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#2796540 - 05/21/18 06:36 PM ear stuff
fredman Offline
Legend (inyourownmind)
***

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 513
Yo Surf Doc (and others),
I got one for you.

Been having some ear issues since about Mid March.

Started when swimming in a pool after what I now realize was likely an outer ear infection (main early symptoms: itchy inside ear canal -- used q tip to itch, I know, I know); while swimming, I noticed discomfort and weird noises when submerging even just a foot or so beneath the surface. Was confused by it and kept testing it until I was certain that it was a bad idea -- certain because I then had some pain/fullness feeling in the ear.

Pain subsided and felt nearly normal after a few days -- went surfing and realized on first duck dive of inside section that it was a bad idea, but decided to get one wave on a good day -- bad idea. Left with obvious pain and feeling of fluid in ear -- was pretty sure I had ruptured ear drum.

Was diagnosed with outer ear infection and middle ear infection -- Doc sucked out gunk in ear but said ear drum was not perforated -- took various drugs and such.

After a couple weeks, got ok from Doc to go surfing again.

Waited a week anyway, then paddled out and after first duck dive, noticed the same issue I had i the pool originally.

Waited a few more weeks and tried again, same thing. This has happened a few more times since. Essentially, right now, I can't duck dive (even a small wave is a problem) without getting some version of this:
--sucking/slurping noise in ear, followed by
--pain and/or feeling of fluid in ear and/or some slight ringing and muffled hearing
--slow improvement until ear feels about 90-95%.

If I try to surf, I try not to have to go under water at all, which, of course, is virtually impossible. Some sessions have been more successful than others, but obviously, I'd like this to be sorted.

Original doc wanted to drill out my sinuses, claiming my turbinates were possibly causing eustachian tube blockage (had a CT scan); after doing research on the procedure, I declined since I didn't have any of the symptoms those procedures typically fix.

Went to allergist and have been treating allergy stuff for about a month (flonase and allergy pills) -- will likely do allergy shots soon.

Other pieces of puzzle -- had ear issues when young (tubes in ear and tonsils removed as result), currently have braces (have seen some stuff suggesting changing bight can effect this stuff), have had some history of ear clearing issues on planes and when submerging in deeper water, perforated ear drum at least once in college (scuba) -- likely should have dealt with allergy issues earlier as that is likely big part of prior ear issues.

My research has turned up no sure things, but these seem possible:

-- chronic eustachian tube disfunction (but I was surfing solid surf just a week before initial pool issues, and I have been able to clear/pop ears fairly successfully with Valsalva technique and similar).
--ear perforation -- maybe Doc got it wrong and there was one that never fully healed (but hearing always returns to just about fully normal and seems like I'd notice something when clearing ears with Valsalva technique)
--some kind of inner ear/middle ear lining issue? (part of my latest research inquiries but don't know much about all the fistula and weird disease possibilities -- again, was able to surf without issue in legit surf just a few days prior to initial symptoms -- have no vertigo stuff going on)
-- no clue at all

In all of my googling, I've come across one place that seemed to describe what I am experiencing -- was a swimmer on a scuba forum looking for answers -- he had had the issue for a couple years at least without figuring it out -- that's obviously not acceptable.

Have an appointment with a really good ear guy in a few weeks. Seeing what I can find out in between.

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#2796544 - 05/21/18 06:41 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
littlewave Offline
Michael Peterson status
**

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 2616
Loc: Orange County
Dude, see a fooking ENT and wear EAR PLUGS.

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#2796551 - 05/21/18 06:57 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
fredman Offline
Legend (inyourownmind)
***

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 513
Yeah, already saw one ENT, seeing another soon (as previously noted).

Not sure how ear plugs would help. This isn't a surfer's ear situation.

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#2797077 - 05/22/18 02:29 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
heelnipstr Online   content
Miki Dora status
**

Registered: 07/29/09
Posts: 4067
Loc: Southern Tip, Norcal
I have had a lot of ear issues, besides surfers ear.

Not all ENT's are equal or competent. good luck

Had an ear infection in my good ear(only one works) and couldn't hear anything one morning. Freaked out went to an ENT. She said I needed surgery asap and she can refer a surgeon. Used her drops setup the surgery w/ a doctor I found and the infection cleared up. Surgery date approaches, get the pre audiologist testing. Audiologist said my ear is about 75% closed which is no different than 10 years prior when I had the other ear done. I talked with the surgeon and since I don't have infections often and the ear is not closing I could put off the surgery. That saved me $9k, all started by an ENT giving a bad diagnosis.

when I was searching for a new surfers ear surgeon some advice from my orthopedic surgeon buddy: find someone with years of experience w/ a great reputation. (he said to consult nurses who work with the doctor, they know first hand who is what. (wasn't helpful to me since I don't know any nurses but...) The doctor should not be looking for new patients and has performed the procedure hundreds of times.


Edited by heelnipstr (05/22/18 02:52 PM)
_________________________
If you see a Buddha in the road, ask which gender pronouns they prefer and then kill them.

