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Go Back   WakeWorld > >> Wakeboarding Discussion Archives > Archive through January 18, 2008

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Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-03-2007, 6:19 PM Reply   
i know there's been a few posts about this in the past, and i recall there was at least someone who ended up needing to get ear surgery to repair it, so i'm hoping to hear from you, whoever you are!

my story is that I burst my ear drum on a really stupid ollie 180 - just wasn't paying attention. it didn't really hurt much, until about 3 hrs later when the infection kicked in.
Anyway, that was about 13.5 weeks ago, and i still have a massive hole in my ear. It's pretty depressing given we're just heading into summer here in aus, and i'm not allowed in our grotty river cos i'm pretty much guaranteed another infection.
I really don't want to have surgery, but it's starting to look a little bit inevitable!
I'm particularly upset at the moment, because my gp told me the other day that the surgery doesn't work half the time anyway!
I was just hoping to hear from other people who've had a more seriously perforated ear drum - how long did you wait before surgery? did it work? how are things going now!
i'm hoping for happy stories to cheer me up, but a bit of realism from people who've been through this would be great, regardless of the outcome.
thanks :-(
(p.s. I'm still a few months away from surgery - my specialist won't operate til the weather gets cooler here anyway, so there's still a chance it might heal on its own!?)
Old    Matt (metz213)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-03-2007, 8:24 PM Reply   
I busted mine late may..it almost healed then i busted it again mid june..the second time was way more serious (a lot of nasty stuff) so after I realized it wasn't healing I went to my specialist...he decided surgery would be the best way to go..so I just had my surgery on November 16th..things seem to be going pretty good..still can't hear some but it is getting better..i see my specialist again in about a week and a half and we'll see how it is coming along..but do not get any water in it no matter what(use foam ear plugs in the water and the shower) and also see if your doc can get you some drops to stop the infection..overall it didnt stop me from riding over the summer but now I wouldn't be riding no matter what because of the surgery..ill have an update when I know how things are going..hope that helped you out man just keep your head up
Old    Caleb Rountree (dlwsrider)      Join Date: Apr 2007       12-03-2007, 8:29 PM Reply   
They should have given you Anti-Biotics after you busted it, that would have taken care of it.

ive had 6 over my lifetime and have never even heard of surgury.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-03-2007, 8:48 PM Reply   
i started oral antibiotics that first night, then had antibiotic/anti-inflamatory ear drops from 2 days after that. It still took 2 weeks for my ear to stop leaking fluoro yellow stuff, but at least it didn't hurt after that first night.
the infection isn't really the issue. the main issue is that it's a much larger than average hole, and it doesn't seem to be healing up within a normal time frame.

i'm definitely wearing ear plugs in the shower, and actually had my first ride on the weekend - i had ear plugs, then cotton wool, then a swimming cap, then helmet with ear flaps - i looked like a freak, but felt a bit safer!! :-) just had a slash around and didn't even get my head wet.
the drs are telling me not to ride at all - and it's killing me!!

thanks for the info matt - i'd definitely love to keep getting some updates on how things improve (?) post-op.
Old    Kevin (wakebdr2002)      Join Date: Apr 2007       12-04-2007, 6:27 AM Reply   
I have busted both eardrums in the past. The first time pretty much the whole eardrum was gone so the after about 8 weeks when the doc was sure the infection was gone he put a synthetic patch on it. It healed pretty well and I don't notice it. The second time I busted my other eardrum and it was only 1/3 perforated. I just used anti-biotic drops and this one healed on its own in about 4-5 weeks.
Old    Montgomery (lovin_the_wake)      Join Date: Jul 2007       12-04-2007, 6:45 AM Reply   
I busted mine in early June and after the nurse at the ER gave me a prescription for drops (which apparently you're not supposed to use if your eardrum is perforated) which gave me a horrid ear infection so then I went to my regular DR. and he gave me oral antibiotics and that took about 2 weeks after that to get back to normal so mine took a little under 2 months to completely heal . . . No surgery and my hearing seems to be OK
Old    Chad Chinners (chad_chinners)      Join Date: Mar 2006       12-04-2007, 11:00 AM Reply   
Have you gotten it checked out by an ENT specialists yet Alice. You have got to be getting tired of keeping water out of it in the shower. I know i did. I busted mine last october and I didn't get to ride this whole summer because of it. I ended up having 3 surgeries before it was repaired. That's not the norm though. If it has been 13 weeks it probably should of healed. When you get to the ENT ask about the synthetic patches. They didn't work for me either but they are a simple in office procedure and may be worth a shot. Good Luck. This took up alot of my year this year so PM me with questions.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-04-2007, 2:33 PM Reply   
thanks for the advice chad! I'll definitely PM you if i have any more questions. I can't believe you had to have 3 surgeries!!

