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Advice from the ENT specialist in reponse to a reader's query.
I am 25. I have had discharge from both ears since childhood. In 1995, a hole in both eardrums was observed. During this time, my ears started bleeding and I was also affected by tinnitus. Now I lost some ear bones in both ears fully or partially. Mastoids are also affected. I underwent KTP Laser Tympinoplasty, Mastoidectomy, Cholestertoms under L/A in right ear in January 2004. But there is loss of hearing. Tinnitus has begun again, there is bleeding and the right ear and surrounding area is swollen. Will I regain normal hearing?
Dr. H. Ganapathy, Consultant ENT Surgeon, replies:
Cholesteatoma can erode the neighbouring bones and can spread to areas inside as well as outside the ear. Due to the mastoidectomy operation the disease is unlikely to spread.
Tinnitus is caused by the otitis media or other co-existing conditions in the ear. The impression of this sound is formed in the brain. It is difficult to erase it from the memory of the brain even after eradicating the disease. In other words, surgery has nothing to do with the presence or absence of tinnitus.
Secondly, Laser is only a tool to cut and coagulate a part and is not a surgical method. Hence use of laser will not modify the occurrence of tinnitus. It also will not determine the outcome of hearing improvement which depends on many factors like the extent of disease, type of hearing loss, surgical skill of doctors etc.
According to your statement, you have developed tinnitus in the left ear too where you have not undergone any procedure.
The continuous bleeding from the operated ear may due to some reparative granulation in the area or due to recurrence of the disease.
Nobody can assure you that your hearing will come back to normal or, for that matter, improve.
The normal hearing capacity is below 20dB. Bleeding from the ear is not very common after surgery though it can occur during healing time.
Regarding tinnitus, nobody can be sure about its disappearance in three months. If the ear is free from discharge it may not recur unless there is some infection or recurrence of the disease.
If the operated ear continues to bleed, get yourself examined again to properly assess the condition of the ear.
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