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Best Earwax Removal System?


stobro
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My left ear has been a little congested sounding for a few days. I got some ear drops, assuming they would loosen up whatever is in there and I'd be good to go. Instead, it is now 100% clogged. About 25 years ago I had a doctor flush out my ears. Have over-the-counter earwax removers progressed since then? Something with irrigation and not just drops? Or am I better off seeing a doc?

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If it's fully plugged, and debrox isn't doing anything, I would see a doctor. Wax and other debris can get REALLY stuck in there, and there may be other issues as well.

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Of course this happens on a Friday night ahead of a 3-day weekend. If it isn't any better by Tuesday I guess I'll call my primary care physician, who will probably refer me to an ear specialist. So far this year I've added a dermatologist, oncologist, surgeon, pulmonologist, radiation oncologist and infectious disease specialist to my medical team. Might as well add another specialist to the pile.

Edited by stobro
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3 hours ago, Dave Scepter said:

Have you tried hydrogen peroxide?. A few drops in each ear and let it fizz up, then let it drain out over a towel 

That’s what my GP doctor did for me about 10 years ago.  I do the same thing now about once a year as a preventative measure.

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I have bad problems with wax build-up.

Confirm the hydrogen peroxide, but that works best for maintenance.
You can get stuff out with irrigation yourself.  

I used this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RZZQ73W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

combined with this basin:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H81JTL7/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B07H81JTL7&pd_rd_w=G9IE2&content-id=amzn1.sym.999c0877-3704-4f0f-9726-eebf80846a35&pf_rd_p=999c0877-3704-4f0f-9726-eebf80846a35&pf_rd_r=A7Z85YWM9QEEPDQDPXJ6&pd_rd_wg=FDPYU&pd_rd_r=58fbe249-3cf5-4f57-80f4-f8f3bec9c447&s=hpc&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9kZXRhaWw

 

It took several tries before I finally flushed out the chunk.  It might have been the wrong angle, or it might just take multiple times to get it to dislodge. I still have the picture if you want to get grossed out.

And then to check your ears to see how bad the buildup is, I recommend this. It works pretty good for seeing inside your ear:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SWK4WNH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I didn't actually use any of the tools. I still think flushing with water is the safest, least chance of damaging your ear drum.

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I was having to go in to get my ears flushed twice a year due to wax build up…then my wife bought an ear irrigation kit…just a spray bottle with a hose and tip that focuses the water pressure. Works great every 4 months or so to remove big blocks of wax….I usually hit one ear at a time with mineral oil for 10 minutes….this is essential as it really softens the wax and allows the flushing water to do its job. Sometimes the wax plugs can adhere to the canal and the mineral oil helps loosen them prior to the washout.

Edited by Jakeboy
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Earwax removal kits started showing up on my Amazon page after viewing this 🤪. In any case I agree with flushing perhaps after using something to soften the wax. 

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I tried a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. It fizzed and bubbled, which was annoyingly itchy while it was happening. I tried a dilute mix of peroxide and warm water in a spray bottle- I tried both the stream and spray settings- which at least sounded like it was doing some good. It's probably 80% clogged still. Maybe I'll try some different drops that say they'll do something more than "helps relieve the symptoms of clogged ears".

IMG_0976.JPG

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I would strongly caution anyone employing the peroxide/bladder flush method.

About 12, 13 years ago, I caught cold. It hung around far too long, and before you know it it was an ear infection.
By the time I broke down and agreed to see my GP, my ear was clogged and I was in a good deal of pain. Unfortunately, my doctor's answering service said that she was on vacation and directed me to her fill-in physician.

Desperate for relief, I go to see this guy.  In retrospect I should have just swallowed a bullet.

He looks at my ear and says that it's NOT infected and just loaded with wax, so he directs his two assistants to flush my ear with the bladder and hydrogen peroxide solution and he will return.
They do, and sure enough some globs come out.  Gross.
He returns after some time and asks if I am "100% better."
I said that I wasn't, in fact there was only a little bit of relief from their "bladder work."
"No!" he *literally* shouted, "You should be 100% better!"  (My memory has since added to this event his pointer finger directed at the sky at arm's length for dramatic effect).
"They just didn't use enough force," he added, and grabbed the kit from them.

His flushing with the bladder was nothing short of violent and careless.  He kept blasting the peroxide into my ear, getting on top of the process for supreme leverage.

Some more wax came out, which made him very pleased with himself and he continued.
At one point, I felt a *bump* in my head and I tasted peroxide.