i saw an ent the day after i did it (mid sept). i saw the ent again at 6 weeks and it hadn't healed. he didn't have anything particularly useful to say, just 'come see me in february and we'll see if it's healed by then, and if not we'll look into surgery'.
he doesn't seem to get that this is ruining my whole summer! :-)
i think i'm struggling so much because last time i was off the water this long i had a busted knee, and at least i felt injured and awful and in pain! now i feel completely fine and healthy and ready to ride, but i'm not allowed to.

re the shower - i only wear the ear plugs when i'm washing my hair - the ent said shampoo is really bad!! i also bought some of docs pro plugs (non vented) and use them in the shower - they're great cos they're really easy to use. no stuffing around and they're not messy!

sorry i'm being such a big sook, i guess i'm just getting sick of waiting, and none of the drs can give me any definite answers which is really frustrating!
Old    Brant (bbower)      Join Date: Mar 2007       12-05-2007, 8:35 AM Reply   
Ahhh the busted ear drum...3 of us in my boat have busted ear drums. we all wear those wax ear plugs, they seem to work the best. The last time i busted mine was July 4th this year...Its still busted! I went back to the ENT about two months ago, they told me to give it time to let it heal and come back in January. When I went in the day it was busted, i asked about wakeboarding he said "well, you really shouldn't, but i know you are going to anyway. So if you do, wear the wax earplugs, and take these drops with you just in case you get any water in there." he gave me like 30 sample bottles of Ciprodex. Basically it just sterilizes everything so you don't get an infection. I keep bottles in my boat, in my truck, everywhere...

as far as surgery, like i said i still have busted ear drums (yes, they are both busted), its more annoying than anything. The fact that i can exhale out of my ears gets really irritating. surgery is pretty much tubes in your ears that fill in the holes. Honestly, unless its an ungodly sized hole, my dr. doesn't recomend it. The ear drum will repair itself IF you can do a few things...1. keep it dry 2. if it does get wet, make sure it gets cleaned out and sterilized 3. wear earplugs 4. DO NOT POP YOUR EARS! Like i said I can exhale out of both of my ears b/c of these things being busted, its a terrible habit now and its not getting any better b/c of this. as much as you can don't pop your ears. think of the nipple on a bottle. it'll stay shut but when it opens to allow milk come out it opens breifly. that's what your ear drum does. it needs to stay closed in order to heal correctly. Just give it time and wear ear plugs.. you'll be fine.
Old    Montgomery (lovin_the_wake)      Join Date: Jul 2007       12-05-2007, 10:00 AM Reply   
When mine was busted there was nothing more annoying than hearing the bubbling in my ear when I would swallow or yawn
Old    Justin Rodier (jwr)      Join Date: Jan 2006       12-05-2007, 4:39 PM Reply   
Quick hijack, I busted mine this summer, and a few guys were swearing by "Doc's pro plugs" they said these were awesome, does anyone else have any opinions on that? And dont you hate it when you sneeze really hard and your ear pops and you wonder....did I just tear that open again, every time!!
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-05-2007, 6:29 PM Reply   
justin, i read about docs pro plugs on a different thread here, which is why i tracked some down. they definitely sound pretty good, and my ent sold me my current pair, so they must be ok! definitely easy to use.

