Both Ears Completely Blocked by Earwax — What's the Safest Earwax Removal Method?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Robert Logan, May 23, 2021.

    1. Robert Logan

      Robert Logan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      February 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise trauma from playing live
      Hello everyone,

      I've really enjoyed reading some of the wisdom and helpful insights on this forum. I take everyone's experiences seriously and can relate to many of the tinnitus phenomena reported. One area I know that has come up a number of times is microsuction. I believe what others have said about tinnitus permanently worsening when they did this procedure, just as much as I believe those who had no problems. But of course, nobody wants to risk permanently worsening an already wildly variable, sometimes reactive tinnitus sound!

      But what do we do when we have no choice? My ears are both completely blocked, and there is like a 60% reduction going on. I have already had one ear infection, and have used olive oil and every other kind of drop (literally) for a long while to budge the wax. It has not changed in weeks. I've seen various doctors, and it seems the actual eardrum is completely covered. I tried ear irrigation (which is risky in itself and did slightly alter tinnitus) and the wax didn't come out for some reason - well, a bit did of one ear, but not enough to make any change. I'm only aware of ear irrigation (and related syringe techniques) and microsuction.

      Of course - let's be hypothetical! - I would rather even suffer like 6 more months of crazy muffled hearing if the wax eventually came out than do one procedure and get worse tinnitus. (Though wouldn't want to risk further infections and having to go on antibiotics again!) But I don't think it will just fall out, will it? I don't know if any of you have been in this situation. I know there's no easy answers with a catch-22 like this, and the decision is mine, but would love to hear from people who have tinnitus and dealt with this, or even anyone with tinnitus who has some thoughts on it. Most people I know in person say "just go ahead with it!" but don't see the complexities involved where tinnitus is present. (With one or two exceptions.)
       
    2. Vicki14
      Panicky

      Vicki14 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress
      I’d definitely go for manual removal! I had microsuction and it’s my biggest regret which permanently worsened my tinnitus and also gave me hyperacusis too.

      Best of luck, hope it goes well!
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    3. Blue28
      Doubtful

      Blue28 Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma from Microsuction
      I'd agree with Vicki14, definitely no microsuction! I had it done in 2016, it caused tinnitus, hyperacusis, hearing loss and more. It is the biggest regret of my life having this procedure. Manual removal is safer.
       
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    4. Scruffy

      Scruffy Member

      Location:
      Vancouver
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hammering with hammers
      Hydrogen peroxide will show the state of your wax buildup.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Robert Logan

      Robert Logan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      February 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise trauma from playing live
      Thank you all so much for your replies. I'm sorry to hear of what has happened to you both, and can already relate (to a lesser degree) as the irrigation done before I knew any better already shifted the tinnitus tone in a not-great way (though not crazily so.) I really do NOT want this tinnitus tone I have going on getting any worse.

      I have used Hydrogen Peroxide (and Sodium Bicarbonate, and another pain relief ear spray) that causes the wax to really fizz. So it is down there. Of course I also used olive oil for weeks, which seems to have done nothing much and even caused more blockage and pain than not.

      Sorry to keep asking questions - but what am I left with here? People who have looked down my ears say the eardrums are both completely covered. I don't think it is possible to do manual removal when it's the eardrum, is it? If it is I'm willing to pay anything to opt for that instead! Or is there any possibility that if I keep going with the drops even the wax near the eardrum will leave, too?

      I ask here because doctors don't seem aware of these things when it comes to tinnitus.
       
    6. Elmer B Fuddled

      Elmer B Fuddled Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      plugged nasal eustachian tube
      @Michael Leigh knows about earwax removal. He is very informative.

      Elmer
       
    7. Bob1234

      Bob1234 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones
    8. Manex

      Manex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced 1995, Azithromycin 2018
      I would not use olive oil. I did that for years and kept having to get my wax removed. Eventually I stopped using it and haven't had to have wax removed for years. I would only recommend an ENT using the curettage to get ride of the wax. The irrigation was a little aggressive I felt. I did that before the curettage.

