I had a stapedectomy on my right ear in 1993. I haven’t really investigated it since then, so I’m passing on only my experience and not any current expertise.
When I had the stapedectomy, I’d been wearing an analog CIC hearing aid for two years and didn’t much like it because my ears wiggle a lot and it would work itself loose, and this was also before the wonderful digital technology hearing aids have now. I was a lawyer and excellent hearing was essential, so I had the stapedectomy.
The operation did have its down sides. A couple of nights after the operation, a sudden ringing sound woke me up and has been there ever since. No clue what exactly caused it, but it’s miserable. I also note that my ENT was young (and possibly somewhat experienced) and the operation took longer than it was supposed to but he never explained why.
Also, nobody can explain this but in that ear, when there are very loud sounds (like in a movie theater with really loud sound or explosions), I hear a rattling sound. Wasn’t there before the stapedectomy. .
And finally, audiograms show that the stapedectomy killed the high frequency hearing in that ear. From 3000Hz to 8000Hz, the numbers go from 50db to 90db. Before the operation, they were in the 25db to 30db range. That sucks.
On balance, am I glad I had it? Yes because about four years after the stapedectomy, the other ear went bad–all frequencies are between 70 and 90 db on the audiogram.
I got a hearing aid for the ear that is now bad and have been very very happy with it. It’s a 10-year-old digital ITE that just yesterday appears to have started crapping out, which is why I found this forum in the first place–researching options. (The ITE works great for my wiggling ears, but is at the edge of its amplification capabilities.)
I have no reason to believe that the ear I had the stapedectomy on wouldn’t have progressed to the point the other ear has, and if that were the case, I’d be pretty much deaf without the stapedectomy. I use the stapedectomy ear to talk on the phone, and one of my hobbies is windsurfing and if I didn’t have that ear at least partially functional, I wouldn’t be able to do it because it’s dangerous out there if I can’t hear anything and I obviously can’t wear a hearing aid.
As for the ear with the stapedectomy, I think the stapedectomy pretty much stopped the progression of the otosclerosis.
A few years ago, I got a BTE hearing aid for the stapedectomy ear, which I use only for movies and lectures–times when I sit quietly and listen. I know that’s not the way a hearing aid should be used, but it works for me. I hate the occlusion, and the silicone mold slides around. I tried on an open fit aid last year and loved it, but I don’t need one frequently enough or bad enough to justify the cost.
Would I consider having a stapedectomy on my bad ear? Absolutely not. I had an ENT try to persuade me to do it (he said something about nerve damage, which sounds a little like what COVFAM mentioned above). It’s now 10 years later (I’m now 51) and a hearing aid still works fine in my bad ear. And since my stapedectomy ear allows me to function, there’s no way I’m going to subject myself to another operation for at best a marginal benefit. All it would get me is possibly good hearing in that ear, and I know I can get 100% good hearing by using a hearing aid.
But am I glad I had the stapedectomy I did have? Absolutely. Despite the tinnitus and the rattling and the loss of high frequency hearing, the fact remains that I can hear well enough with that ear to function okay without a hearing aid in it.
I actually think I sort of have the best of both worlds. Because of the stapedectomy, I can hear enough to function. I can use a hearing aid in the bad ear if I need to have a conversation, I can use a hearing aid in the stapedectomy ear as well if I need to hear a lecture or movie, and I can put my stapedectomy ear on the pillow and sleep through anything.
My boyfriend has such good hearing that one night he was kept awake by the sound of an ant crawling on a piece of paper in the trash can. I don’t envy him at all!