Stapedectomy Failure Symptoms and revisions

I have had stapedectomies in both ears, and they both went very differently.
I had the right one done first. Upon waking up after the surgery, I could immediately hear things i could never hear before, even with the packing in my ear. It was a huge success and still doing great after 7 years.
As for my left ear, it was a very different experience. I couldn’t hear anything except for a loud ringing noise (tinnitus) until I got the packing removed a few weeks later. Then I could finally hear and the tinnitus eventually subsided. With this ear, when i would drive with my window down, i would notice when i would swallow, i would hear white noise and what sounded like noises in the distance i wouldn’t normally be able to hear (kind of super hearing). Then it would go away and be back to normal. I found this weird as this never happened with my right ear. This went away about 6 months ago ( a year after the surgery) and I was hearing great.
Then recently everything went downhill. My left ear felt “full” for about a week and I felt like it diminished my hearing. I noticed if i would bend over, I would regain full volume, but when I stood back up, my ear would go closed again. Also, when I would the valsalva maneuver, i would regain volume as well. Then on a thursday night , i let water run in my ear in the shower, since i thought i might have wax in there. After that, i felt less fullness and my hearing was exceptional all night. It was all worse the next morning. I woke up and realised any noises louder than a certain volume would sound like a blown speaker. That was a week and a half ago and it’s still doing it. I went to my ENT and he says it sounds like the piston has dislodged, so he set me up for a revision surgery in a few weeks.
I guess my main fear is, what if this is something worse, like a fractured incus bone or something. (googling instills fear) I have so many different things going on with my ear i can’t explain. I will list them now.

  1. When flex my inner ear muscles, yawn, or burp, it sounds like air whooshing in my ear, or maybe fluttering of the eardrum ( i hope this is due to the dislodged piston and will go away after surgery)

  2. When I sit still in a quiet room I will hear a click, click, click. I first thought it sounded like air bubbles rising to the surface in blood or something. It doesn’t happen all of the time.

  3. Driving down the road listening to the wind sounds like a loud crackling fire.

  4. Loud speaking is like being tuned in to the wrong station. Or blown speaker.

  5. When I talk, it sounds like blowing on the edge of thin plastic.

I will update as I go down this journey, but in the meantime, has anyone else had any of these symptoms due to a dislodged piston after a stapedectomy surgery? Has anyone had a revision, and how did it do? Did your symptoms go away?

If you’re having these kind of concerns, I’d suggest you get a second opinion from an ENT.

When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras. High chance the prosthetic has just dislodged as the ENT says. All your symptoms sound consistent with that. Don’t worry about it being anything else until after the surgery.


I had a stapendectomy on my left ear 20 years ago. The first attempt failed in that I could hear great right after surgery but about a month later I could hear almost nothing. I had a re-do and the ent said that the piston had slipped off position on the baseplate. He deepened the hole in the baseplate and used a longer piston. It’s been fine since.