"Hey Doc... I think I taste peroxide."
"Ok, we'll stop," he said, and sent me home, saying some nonsense that I can't recall.  Probably because I couldn't hear him.

Now, the pain was doubled and there was a constant sensation in my ears as if I had just seen KISS as Madison Square Garden again, only this time it didn't go away and I was pretty close to deaf in that ear.
My doc came back and I filled her in on the festivities. She in turn directed me to the ENT I mentioned above.

Now I had an ear infection and a hole in my eardrum.  There was a phone ringing in my brain (which no one wanted to pick up for some reason), and the pain was non-fucking-stop.

It took months, but the ENT was able to get the hole to close up with a series of drops. He had said it was likely that they would have to patch the hole, like we used to do with bicycle tires, but I lucked out there.  It healed on its own.

My hearing was never the same, though. 
There's a high pitch hiss/squeal in my right ear 24/7/365.  Some tones literally hurt (some telephone rings) and some things I can not hear at all.

Again - go to an ENT and ask them to use the vacuum.  

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ENT.  I had persistent ringing and hearing loss.  In no time he pulled out chunks of wax.  Ringing gone.  Hearing restored.  Don’t fuck around.  Get it done right. 

Edited by BubbaVO
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With me it’s the Eustachian tube in my right ear. No flush or sucking tool of destruction works. I use over the counter decongestants. Takes a few days, but works every time. I have to keep blowing it open these days.  Head between the legs as if hanging upside down and blowing it open works too. The decongestant is all that works when it really plugs.

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8 hours ago, The Shark said:

With me it’s the Eustachian tube in my right ear. No flush or sucking tool of destruction works.

I'm pretty sure that's where it all started for me as well, but I left out one of the (now) funnier parts of my story.
When I went to the ENT and he gave me the prognosis/instructions, I took it all in and as I was leaving, I recalled one point:

"I forgot to mention... When I blow my nose (remember, this all started with a cold), I hear a whistle."
"Yeah... Don't blow your nose."

 

 

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I haven't had any colds recently, and when I tug on my ear Carol Burnett style (old people know what I mean) I can get it to open up temporarily. I figure it has to be a blockage in the outer ear. The over the counter Debrox only helped a little bit, so today I will try to find an otolarygologist with room in their calendar.

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38 minutes ago, stobro said:

I figure it has to be a blockage in the outer ear. The over the counter Debrox only helped a little bit, so today I will try to find an otolarygologist with room in their calendar.

I'm telling you... The Vacuum.  You'll see. 

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9 hours ago, kizanski said:

I'm telling you... The Vacuum.  You'll see. 

Only way to fly. Every decade I go the ear spa. Strange sensation when you step outside the ENT office and sound of sing birds and the gentle breeze drives you insane. 

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25 minutes ago, RobB said:

Only way to fly. Every decade I go the ear spa. Strange sensation when you step outside the ENT office and sound of sing birds and the gentle breeze drives you insane. 

Back when I used to wear a watch (Timex- It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!) I'd take off my watch and leave it on my dresser, and the sound of the ticking would keep me awake nights. I finally learned to wrap the watch in a towel to muffle the racket.

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41 minutes ago, RobB said:

Only way to fly. Every decade I go the ear spa. Strange sensation when you step outside the ENT office and sound of sing birds and the gentle breeze drives you insane. 

It's the sensation of finally having that itch that was impossible to reach get scratched.  

16 minutes ago, stobro said:

Back when I used to wear a watch (Timex- It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!) I'd take off my watch and leave it on my dresser, and the sound of the ticking would keep me awake nights. I finally learned to wrap the watch in a towel to muffle the racket.

That's what's great about this hearing loss.  I can't hear the person speaking who is sitting next to me, but I can hear a mouse fart a mile away.  

A ticking watch would send me up a tree.  

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Thanks to this thread, I made an appointment for next week with a ENT recommended by my very good friend and shop client (aka guitarist) who doubles as the most competent primary care physician I've ever had. I specifically asked his recommendation for ear wax removal via the vacuum and his appointment scheduler says he's equipped for the job. I have struggled with stubborn ear wax my entire life, I'm eager to experience this ear sex to which Kiz refers.

I've also put my tinnitus on the doctor's radar - I'll be eager to see if a thorough flush reduces some of my misery on that front. The 24/7 white noise in my head sounds like camping in insect-infested woods.

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Operation Vacu-Suck was a success. The ENT says both ears are now wax free. The audiologist test concluded my hearing is "perfect" and "symmetric". Which is the only thing about me that is either.

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