Ear plugged

One-Off

Tom Curren status
Jul 28, 2005
14,623
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33.8N - 118.4W
I know this belongs in the surf doc section, but unless you deadlift that place is like a mortuary...at midnight.

Yesterday my ear filled with water and I couldn't get it out. I kind of got used to it and last night I didn't even notice it. This morning I woke up and it's like I have a cotton ball in my ear. I've tried my alcohol/vineager ear drops, q-tips. I tried pure rubbing alcohol and lying on my side for 5 minutes and trying to drain it. Nothing works.

Any tips? How long before I need to go to urgent care or something?
 

pee_pee

Legend (inyourownmind)
Aug 25, 2012
392
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28
I'm dealing with this right now and the doc has recommended drilling. My diagnosis: bad surfer's ear. Really tiny hole that the slightest bit of wax or anything else can plug up.
Mine was totally plugged/0 hearing for about 6 weeks and then opened back up on its own. Doc says it could close at any time/just needs the slightest amount of wax given the smallness of the hole.
I'm going to try to delay surgery until June (bad surf in bay area in June) but not being able to hear at all in one ear is pretty tough to live with (if it closes up again).
Maybe you'll get lucky and you have big holes but just a lot of wax or something else blocking you up.
 
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rowjimmytour

Tom Curren status
Feb 7, 2009
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Use the wax softner stuff in ears first let sit over night then flush inside shower with ear syringe:cheers:
After score surfers ear for win.
 
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tedshred5

Michael Peterson status
Aug 5, 2015
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Most likely, water flushed into your ears, pushed whatever wax you have deeper and blocked up the ear canal. Happened to me on a recent surf trip and I went to Urgent care after I got back - they flushed it all out with a syringe and warm water in a few seconds.
 

One-Off

Tom Curren status
Jul 28, 2005
14,623
11,008
113
33.8N - 118.4W
I'm dealing with this right now and the doc has recommended drilling. My diagnosis: bad surfer's ear. Really tiny hole that the slightest bit of wax or anything else can plug up.
Mine was totally plugged/0 hearing for about 6 weeks and then opened back up on its own. Doc says it could close at any time/just needs the slightest amount of wax given the smallness of the hole.
I'm going to try to delay surgery until June (bad surf in bay area in June) but not being able to hear at all in one ear is pretty tough to live with (if it closes up again).
Maybe you'll get lucky and you have big holes but just a lot of wax or something else blocking you up.
I had the other ear drilled and at the time (15 years ago) the right side was 85% blocked. About 8 years ago Doc asked "Do you ant to get your ear fixed?" but since it was not causing problems I said, "No." If this continues to happen I'll have to reconsider.

For the time being I'll try hydrogen peroxide.
 

rowjimmytour

Tom Curren status
Feb 7, 2009
11,534
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I had the other ear drilled and at the time (15 years ago) the right side was 85% blocked. About 8 years ago Doc asked "Do you ant to get your ear fixed?" but since it was not causing problems I said, "No." If this continues to happen I'll have to reconsider.

For the time being I'll try hydrogen peroxide.
I would get a new doc if he wanted to chisel or drill at 85% :shrug:
 
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One-Off

Tom Curren status
Jul 28, 2005
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I would get a new doc if he wanted to chisel or drill at 85% :shrug:
No. It was 85% when I got the other drilled and it was deemed OK. I don't remember what % it was closed when he asked years later if I wanted it drilled.

The ear Doc who did the first operation explained the risk is getting an infection that swells shut the ear canal making treating the infection very problematic (drops don't work), sometimes requiring the Doc to do the drilling/chiseling in a situation where he cannot see the ear drum.
 

Subway

Administrator
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Dec 31, 2008
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My left (un drilled) ear gets clogged all the time even with religious use of ear drying drops. It’s getting drilled December 5th. I’m warning you all now- I got my right ear drilled on March 14th 2020, and in the Uber home from the hospital, the news announced the closures of basically everything, and the Great Coviding commenced….I’m not saying I caused the pandemic, but, the timing was highly suspect to say the least
 

Subway

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No. It was 85% when I got the other drilled and it was deemed OK. I don't remember what % it was closed when he asked years later if I wanted it drilled.

The ear Doc who did the first operation explained the risk is getting an infection that swells shut the ear canal making treating the infection very problematic (drops don't work), sometimes requiring the Doc to do the drilling/chiseling in a situation where he cannot see the ear drum.
in my case, they definitely start noticing it and talking about the surgery when you get into the 80's, but yeah I was advised to wait for the 90's before getting the surgery. My left ear was actually "105%" closed by the time I got the drill- the surgeon said when she went in there, part of the exostoses was actually already pressing up against the other side of my ear canal, and would likely have punctured it at any moment
 
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jkb

Tom Curren status
Feb 22, 2005
10,274
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Central California
If you have a bath tub (or hot tub).......

Fill up with the hottest water you can stand and lay in it with your ears at the water line. Lay in there for 20 minutes or so. This gives your ear wax enough time to become soft and malleable. If it doesn't clear on it's own after 20 minutes, have a syringe handy to try and flush the wax out while it's still warm.
 

One-Off

Tom Curren status
Jul 28, 2005
14,623
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33.8N - 118.4W
I was thinking about why my ear plugged up. Then I remembered. Yesterday while surfing the water was crystal clear. I could see garibaldi swimming below me so I started diving down and swimming about 8 feet or so under. That pressure probably forced the water deep into my ear. Fook.
 

92122

Michael Peterson status
Jul 29, 2015
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I use a curved thin tipped plastic syringe with 70% alcohol. I find that ear syringes have too big of an outlet and not enough sustain higher pressure when you squirt them in.

With this, the curved tip seems to fit up into the ear better until it gently touches the inside of your ear drum, then pull it back slightly and let er rip.

 

johnson7

Nep status
Sep 29, 2016
693
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93
I suffered from that for years, and finally got them chiseled. The procedure wasn't near as bad as I thought, the recovery went well, and I was back in the water in 3 weeks. I can't tell you what a relief it is, not having to stress out, about not being able to hear, after every surf.
 

Subway

Administrator
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Dec 31, 2008
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Yeah the modern chiseling is painless. My recovery was a little longer only because my case was so bad. She had never had to chisel so much bone before. She’s done hundreds of these, I have the dubious honor of having had the worst case she’s ever fixed.

Doctor Chandrasekhar. My Hindu fairy godmother. Hands like an angel, a joyful laugh like a beautiful woman half her age, and a bosom like a body pillow