Patient Information Sheets

This leaflet contains some information and instructions that you should follow after your major ear surgery.

General advice

After any surgery, especially if it is under general anaesthetic, you may feel tired, sleepy and disorientated and therefore you should not drive or operate machinery for the next 48 hours. Your insurance company may not cover you in the event of an accident during this time.

What dressing and stitches do I have?

During the operation, dressings will be placed in the ear canal and a cotton wool ball placed on the outside. If you have a wound behind your ear, it will be sewn up with stitches under the skin that will dissolve and do not need to be removed. It will be covered with sticky paper strips, which are best left on until you attend for your first outpatient appointment about 3 weeks after your surgery.

What may I notice after the operation?

Following ear surgery you may experience the following symptoms:

  • noises in the ears known as tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, humming, squelching noises), which may be new or louder if they were present before the operation
  • mild dizziness or a spinning sensation
  • changes in taste sensation, usually a metallic taste
  • hearing loss and muffled hearing as though under water
  • blood-stained discharge from the operated ear;
  • occasional sharp shooting pains for which you may need a few days of pain killers.

Most of these symptoms will settle within a few days but occasionally they can persist for weeks or longer.

What do I do with the drops?

Following some operations, drops are necessary in order to aid recovery and prevent complications.

To use the drops, remove any cotton wool, apply the drops into the ear canal whilst lying on your side with the operated ear up.   (Try not to touch the dressing in the ear or the wound). Replace a fresh, dry cotton wool ball afterwards.

Drops should be used twice a day until the dressings are removed in the clinic.

When can I wash my hair or get my ear wet?

If you have a cut behind your ear then this must be kept dry for 7 days. Dry shampoo can be used. Remember to keep the ear canal dry at all times. When you shower take out the dry cotton wool plug and replace it with another smeared with Vaseline. When you have finished washing, throw away the Vaseline plug and replace with dry cotton wool.

What follow up will I need?

Usually you will have an appointment about 3 weeks after your operation. About 2-3 months after your operation, you will have a hearing test.

Other information that may apply to me

Avoid ‘popping’ your ears.

If part of your operation involved repair or replacement of your bones of hearing, then you should avoid any vigorous head movements for 4-6 weeks.

What problems should I look out for?

Please contact my private secretary, Ashleigh on 07821 31 31 90 for further advice if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • weakness on one side of the face
  • severe spinning dizziness
  • increasing pain or discharge.

How long do I need to take off work?

One week is usually sufficient, unless you have been directed otherwise.

When can I fly?

Generally, it is safe to fly 6 weeks after ear surgery.

When can I swim?

Most ear surgery heals fully within 3 months; however, people do vary in their speed of healing. Ask at your appointment when your surgeon feels it is safe to swim.