My Grommets and Me

This new post is (like my last, and I guess, like many on the forum) to help me. Airing how we are feeling helps.....and those who have experienced the same may have tips which aid coping.

So essentially my story....for those who I haven't bored (or cried to!) before. Developed mild bilateral tinnitus after trivial cold. Tinnitus worsened ,plus pressure feelings, pain and squeaks, crackles etc occasionally from Eustachian tubes, plus resistant sinusitis. Tinnitus worsened, post-nasal drip, developing ear pressure and popping. Referred to NHS ENT.....'tinnitus related to mild age-related hearing loss, Eustachian tube function normal' spite of better than average audiogram for age (61)....and a tympanogram that the technician could get no trace form the right ear. "You will wakeup one morning and think....'This isn't so bad, and you'll learn to ignore's a few leaflets on tinnitus...have a good life'.....sorry if this sounds bitter...but I am.Then panic attacks ,depression, frankly suicidal, weight loss, constipation,piles, urine retention etc. in addition to massive ear pressure and tinnitus.

Elected to see a consultant privately and urgently......he treated my resistant sinusitis...listened and gave me his mobile number to contact him if matters didn't improve. They worsened. I e-mailed his secretary a week ago today...he saw me that morning (NHS)....he repeated all tests....."severe Eustachian tube dysfunction...right worse than left....urgent grommets under general anaesthesia as ?anterior wall very prominent' So he found the nearest slot available on a list of one of his colleagues...that was yesterday.

In the meantime I develop two septic toes.....but I said nothing.....

Yesterday, after the usual panic that no bed would be available due to winter pressures, the call came to go.Lovely admission nurse, lovely surgical team....all came and introduced themselves, discussed all benefits and risks and 3:00 p.m to theatre. Woke up with a 'major hangover' , ear pain and massive tinnitus in my left ear (my 'best ear'), plus my ears/head feeling huge. Still able to eat ( referred to dietician as dramatic weight loss and BMI putting me in the 'alert section'), drink and allowed home.

In the meantime,toes looking/feeling very angry and lines coming up foot. Intense heat and pain......found some old antibiotics and started them.

After a poor night's sleep (with 'whooshing' in my left ear in time with my heartbeat in addition to tinnitus) I am up and about. Tinnitus pretty deafening,rather deaf both ears, left ear feeling pretty pressurised....but not of the usual type...I think. BUT...less than 24 hours ...and my foot is improving. I am hoping that a lot of my symptoms are swelling-related and my ears getting used to their 'plugs'

Forgot to add my throat is now sore due to intubation and I have bitten my tongue (prior to the op) badly.....must have mistaken it for food!

I'm not sure if this post is going to help or hinder anyone who is on a similar path to me....I hope it's not the latter. At the moment I am marking time and will tell it how it is (for me at least). If nothing else....if you are unhappy with what you have been told, then to get a second opinion is the right thing to do.

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  • Caroline, sorry to hear of your experiences.

    I hope it was explained to you that grommets may not improve things, however, thankfully these are still early days for you. Do you know if you had standard or micro-grommets? Whichever, the muffled hearing, pulsatile tinnitus and liquid escape are all 'normal' and almost certainly will improve with time (may take best part of a month). Like you, I had all of these problems, but they did resolve. When you Valsalva (blow through ears with pinched nose) air escapes through the grommet, making a 'whooshing' noise. The squeaking is due to the fluid in your ear/grommet The squeaking will stop when the fluid is gone, but the whooshing will remain as an indicator that the grommets are open. Remember not to Valsalva too hard....gently blowing should push air through them..

    If you have read through the thread you will see that I was in a pretty sorry state and had to be hospitalised for my reactive depression. I'm pretty fine now, though the tinnitus is unchanged.

    I now have permanent T-tubes in my ears (bigger and designed to allow pressure equalisation long term). Before they were inserted I was warned about the muffling/deafness/PT etc., unlike when I had the tiny grommets inserted.

    Caroline, I'm sure you will improve.

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