About five days after the Tympanoplasty operation, I stopped taking the vicodin regularly. I had very little pain. On the 6th day, I went to a required post-operation appointment. The doctor suctioned out a little of the 'packing' (some kind of foam that they put in your ear to keep the skin graft and eardrum pressed together so they attach to each other). He also gave me some ear drops to use twice a day.
On the days that followed (6-8 days after), I start noticing how I actually hear less out of the ear than I heard before the operation. I started to notice that when I covered my good ear, I could detect some sounds with my recently-operated ear, but not all. I could hear distinct voices on the television, but they sounded really low. I'd say that one week after the operation my hearing on the operated ear was at about 25% (when compared to my non-operated on side). It also worried me that certain sounds, like the wiggling sound of our ceiling fan, I could not hear at all. I noticed that my ear detected low pitches better than high.
I also had sounds in my ear that were quite bothersome and scary. The sounds I heard in my ear the week after the Tympanoplasty can be described as:
Slight ringing sounds
Sounds that seem similar to a heart beat
Feeling/sound of blood pumping
Sounds of liquid, and the sensation of having liquid stuck in my ear.
I searched the internet and read all I could about Tympanoplasty issues and learned that these sounds are referred to as Tinnitus. Many internet sites mention that Tympanoplasty patients often experience Tinnitus, which can be present for some time (no certain estimate on how long), but are rarely permanent. I didn't find any personal accounts on-line of these sounds, or how they turned out, so that was why I decided to write this blog. Not knowing if what you are hearing is 'normal' can be scary.
Today, it has been 10 days since I had the Tympanoplasty surgery. The ringing sounds have diminished, but they are not completely gone. I also noticed that when there are a lot of different sounds, such as cars and everyday street sounds, my ear hears a wall of noise and I can't pick up what my husband is saying (when he's standing right next to me and we are walking). I ask him to walk on the side of my good ear, as it's much easier to hear him that way.
I have been putting the drops the doctor prescribed for a few days now. It's kind of itchy inside my ear canal on and off, but the doctor says it's just part of the healing process. Maybe all of these funky sounds and not being able to hear well are normal, but I don't know and won't know until three weeks from now. In a few days, I have my second post-operation appointment, so I will find out of the skin graft is doing OK.
If you had a Tympanoplasty and experienced these 'weird sounds', please comment with a description of the sound, and most importantly, with the duration and outcome of them. Thanks!