Stapedectomy for Otosclerosis. My experience.

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I have moderate mixed hearing loss. In my right ear it is across all frequencies but is mainly at the middle frequencies. I have mild sloping to moderate sensory –neural hearing loss in my left ear.

I had a right ear Stapedectomy on 23 May 2019 under general anesthetic. The surgery took about 2 hours, before being wheeled to the ward. I vomited all the way to the ward and again during the rest of day one. I spent the night in hospital wearing compression stockings and attached to an intermittent pneumatic compression machine on the lower legs to above the knee. My surgeon came around in the evening and told me that he had confirmed the stapes condition which he removed. He also used my own blood in my ear.

Pain was mild and controlled by medication. I had a wad of cotton wool secured with an elastoplast over the ear canal. The surgeon scratched the elastoplast and asked if I heard it (yes) and asked me to screw up my face and frown- which I did. I was dizzy and sick in waves but was able to get up and to use the bathroom a number of times. I felt too ill to eat or drink.

The bed was elevated at the head so I slept almost sitting up. I was discharged the next day with instructions to ensure that I got no water in my ear for 6 weeks, not to wash my hair for at least 72 hours, to sleep at no less than a 35 degree angle and to return on 18 June for removal of the internal packaging. I was told to take the external cotton wool off in 4 days. No lifting. I should be well and fit for work within 1-2 weeks.

I was given Panadol and Panadeine Forte to take home. I already had anti -nausea meds in my medicine cabinet.

For the next two days I was miserable with nausea and some dizziness and hardly left my bed.

My neck hurt- I thought from sleeping almost upright (on 3 pillows to ensure the 35 degrees) as I usually sleep with a low pillow. I lost my taste on the operated side and had a metallic taste on that side. I had sharp ear pain, headaches and strange vertigo sensations across my forehead, particularly when I yawned or “burped”.

Eating was awful. The sensation was as if my face was on a mirror that was cracked from bottom left to top opposite end with one part of my face on the left and the other the right side of the mirror. When I chewed it felt like each side of my face was moving up and down in opposite directions. I stayed with soft foods to try and reduce this sensation. After about a week and a half, the “face” sensation eventually began to subside. I was able to close my jaw to its normal alignment at week 3. The metallic taste on the operated side started to subside at about the end of week 1.

During the first few days, my left ear “blocked up” too, so I couldn’t hear out of either of them for many hours. This happened twice then stopped. Continued episodic sharp pain in the right ear, controlled by Panadol.

14 days post surgery. Still can’t hear.

19 days post surgery. Started the Ciproxin drops, 2 drops 3x per day (2mg antibiotic and 10mg hydrocortisone).

21 days post surgery. Tried clicking fingers in front of and then behind the right ear. Some mild muffled sounds-not sure if I can hear. Is it a transmission from the left ear or my imagination? Tried this a number of times. Think that it’s a transmission from the left ear. The right side of my head still felt “full”. I hadn’t had the blocking and unblocking sensations reported by some. I had tinnitus and could hear my heartbeat- it was LOUD.

My neck still hurt, I reduced my pillows to 2- my head started pounding so I went back to 3. My ear still had some sudden sharp pain episodes (though less frequently) - controlled with Panadol. I still had the strange sensations across my forehead and headaches. Nights were worse and sleep continued to elude me.

My own voice sounded weird as did everyone else’s, very tinny and as if people were talking through a voice machine. Work was challenging, with vertigo sensations and some nausea when moving too quickly or flicking my eyes between my 2 computer screens. Switched one screen off and it helped. I word a headband/hat as the cold really hurt my ear. Still some pain in ear. Still taking Panadol though less frequently, mostly at night.

25 days post surgery. Why aren’t I significantly better? Has something gone wrong? This is horrible, I wish that I hadn’t done this……I tried to hear- nada.

26 days post surgery. Packing removed by the surgeon. It was partially disintegrated which is normal. Pretty gross and hurt when the instrument touched the eardrum. Had a hearing test- no change from prior to surgery. Disappointed, though optimistic, at least I have not lost my hearing altogether so at the worst I can use a hearing aid. I was told by both the surgeon and audiologist that it could take some time to hear. I have another appointment in 2 months (August) with both of them. Drops to continue for another 3 days. Can fly in 2 months. Should keep ear dry for another 2 weeks. The surgeon checked both ears and my neck-both no issues. Will watch the headaches.

