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Middle Ear Surgery: At-Home Recovery

The type of surgery you’ve had and your lifestyle will affect how long it takes you to get better. Plan on healing at home for at least 1 to 2 weeks. Your surgeon will tell you when to resume normal activities, often within 2 to 4 weeks. You can do certain things to speed the healing process. Be sure to call your surgeon if you have any questions or problems.

What you can do

Follow your surgeon’s instructions. Also, keep in mind:

  • Don't wash your hair for as long as directed. And when showering or bathing, protect your ear with a cotton ball soaked in petroleum jelly.

  • Take pain medicines and antibiotics as directed.

  • Sneeze or cough with your mouth open to protect your ear.

  • Talk to your surgeon before flying, traveling in the mountains, swimming, doing aerobics, or playing contact sports.

  • Make sure you go to all follow-up appointments with your surgeon. He or she will change your bandage and check to make sure your ear is healing.

Doctor examining patient's ear.

When to call your healthcare provider

Be sure to call your surgeon if you notice any of the following:

  • Bleeding from the ear that soaks more than one bandage

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Pain that doesn’t respond to medicine

  • Sudden hearing loss

  • Ongoing dizziness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Weakness or numbness of facial muscles

  • Problems with balance

Online Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: John Hanrahan MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2019
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