      Sometimes if I have some sensation like maybe wax is in my ears, I will put warm water drops in my ear and let it sink in for a while - 10 minutes, maybe a little less, until it feels like it's sunk in and then I will turn my head over and a warm sensation comes out with the water and I have a bit of relief. You shouldn't take this as medical advice... just personal experience. Since I started doing that every now and then I never have had to have wax removed from my ears and the doctors have never found anything to remove. Maybe something else in my body changed from when I had to go often. I don't know.
       
    9. Ace
      Musical

      Ace Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud jam session on top of years of music performance/mixing
      When you got earwax removed by curette, was it directly following olive oil use? My ENT told me the other day that because I was using olive oil, it would be hard to remove the wax that built up in my left ear because the consistency was too goopy as a result, so I have to wait to let it become a little harder. I wonder if I should seek a second opinion from another local ENT but nobody is open right now.
       
    10. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I would do steam baths, and gently letting water drip into the ears.

      Do that every day for a week and I’ll bet it’s all gone...
       
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    11. Ace
      Musical

      Ace Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud jam session on top of years of music performance/mixing
      Interesting! Have you tried that yourself for excessive earwax? It sounds like a good concept.

      I'm also slightly worried because when I went to the ENT, he might have pushed the earwax ever so slightly and it may have touched my eardrum. Two days later and now I can feel a clicking or popping sensation near my left eardrum that seems a little different from typical Eustachian tube pops... It mostly triggers when I shift positions. For example, if I bend down as if to reach something and then wait a few moments, I feel popping/clicking... Other things trigger it but less predictably... Like a big burp or something can make it happen.

      I wonder if it's the wax itself being affected by the gravity slightly... I also wonder how concerned I should be to be honest. I want to see an ENT as soon as possible but most the offices are closed til Monday. Maybe I should talk to an ENT resident on call at one of the nearby hospitals.
       
    12. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      May have other causes, burping can be a trigger for MEM (middle ear myoclonus) or even palatal myoclonus. Both can induce clicking/popping/thudding in the ears.
       
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    13. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Well I do take long steamy soapy showers with @Wrfortiscue when his wife is napping :)

      I do my best to avoid earwax buildup. Before my noise trauma my ears were very clean. 5 doctors had a look, I was hoping for earwax but no, they couldn’t find any.

      Before my trauma I just held the shower head directly flushing my ears every day.

      Now I’m more careful. And it got to the point of finding yellow sticky earwax on my pillow in the mornings.

      So 1-2 times a week in the shower I angle my head and let water from the shower gently find its way in there. After each shower I use Q-tips to clean the walls of my ear canal gently. I moist them in my hair first of my ear canals are dry. I’m very careful not going to far in and it can help holding the Q-tips so that it’s only 1 cm that can get into the ear canal.

      Sometimes I shower in a small bath with no fans, the bathroom looks like a sauna after 15 minutes. It sure helps cleaning up both nose and ears.

      I would try to help the problem myself if I were you. You might at least make the job easier at the ENT.

      If you don’t like the concept of flushing shower water. then do something milder. Perhaps a big bucket were you can lean one ear at the time gently under water.

      You can also sit with the head over a hot bowl of water with a cloth over your head. Letting the moist damp get into ear canal. Careful with this though so you don’t burn your ears from too hot steam.

      These things will probably help but not in one go.

      Clicking I don’t know about but popping from burps I believe is very normal.
       
    14. Gaz89
      Grumpy

      Gaz89 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi Robert, what did you end up doing in this situation please??

      I'm in the exact same situation right now, it's driving me crazy. Both ears totally blocked and it's deep.
       
    15. Samy

      Samy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Last time my ears were blocked, I went to the ENT and asked to have the wax removed with a curette. She told my wax was looking like “honey” and good for removal. No problems after the procedure.
       
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