Surgeon gave me a wallet sized card with the piston device ref# and particulars. He advised to keep it safe and to make sure that it was on my medical records. It is safe for MRI.

Post visit developed a headache and a slow throb in the eardrum from the packaging removal. Took 2 Panadol which helped.

30 days post surgery. I heard the oven alarm from the spare room and went to take the goodies out the oven. Didn’t even make the connection that I had heard it til my partner said “Oh you heard the alarm”. Happy dance! Had a very good day, no headaches or ear ache, on a high.

31 days post surgery. Did too much yesterday and have gone 2 steps backwards but still a significant improvement from the early days. Still have tinnitus but hoping that it will go away as it is not as loud as in the early days. Woke up with a headache but significantly reduced from previous episodes. I took 2 Panadol which have helped. Have to watch not to lift etc.

I am more optimistic- time will tell.

1 like, 11 replies

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    How are you doing now? I think I am the only one where the Dr. told me I could shower after 10 days. Took out the dressing after 10 days too. I am post 4 weeks in 2 days and my right ear feels super full and I am highly sensitive to noise and I even hear my own voice vibrate in my head. It's acutally maddening. I am regretting this surgery and just hope in time this all passes. I am just struggling daily and it's causing me depression. My hearing is worse than it was. They say wait until 2 months...I am so afraid I will forever have this full feeling like many others on the forum.

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    • Posted

      Hi Cristina, I'm on the same boat as you are. I'm in 26 days post op, packing was removed 7 days after op. My ear still feels full, can't hear anything yet, its much worse than what it was. There is gelatine inside the ear so maybe that's what causing this stuffy feeling and muffled hearing. Going for a check up in 3 days, I just spoke to my doc regarding my hearing issues so he just asked me to come for a check up.

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    • Posted

      hi Parsheel how did your follow up go? I'm still struggling. its 2am and my ear woke me. when u turn my head the piston in my ear causes a sound. like a wand. i can touch my ear lobe too and let go and i hear the piston vibrate.

      i go in next week to get my first hearing test which i know will show worse. i have no idea why I'm experiencing sick sounds or results. i pray there is a way to make me feel normal. i still have plugged right ear.

      i hope to hear back from you. i feel so alone. I may consider a second opinion if my next appt..goes poorly.

      i really hope thing can still improve. im post 5 weeks now.

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    • Posted

      I had my surgery 20 days ago and I'm really struggling, I am due to have this packing out in 2 days time, my ear feels so full and I'm unable to eat or speak as I've got really loud reverberating back into my ear, it's driving me mad, I have been so anxious and worried I've been given diazepam from my doctor as I can't stop shaking, I am really hoping this is relived when I have the packing removed.

      hope you are feeling better now.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear that your recovery is going so slow. My daughter is 27, she will have stapedotomy next month. (it is a bit modern version of stapedoctomy), so I am reading all the experiences that I can find.

    I wish you all the best! Can you pls tell me - what is the cost of that surgery in UK? Thank you

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  • Edited

    hello i am 9 days post stapedotomy , my operated ear can hear but still i dont feel it is better than before operation and still there is sound distortion,, has your hearing improved now and sound quality back to normal?

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    • Posted


      I am facing the same problem related to sound distortion after surgery. 4 months have passed and the distortion is the same.

      I want to ask you please if you still have the same problem because I see that the post is 18 months old, has the sound quality improved?

      thanks in advance!

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  • Posted


    I have been operated for stapedectomy in my left ear 7days back.

    after operation I was able to hear even tiny sound with operated left ear.

    I can see some blood fluid coming out from left ear from the day I operated till date. specially when I try to sleep.

    what I observes is from 6th day I am not able to hear from my left operates ear. is it because of blood fluid (some part tried up) has blocked my ear temporarily?

    when I touch the operated left ear and from below neck I can feel sensation.

    there is a pack in my ear which will be removed in 3 weeks time.

    any help or advice is appreciated.

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  • Edited

    Hi, I hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I recently got diagnosed with Otosclerosis and I am considering getting the surgery (Stapedectomy) or hearing aids. Can you guys please tell me how you're doing after a few months? Is it worth doing it? Irene, did the ringing in the ears stop? Cristina and Parsheel did your hearing improve? I'm just so nervous about doing it, especially with covid going on because you can't even sneeze after surgery.

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