Pressure changing in ear post-mastoid surgery - 'underwater' feeling in ear

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Hi guys,

I first had Mastoid surgery on my right ear in 2007. The infection was quite advanced at this point, and vital it was detected when it was. I had regular ear infections in my right ear growing up, which thankfully led to a doctor in Wolverhampton, whilst at university, spotting the infection (cholesteatoma) around the bone in the middle ear.

The operation was successful, despite my hearing being at 85% in that ear aferwards (not so bad). I now go for regular check ups at the ENT at my local hospital in Bristol, with wax being suctioned out (gross, and SO uncomfortable!), and just general checks for any signs of the infection returning or inflammation.

However, since the surgery, I have experienced uncomfortable symptoms. Every day at some point, (usually first thing in the morning), I have to pop my ear to improve my hearing, and then usually not long after, my ear pops back, and the hearing worsens, the sort of sensation of when water gets in your ear and it feels like your underwater. Its really distracting when it happens, whether at work or watching a film etc, and I then seem to find it hard to get it back to its previous level of hearing, and it often keeps popping and feeling 'blocked' again. I would say this lowers my hearing to about 60% in the ear, maybe less.

I have tried revision surgery in 2011, which didn't work. I have a hearing aid, which probably helps my hearing slightly but doesn't stop the popping or changing of pressure. My consultant at the ENT clinic doesn't seem to know what causes it.

Has anyone experienced any similar symptoms after a cholesteatoma? My theory is there is some kind of blockage or continuous problem of wax behind the ear drum in the middle ear. But wouldn't this have come up in the revision surgery?

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as, whilst I know things could be worse, this is causing me a lot of negative feelings and is affecting my quality of life as it happens so regularly.



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  • Posted

    the same thing happens with me ive been dealing with it for 20 years. i do notice that if i do a mixture of alcohol and boric acid, after a few days it goes away. if i stop the mixture, after a few days it comes back

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply. Good to know there's someone else out there that has a similar problem (I mean that in the nicest way!) and that I'm not alone in this.

      When you say you do a mixture of alcohol and boric acid, do you mean down your ear? Or drink it? Sorry if these are dumb questions!

      Do you think one of those hearing aids that get implanted further inside the ear might help level it out, and potentially stop this?

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    • Posted

      My ENT recommended one tablespoon of boric acid per bottle of 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. It's the same formula that divers and swimmers use on their ears. Put 5 to 10 drops in your ear for about 15-20 minutes. It should help you out after a few days. I didn't know what was causing the clogged feeling, because it was happening right after a professional cleaning, as well as everyday. He explained that cholesteatoma is caused by eustacian tube dysfunction, and that dysfunction is usually caused by a deviated septum, or bad sinuses, I happen to have both. So the clogging you feel is usually sinus and post nasal drip, that has no where to go. the mixture dries the fluid up because alcohol and boric acid are both drying agents. Its sold under the brand names Auro-Dri, and EarDry, but you can make a whole entire alcohol sized bottle on your own for $5.

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    • Posted

      I think I found it, its called Auro-dri, water-drying aid. "Clears Water From Swimmers' EarsAlso clears water trapped in ears due to bathing and showeringHelps relieve clogged ear discomfort'.
      Does this sound like the product you mentioned that's available in the U.S?
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Thanks for your help!

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