sometimes when i blow my nose i'll hear the air come hissing through and i'll wonder is i've just torn it open! but given how big my dr says the hole still is i guess that's not what's happening... i hope!

brant, i just had a look at the info sheet the ent gave me about surgery, and it sounds a little different to what you've described. they use a graft of either ear muscle or ear cartilidge to patch the hole? apparently recovery is around 3 months.

that's really great that you're still riding... i'm tempted, but don't think it will be in our river - any of that water in my ear and i'm guaranteed an infection!! might have to find some cleaner spots to ride for a while :-)
Old    Chad Chinners (chad_chinners)      Join Date: Mar 2006       12-06-2007, 6:54 AM Reply   
Is it called a Tampanoplasty Alice.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-06-2007, 2:21 PM Reply   
my pamphlet is for a Myringoplasty. i wonder if they're just different names for the same thing? we are in different countries...
Old    SoCal MOB (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       12-06-2007, 9:42 PM Reply   
Myringoplasty and tympanoplasty are the same thing...different names.

You know the white sheath layer you see in meat sometimes...really shiney and tough....that is called fascia and it covers the muscle. They use the fascia from the muscle behind your ear to patch the graft. Or believe it or not, we use a cigarette type paper or gelfilm. The principle here is to get the fascia or paper on the hole and encourage the tissue of the eardrum to grow together and close the hole. It is actually very successful. The eardrum tissue is only a few cells thick so although its tough, it is also not very thick.

Alice, it seems that your hole has gotten too big to heal on its own and has not closed by itself yet so probably never will. I would get the surgery. And be careful with those foam plugs. I have a tube in my ear from getting fluid behind my eardrums because my eustacian tube doesn't drain the middle ear. The only plugs I use are the white silicone ones that are moldable.

Anyway, just my experience.
Old    Chad Chinners (chad_chinners)      Join Date: Mar 2006       12-07-2007, 12:18 PM Reply   
They tried the gelfilm w/ me after the second failed graft. Was really quick and easy. The surgery isn't too painful. Especially after the first few days. The worst part for me was all the packing they put in you ear canal. They sandwich the eardrum w/ packing that dissolves after a month. When it starts dissolving it can get really itchy. Its not horrible though and regaining some of my hearing and not having to deal with ear plugs/infections anymore made it worth it. I'd recommend it.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-09-2007, 3:09 PM Reply   
my ent won't operate til it gets cooler here - he won't operate in summer because the humidity makes it too hard the keep the wound clean and dry or something... makes sense i guess.
I'm starting to agree that my ear is not going to heal by itself, but given there's nothing else i can do in the meantime i'm going to try to stay hopeful!! :-)

Also, I haven't used the foam ear plugs at all - i think someone else posted that. I use docs proplugs (which are a moulded plastic), and I actually went wakeboarding at cable yesterday with the silicone mouldable plugs - they are way more comfortable for longer time periods. they seemed to work pretty well yesterday. i had a couple of stacks on the sliders and my ear felt pretty dry inside afterwards.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       01-06-2008, 10:20 PM Reply   
Hi all - just wanted to say thanks for all your advice and helpful suggestions. Maybe it's thanks to being cheered up by you all, that my ear finally decided to heal itself!!!
So, a bit of hope for any others in the same situation - it ended up taking around 4 months for mine to heal, but it did in the end! :-)
Cheers!
Old    gangstar (joe_crawley)      Join Date: Jan 2007       01-06-2008, 10:25 PM Reply   
A helmet will fix you up next time, I busted mine 3 times in 5 years, got a helmet, and I haven't busted it since (4 years now, and I've had some falls that would have busted it for sure, right on the ear, but the helmet saved me)
Old    Robot (k9fxr)      Join Date: Jul 2005       01-07-2008, 8:28 PM Reply   
I've busted mine with a helmet with flaps,
get the Doc ProPlugs, Unless you need the trauma/skull protection

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