Yesterday I visited my ear surgeon for a follow-up appointment, roughly two months after my SCDS surgery. A quick run-down of my current symptoms:
- Still have ringing and other noises (heartbeat, eye muscles, etc.) in the operated ear
- Sound of my voice is still very loud (autophony) which keeps me away from loud places because it’s so uncomfortable
- No dizziness or balance problems
I had a hearing test, which showed that my hearing in the left (operated) ear is OK, but that I have conductive hearing loss there. Some of that is due to the tube in my eardrum, which Dr. Gianoli removed. He said it looked like it was clogged, so it probably hasn’t been letting air through in a while. Now I have a small hole in my eardrum, so I still can’t go swimming or get water in that ear until the eardrum is healed up.
After looking everything over, the doc thinks the autophony and the rest of the conducting hearing loss are due to the remaining protective packing gel inside my ear. He packed it very thoroughly during surgery to protect everything during healing, and it typically takes months for all that gel to dissolve and be absorbed. In one case, he said, it took a patient a full year. I hope it’s not a year of this, but he seemed to think there’s a good chance my hearing will be good within six months.
I’m anxious to be autophony-free, of course, especially since my hearing was back to tip top shape after just one month after the surgery on my right side. But I need to continue to be patient, since this new surgical approach takes longer to bounce back from. It’s tough, though. I don’t want to be Silent Bob, but it’s painful to talk any louder than a librarian.
Even though I’ve been doing many “normal activities” already, he officially cleared me, with a couple exceptions. I’m not supposed to do anything that causes strain. He specifically mentioned no yoga or pilates. I assume he also meant either no weight lifting or only very light weight lifting (don’t tell him I did weights last week). And of course, no water in the ear until the eardrum heals. Other than those things, it’s all back to normal.