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Advice following ear surgery

Patient information A-Z

  • It is very important to keep the ear dry. When showering, insert some cotton wool smeared with Vaseline into your ear and make sure that water is directed away from the ear. After washing, remove the Vaseline plug and throw it away. Replace it with a dry cotton wool plug. You may find it easier to wash your hair if someone helps you, or by holding a cup over your ear.
  • You will need to be off work or school for at least two weeks. If you need a sick certificate, please ask the medical staff before you leave the ward or ask your general practitioner (GP).
  • Pain or discomfort tends to be mild and should ease over the first few days. You will be given pain relief to take home and the nurse will advise you when and how these medications should be taken. To be more comfortable, avoid lying on the affected side.
  • If you have packing in your ear canal and it becomes dislodged, do not push it or pull it. Instead use some clean scissors and cut off the end of the dressing where it sticks out of your ear. You will have more than one piece of packing in your ear.
  • If the wound becomes painful, red, inflamed, or starts to discharge, or you experience weakness on one side of your face, or fever, please call the ward or clinic 10.
  • Do not fly, swim or dive for 6-8 weeks after the surgery.
  • Don’t blow your nose violently – gently clear one nostril and then the other. Try to sneeze with your mouth open to minimise the pressure.
  • Your ear might feel numb after the operation. This will slowly improve and should resolve completely in time.
  • Any dizziness usually passes after a few days. If it persists, gets worse, or you are feeling sick, please see your GP or call the ward to discuss with nursing staff.
  • It is normal to have pressure sensation or feeling of fullness and hear a variety of cracking or popping noises within your ear.
  • If you have a metallic taste in your mouth, don’t worry – it is quite common after ear surgery. The taste nerve runs close to the eardrum and may occasionally be bruised or damaged. This can cause an abnormal taste on one side of the tongue. This is usually temporary but it can be permanent.
  • You will receive an appointment in the post for a two week post operation for removal of pack from the ear in the outpatient department clinic 10. If you do not get the appointment please contact clinic 10.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151