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Muffled hearing and ringing in the ears after tube surgery? Help!
vickles27 posted:
I am a 44 year old female and had ear tube surgery 2 days ago on both ears (chronic sinus / ear issues). Since then, my hearing is muffled and I have a loud ringing in my ears. It is interfering with my work, my speech and is driving me crazy. I have a follow up appt next week, but I want to know if this is a normal part of the healing process or if there is something wrong. If so, what could the problem be? If it is temporary, how long before it goes away? I am flying in a few weeks and I had the surgery to avoid the intense pain I felt last time I flew. But I think I would rather take the pain that not being able to hear very well and this annoying ringing. Any advice?
Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
Two days after tube surgery, a person still has considerable inflammation of the eardrum and the surrounding tissue. The tube, alone, creates a bit of inflammaton (at first), just like splinter. It can take a few weeks for this to calm down, and your doctor should have warned you of this possibility. Yes, this should be temporary, but it is not possible to know how long it will take you to be "normal" again....healing is an individual process and the techinique used in these surgeries and even the type of tubes, can differ.

Did the ENTgive you any special steroid/antibiotic eardrops? If so, these can help. If not, give him a call today.

Assume these new tubes are not clogged with blood or other debris already, you should fine to fly, but your ENT will have to give you that specific "okay" since I have no way of examining you.
ColleenDP responded:
I am 41 and had a tube in my left ear about two months ago. What you are saying is TOTALLY normal! I've been getting sinus infections about 3-4 times a year my entire life, but last spring, I started getting fluid and ear infections as well. After 3 round of antiobiotics and 4 rounds of steriods between March and August, my doctor suggested getting a tube in my left ear. He said I had eustacian tube disfunction and that this would help. The day after I had the procedure I woke up with a horrible ringing in my left ear. I'd always had a slight ring, but this was maddening. My 'external' hearing was muffled, but everything 'in' my head- tooth brushing, hearing, the ringing- sounded like it was magnified ten times. I was on the phone to my doctor too, and he said it sometimes takes a few months (up to 2!) for this to calm down. He also said that all I had to do was say the word, and he'd take them out if they were making me that crazy...Because I didn't have an infection/fluid/hearing loss at the time of the surgery, I think it was worse. Apparently if I had, I would probably have felt some relief. Anyway, I am now two months out and it is MUCH better! I don't know if I've adjusted or it's actually gotten better, but either way, I can deal with it. I only notice the ringing about 10% of the time now- usually when I'm in a really quiet room. My hearing seems better it was immediately after the surgery. (I'm a science teacher, so I notice I'm not asking my kids to repeat themselves quite as much). I still hear 'in my head' more than I'd like, but it's still much better than 2 months ago.

I'd say give it more time- at least a few months. I know it's awful, but it does get better! Take care!
Sniffles123 responded:
Vickles can you please update us on what happened?

I have severe allergies which cause my sinus to swell and fluid to fill in my ear, I've suffered from this for years with my left ear and tubes every couple of years. In general I gave up on my left ear because my right ear is what I depend on. Unfortunately this year I suffered from horrible allergies and the flu and basically felt like I was sick for 3 months and it hadn't gone away. Fluid was filled in my left ear and my allergy dr gave me some cortisone pills to try to combat this and when that didn't help I was referred to an ENT. My ENT recommend extracting the fluid and bilateral tubes. Its been 2 days now... My left ear is better now, better before the procedure. As far as my right ear... I can hear better than when it was filled with fluid BUT it sounds like there's a cup over my ear! I can't hear audio frequencies or as clear as I was hearing. I'm trying not to panic but I'm nervous. He didn't give me any medication just told me to keep water out of my ears and use ear plugs when showering, etc...

Also when I close my mouth and blow my nose I can feel air come out of my left ear but nothing from the right... If I can describe my right ear it sounds like a guitar with the TONE knob turned all the way down. Kind of like the teacher from Charlie Brown. Volume is there, not perfect yet but tone is gone! I would appreciate any advice. I know it's only been 2 days but I don't know what to feel or think.

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