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The Problem

In some people the third hearing bone (stapes), becomes stuck to its surrounding structures so it will not vibrate.  This causes hearing loss.

The Cure

A hearing aid will amplify sound and do a perfectly adequate job. Alternatively, surgery may give a more permanent cure. This is a stapedectomy. A small piston is placed as shown, into the ear. It requires an operation via the ear canal, often with a small incision.

Success Rate

The doctor will discuss this with you.

Potential Complications

  1. Failure to improve the hearing.
  2. Loss of all hearing on the operated side-approximately 2%. This means that even a hearing aid will not help on that side.
  3. Dizziness – occasionally for a day or two, rarely more prolonged.
  4. Tinnitus – the surgery may improve pre-existing tinnitus-make no change or occasionally make it worse.
  5. Taste disturbance – up to 10% of people have a temporary taste disturbance, occasionally this can persist.
  6. Facial weakness – rare.
  7. Late failure – the piston may “slip”, especially if you suffer head injury. This may cause hearing loss, dizziness or buzzing. Revision surgery is possible, but the results are not as good and the risks are greater.

What to expect after the operation

You may experience some nausea and vomiting after the operation. It should not be painful.

There will be a plug in the ear, which will be removed after one week.

You will be able to go home later that day or the next day.

What to do after the operation

  1. You must NOT do physical activity as straining may dislodge the seal around the piston.
    • No lifting, chopping wood, house cleaning, etc for three weeks.
    • Avoid constipation or “pushing”. Use stool softeners, eg All-Bran.
    • Sneeze with the mouth open if possible.
  2. SCUBA-diving is not possible EVER.
  3. Extreme sporting activities may put your ear at risk – Ask your Doctor.
  4. Please make an appointment to see Mr Grey one week after surgery.
  5. If you have complications please contact your doctor.

Problems to look out for

  1. Nausea and Vomiting.
  2. Severe ear pain.
  3. Sever dizziness.
  4. High fever.

If you have any concerns following discharge, please call our rooms on 9388 7474.


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