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#2797173 - 05/22/18 04:15 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
littlewave Offline
Michael Peterson status
**

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 2616
Loc: Orange County
Originally Posted By: fredman
Yeah, already saw one ENT, seeing another soon (as previously noted).

Not sure how ear plugs would help. This isn't a surfer's ear situation.
If you know the answers, why come here for advice?

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#2797188 - 05/22/18 04:55 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: heelnipstr]
fredman Offline
Legend (inyourownmind)
***

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 513
Yeah heelnipstr, the first guy I saw sounded like the type you described first. I was in pain and simply went with the first convenient ENT I could find. When I got my records to take to the next guy, I noticed his notes were a bit off. Notes suggested I came in complaining about my sinuses and didn't say much about the ear at all. Pretty sure I won't be going back to that guy.

I've done my research now and found a handful of ENTs that specialize in ear stuff and have solid reputations. From there, I defaulted to convenience (location and appointment times). Hope that works out. I'll likely get a second opinion if this guy suggests anything invasive.

Good advice.
Thanks.

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#2800212 - 05/28/18 05:48 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
casa_mugrienta Offline
Duke status
**

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 15683
Loc: Kek Point
fredman where are you located?
_________________________
"As far as construction, I definitely like the Varial foam more than epoxy." Josh Kerr quoted by Surfline

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#2800254 - 05/28/18 08:39 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
fredman Offline
Legend (inyourownmind)
***

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 513
Northern palm beach county

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#2800297 - 05/28/18 10:56 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
casa_mugrienta Offline
Duke status
**

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 15683
Loc: Kek Point
Originally Posted By: fredman
Northern palm beach county


Dr. Jon Li is your man.

One of the best of the best.

And believe me - other than that your options are limited in that area. In terms of the good guys.
_________________________
"As far as construction, I definitely like the Varial foam more than epoxy." Josh Kerr quoted by Surfline

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#2800302 - 05/28/18 11:07 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
fredman Offline
Legend (inyourownmind)
***

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 513
It's funny you should mention him, sending pm.

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#2802289 - 06/02/18 08:11 AM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
SurfDoc Offline
Michael Peterson status
****

Registered: 12/19/02
Posts: 1960
Loc: ex-pat Huntington Beach
I agree with most of the advice here, but you need to find a GOOD ear person who can look AND treat appropriately. For otitis externa, the ear has to be rinsed out. Why leave all that goopy ear wax and bacteria? Then a good look at the tympanic membrane to determine if middle ear is infected, too. Finally, eustachian tube function or plugging.
And yes, good ear plugs that suit you is mandatory in my surfing opinion.
_________________________
Peace,
Surf Doc
Be safe, surf smart, know your limits! Check this: www.happyshark.com

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#2805710 - 06/09/18 10:01 AM Re: ear stuff [Re: littlewave]
squidley Offline
Miki Dora status
**

Registered: 03/05/09
Posts: 4092
Originally Posted By: littlewave
Originally Posted By: fredman
Yeah, already saw one ENT, seeing another soon (as previously noted).

Not sure how ear plugs would help. This isn't a surfer's ear situation.
If you know the answers, why come here for advice?


Just because fredman knows that it's not the issue you are trying to cure doesn't mean he knows what the issue is or how to cure it. He just knows that you are wrong.
.

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#2806672 - 06/11/18 04:42 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: squidley]
littlewave Offline
Michael Peterson status
**

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 2616
Loc: Orange County
Originally Posted By: squidley
Originally Posted By: littlewave
Originally Posted By: fredman
Yeah, already saw one ENT, seeing another soon (as previously noted).

Not sure how ear plugs would help. This isn't a surfer's ear situation.
If you know the answers, why come here for advice?


Just because fredman knows that it's not the issue you are trying to cure doesn't mean he knows what the issue is or how to cure it. He just knows that you are wrong.
.

Originally Posted By: SurfDoc
And yes, good ear plugs that suit you is mandatory in my surfing opinion.

roflmao

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#2806752 - 06/11/18 07:21 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: littlewave]
fredman Offline
Legend (inyourownmind)
***

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 513
i never said that ear plugs were a bad suggestion. I only said that I was not sure how they would be helpful and added that the issue is not a surfer's ear situation, which is the main reason why people wear ear plugs while surfing, correct?

I surf in warm water and have never heard of anyone from around here dealing with surfer's ear and can't recall ever seeing anyone wearing earplugs while surfing.

Despite the recommendation, I still don't know why earplugs would be useful. I'm not saying the recommendation isn't a good one -- just saying I don't understand how or why earplugs would help.

I suppose they can help prevent an outer ear infection, but there are other ways to do that.

I have an appointment on Wednesday. I'll try to update.


And thanks for responding surfdoc. I'll make sure they check out all of those things. I know they are starting with some hearing tests.


Edited by fredman (06/11/18 07:26 PM)
Edit Reason: forgot to thank surfdoc

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#2807052 - 06/12/18 12:08 PM Re: ear stuff [Re: fredman]
littlewave Offline
Michael Peterson status
**

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 2616
Loc: Orange County
You are getting infections and having issues when water gets in your ear. I don't know what the underlying medical issue is, but keeping water out of your ear canal seems like a good idea.

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