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Had grommets inserted in both ears. Feeling uncomfortable in ear. Should I get them removed?

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ENT Specialist
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Hi I had grommets inserted in both ears 8 weeks ago and have suffered ever since. I had them inserted because of eustachian tube malfunction. Since the op my hearing is terrible, I have terrible pressure and a swooshing noise in both ears, which becomes worse at night. I do sometimes blow out my ears, which squeak and make weird noises. I am not sure if I should do this but I am trying to release pressure. It seems worse in damp weather also!! Which is all the time :-) I am trying to see my specialist but can't get an appointment until September. This will be my first follow up appointment since the operation. I do not know what to do for the best. Should I get them removed or could this be worse? Will symptoms improve? Thank you XXXXXXX ( age 39)
Posted Thu, 19 Jul 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
 
 
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 41 minutes later
Hi

Thanks for the query

Grommet is inserted into the middle ear in order to relieve the negative pressure induced in the ear following blockage of the Eustachian tube.

The adverse effects of insertion of the tubes are:
1. Intolerable noise – due to exposure of the oval window in middle ear to the external atmospheric sounds
2. Dizziness – following stimulation of the labyrinth
3. Tinnitus – stimulation of the cochlea
4. Middle ear infection, etc.

More than 50% of those individuals who get the grommet inserted in their adulthood usually do not tolerate it and get it removed within a month following insertion, the prime cause being intolerable noise secondary to the perforation of the eardrum. Rest of the individuals either try to tolerate and cope up with it or get the grommet removed after a few months because of other issues.

Q: Should I get them removed or could this be worse? Will symptoms improve?
A: If the noise is intolerable you can get it removed. Usually, following insertion of the grommet, the unpleasant symptoms improve after a couple of weeks. In your case, it has been more than 8 weeks. It is better to request your doctor for the removal of the tube rather than suffer from the noise. Gradually, the Eustachian tube block will settle down with regular steam inhalation and steroid nasal spray.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had grommets inserted in both ears. Feeling uncomfortable in ear. Should I get them removed? 13 minutes later
Are there any implications with a second op to remove the grommets. I am anxious of a different set of symptoms worse than this. Though to be honest I can't imagine what could be worse. Thank you so much you have been most helpful.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 8 hours later
Hi

Thanks for writing back

Yes, definitely you will have some pain while removing the grommet as the eardrum is very sensitive. But, once it is removed, further you will not have any pain.

Following removal of the tube, you will continue to hear the unpleasant sounds for few days, but it will soon clear off once the ear drum heals.

Remember! After removal of the tube, avoid any water into the ear till the eardrum has healed completely or else the perforation can remain forever.

I wish you good health.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had grommets inserted in both ears. Feeling uncomfortable in ear. Should I get them removed? 32 minutes later
One last question:-

Why are my ears more blocked with damp/wet weather?


Will cotton wool be sufficient to keep water out when showering as this is what I have been using?


And why is the grommet operation so successful in kids but not adults?

You have been more helpful than any of my doctors and worth every penny!!
Thank you so much
 
 
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later

Hi

Welcome back

1. Why are my ears more blocked with damp/wet weather?
A: During damp and windy weather, the Eustachian tube tends to get blocked easily; this induces negative pressure inside the middle ear giving rise to fullness in the ear.

2. Will cotton wool be sufficient to keep water out when showering as this is what I have been using?
A: It is better to use silicone ear plugs while taking shower, alternatively, you can apply petroleum jelly over the cotton swab and place it outside the ear canal.

3. And why is the grommet operation so successful in kids but not adults?
A: The pain tolerance and tolerance to unpleasant sounds is better in children than in adults, probably due to playful nature of the children where they tend to forget the pain and discomfort.

Secondly, the Eustachian tube block in the children is of only a short duration compared to that of adults, hence insertion of a grommet helps in faster recovery and quick opening of the Eustachian tube. In adults, the trauma would be due to long-standing Eustachian block which will have changed the nature of middle ear mucosa and all the middle & inner ear organs would have become more sensitive.

I have done my best to give you the appropriate information, hope this was helpful to you.

Wish you good health.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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