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report

Yeah i know what you mean, I had the earplug in and out all through Avatar..especially the war scenes

Pondorous how's your hearing now overall, we had the op around the same time

Mine's better than before the operation, but it's still very bass heavy..still missing out of lots of high frequencies. can you easily hear all speech now from your new ear?

sarahebeth 01-07-2010 05:05 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Huh. I didn't know there were two different types of surgeries. For mine, I was completely sedated. He peeled back my eardrum, took a piece of tissue from that little cartilage knob in front of my ear (guess it has a name, but I don't know it), used that tissue to close off my inner ear (I think that's what he said he did with it), took out the stapes, and replaced the stapes with teflon/titanium stapes. He said my "ear was wide open" with no nerves in the way and just took 45 minutes. I also had about 5 stitches on the the "knob" that he took the tissue from. I had all packing and stiches removed one week post-op (yesterday). Does that sound pretty typical?

Side husband just sat down to play the piano per my 5-year-old's request...I feel like I have my head in a bucket.

Hey, how long were you told not to lift anything heavy? I have a 21 lb 18 month-old. Not being able to pick her up is breaking my heart. We've had to do a lot of floor sitting.

sarahebeth 01-07-2010 05:07 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Mine's better than before the operation, but it's still very bass heavy..still missing out of lots of high frequencies. can you easily hear all speech now from your new ear?[/QUOTE]

Were you missing high frequency before the surgery?

soundboy 01-07-2010 09:35 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
yeah i was missing a bit, but definitley more bass was missing before the op. 70dB at 250hz. But i had no sensorineural loss which was good.

sarahebeth 01-08-2010 05:45 AM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
[QUOTE=soundboy;4158387]yeah i was missing a bit, but definitley more bass was missing before the op. 70dB at 250hz. But i had no sensorineural loss which was good.[/QUOTE]

That sounds a lot like what my audiogram looks like. Pre op I was at around 70 at 250 and then bottomed out at 90 at 1000...then it starts to climb back up.

It's great that you don't have an sensorineural to deal with. Really fabulous. Unfortunately, I do, so I'm not expected miracles...just significant improvement (hoping for about a 50 dB gain).

theponderousman 01-08-2010 04:21 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Sarah: Sounds like you had the Stapedectomy which is a full removal of the stapes. That surgery's been around since the 50s and is the most common. I had the Stapedotomy which leaves the stapes in tact but uses a laser to drill a hole at the base of the stapes and they put a little pass-thru thing-a-ma-jig (not the official term mind you :)) in there. It's been around for over a decade and is supposed to be less invasive. Typically they have the same time in the OR although I guess I was in there for a bit longer.

My DR said no heavy lifting of over 40 lbs for 4-6 weeks and I was just given the OK for regular activity. I think 40 is the average weight to watch out for, so your 20lb child SHOULD be ok, but check with your DR 1st. I think they just don't want you to raise your heart rate too much or put much pressure within your head.

Soundboy: My hearing (I THINK) continues to improve and I'm hearing sounds in my left ear I can't really remember hearing for the longest of times. Mine too is base heavy and I'm beginning to understand more speech (I think?). I won't have a hearing exam for at least 2 more months. One of my own 'personal' tests is rubbing my fingers together, which I haven't been able to hear for YEARS, and now I can, so that's been really good.

Still stuffy in the right side (good side) of my head and my good ear hasn't popped. Gonna try some Zyrtec or something to try and see if that helps. I also have had a general cold (cause it's -20 windchill right now!!!) and the general pressure in my entire head has kept me somewhat more dizzy than previously. Bah!


Reidan 01-09-2010 08:01 PM

Re: New Stapedectomy Report
Hello everyone. I too have gotten a head cold. Real stuffed up and now both ears are plugged! Zyrtec is helping my sinuses, but not my ears.

Went to my nieces birthday party today and it was real tough dealing with the back ground noise. She turned 20 yesterday, but she has younger siblings. So there was a house full of kids from 3 thru 20. The noise was real fun to hear over. And watching college bowl games and NFL playoffs did not help much either.

I too have been sensitive to loud noises. Went to see Avatar too and wished I had some ear plugs. A couple of times I just used my finger! ;)

My hearing loss was bilateral and the audio gram was almost even for both sides. Lowest frequencies started around 55 db, and ramped up to about 25 db for the high.

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