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Ear Tubes
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sgthappy73 posted:
Tuesday, 3 days ago I had tubes placed in my ears due to fluid buildup in both ears. I am 57 years old. The doctor told me that my hearing would immediately improve after the procedure. Well....immediately after the procedure I removed the cotton ball from my ear and realized that my hearing was just as bad as it was prior to the procedure. I then realized that I should give it some time to improve..... until I called the doctors office and they told me my hearing should have improved immediately. So here's where I am now.... my ears feel like they are filled up...(just like they did before the tubes were put in, when I speak it sounds like I have a can over my head ( I really hear myself talk...muffled), my ears crack just about every time I swallow but they don't pop or clear themselves. I have an appt. with the doctor this coming Monday (the 13th).. I want these tubes out before theres more damage. Any idea if my hearing will return to normal? If /when the tubes come out and the hole repairs itself should my hearing return to normal? I know I had to get my ears drained but I wonder if I should have skipped the tubes? This noise in my head is enough to drive one crazy. Thanks for any answers....
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
In my experience, very few patients who get tubes (most are children who can't really communicate what they hear/feel) have "immediate improvement".

First, a middle ear filled with fluid is not really healthy. There may be some considerable inflammation from this unnatural flood (the middle ear is designed to be filled with AIR, not fluid). Second, the procedure itself, causes an inflammatory response when the ENT cuts a slit in your eardrum, aspirates as much fluid in the middle ear as possible, and then, inserts a foreign body to create an artificial opening. Third, ears do not particularly like foreign bodies, so the tubes create inflammation and swelling.

Your odd hearing is due to this new opening, but eventually, your puzzled brain, middle ear bones, etc. should adjust. I don't know when this will happen, but for most people....IF you can allow more time for things to settle down, things should approach a tolerable "normal" in several more weeks. This is just a general guess, however, since I know nothing about your particular case.

If that fluid remained in your middle ear, you can just about guarantee that your hearing would eventually be permanently, and irreversably effected. Removing the tubes will still leave the hole, so it may take several more weeks before your eardrum heals, and I suspect, the fluid will start building up again. You will be back to square one, but what will you really accomplish? The fluid will slowly and graduallly cause all sorts of trouble.

I think you should have been better prepared for what you are feeling now, but to remove the tubes now is not really going to solve the underlying problem that led to the tubes in the first place.

My suggestion would be for you to try and wait out this post-operative period....several more weeks, or a month or more. I know these symptoms are very annoying, but if you can just tolerate and overlook them for a short while, you may experience the positive benefits that your ENT intented. There are medications that can help you for a while, if you cannot cope with those noises-- the ones putting you over the edge....

If you had a big splinter removed and now your foot is even more painful than before the surgery, would you want the doctor to put the splinter back? I dont think so....

This is my opinion....perhaps not the only opinion, but the best I can offer you. Talk to your ENT and get his/her comments but I think you should hang in there for a while longer.
 
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sgthappy73 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thanks for the advice. Doctor never said anything about hearing after the procedure. If I had known I would have been prepared for this but that was never relayed, only that my hearing would return to normal right after the operation. I didn't even get a chance to speak to the doctor after the operation. He left the center before I woke up. At the very least I know that I am not an isolated case and that this is common. Eventually these tubes will fall out or need to be taken out....when the eardrum heals itself does hearing usually return to normal or will there always be something....just not right? One last question....is it common to experience headaches following this procedure? I've had one since Tuesday and no matter what I take, it just doesn't go away. Thank you for your response.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to sgthappy73's response:
Headaches are not part of the post-recovery symptoms, but it could be related to you anesthesia. I don't know what your doctor used or how long you were under (in kids....is is just five minutes, but adults may be longer).

I don't know what KIND of tubes your doctor inserted. Some last longer than others. These are all good questions, but they are best addressed with the person who did the procedure....if you can catch him or keep him from sneaking away so fast.

I certainly hope that time will heal....


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