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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 week to 2 weeks. You can do certain things to speed the healing process. Be sure to call your surgeon if you have any questions or problems.

Woman wearing bathrobe placing cotton ball in ear. Bathtub is in background.

What you can do

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

  • Avoid washing 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 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.

When to call your surgeon

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 101°F (38.3°C) or higher

  • Pain that doesn’t respond to medication

  • Ongoing dizziness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Weakness or numbness of facial muscles


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