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#2900740 - 01/08/18 10:27 PM Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed
Markay Offline
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Since I turned 50, which was a while ago I now, I have had to have my ears syringed every two years or so. Always in summer cause that is when I do a lot of diving and swimming and then find the water will not drain out. Then I attempt to help it along and totally block an ear. Slow learner. The lumps of wax that are dislodged are impressive but that might be TMI for some.

Temporary deafness really unsettles me, balance etc.

What puzzles me is that for the first 50 years or so ear wax build up was not an issue so why from 50 on?

Is it coincidence that when the hair on our eyebrows grows faster than the hair on our head we start producing twice as much ear wax? The Doc didn't know nor did he seem particularly interested in researching the topic.
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#2900742 - 01/08/18 10:31 PM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Markay]
J. Dan Online   content
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Don't trust anybody with your ears.

My dad (WWII vet) had a doctor tell him not to put anything in his ears but his elbows. You're all trying it right now. Impossible, so basically nothing in your ears. I swab my ears every shower, just make sure you stay away from the ear drums since damage can be irrepairable.

Just use your head. Don't fall for these guys wanting you to come back constantly. You've cleaned your own ears for 50 years. Nothing has changed.
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#2900750 - 01/08/18 10:57 PM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: J. Dan]
Markay Offline
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Originally Posted By: J. Dan
My dad (WWII vet) had a doctor tell him not to put anything in his ears but his elbows.

That is word for word what the Doc said this morning!

However I do rinse my ears in the shower every morning, the wax build up that attaches to the ear canal is unavoidable.

There are ear wax candles and other DIY solutions but for a net $30 every 2 years I would rather pay a Dr to do the job properly.
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#2900752 - 01/08/18 11:05 PM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Markay]
J. Dan Online   content
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when I was a kid and followed that advice the doc regularly had to flush my ears. In my adult life I carefully clean my ears and have never needed the kind of flush I needed as a child. I get why they want you to be careful, but I think as adults we can do a good job while being careful, just saying.
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#2900754 - 01/08/18 11:15 PM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: J. Dan]
Markay Offline
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Agree nothing in ears is the best practise. I think you are still a little shy of the age when your eyebrows get a growth spurt Dan, so file this away for future reference.
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#2900759 - 01/08/18 11:41 PM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Markay]
Shamanzarek Offline
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In 1964 there was a hit song called "Beans in My Ears" by the Serendipity Singers. It was reported in the newspaper where I lived that a boy in our area put beans in his ears which became infected after he couldn't them out and I guess he was afraid to tell his parents. The song was banned in some parts of the country due to the high incidence of kids putting beans in their ears. It seemed like a silly novelty tune at the time but actually was a protest song with a serious message. Pete Seeger and Lonnie Donegan also recorded the song.

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#2900761 - 01/09/18 12:48 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Shamanzarek]
Losendoskeys Offline
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I found I had ear wax issues and was advised to get them syringed. Not only was it very uncomfortable but I developed tinnitus from it. Don't do it, it's completely unnecessary.
Get drops from the chemist. Works fine.
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#2900763 - 01/09/18 01:41 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Losendoskeys]
J. Dan Online   content
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If you douse yourself in kerosene and light yourself on fire, it will melt the wax while burning you alive. I highly recommend it.
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#2900766 - 01/09/18 02:47 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: J. Dan]
Markyboard Offline
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Maybe 15 years ago my ears would periodically clog up, but on the other side of the ear drum if that makes sense. No amount of cleaning/syringing could help because the ear canal appeared clear. It was extremely aggravating and after some extensive testing including some wild videos I had a tube inserted (twice) over the course of a year to drain the fluids. Once it returned after some time following the 2nd tube falling out I thought this can't be good. I let it ride for a couple of months as I recall and the fluids drained on their own. That problem never returned.

Since then I get the occasional clogged ear. Swimming/submersing your head under water and airplanes will do it - at least it does to me. Anyway when it happens now, I do the over-the counter Murine ear drops and flush system, but - READ THE WARNINGS! If your good with this the key is to use the drops for a few days (2 x per day) before using the flushing bulb.

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#2900767 - 01/09/18 02:49 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: J. Dan]
CowboyNQ Offline
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Mark, I've had to get my ears regularly (every couple of years or so) syringed my entire life. In my case it's to do with unusually narrow ear canals.

Can't answer your question about hair growth, but apart from the minor discomfort, it's never been a drama.

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#2900768 - 01/09/18 03:16 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Markay]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: Markay
There are ear wax candles


Total scam. Plenty of info out there about it.
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#2900774 - 01/09/18 04:04 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Synthoid]
Markay Offline
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Originally Posted By: Synthoid
Originally Posted By: Markay
There are ear wax candles


Total scam. Plenty of info out there about it.


A family member once bought some and needed my help to use them. Takes 15 minutes or more and the heat with the seal did eventually suck quite a bit of wax out. But it is a lengthy 2 person operation and just not worth the effort given the risks of it going wrong.

I also got a saline spray and tried that to no effect. Looking at the lumps of wax that syringing flushed out it didn't seem like any safe fluid would have dissolved them in anything like the 3 or so minutes that syringing takes.
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#2900775 - 01/09/18 04:08 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Synthoid]
Aidan Offline
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I suffer from hearing loss in my left ear (it and the associated tinnitus both 'afters' from having radiotherapy to my head over a decade ago) and so wear a hearing aid about 50% of the time. According to my audiologist, one of the inevitable side effects of doing so is wax build-up in the ear canal, which I have to have removed around every year or so.

However, rather than syringing, most audiologists (mine included) now use a precision vacuum, which is far less traumatic.
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#2900780 - 01/09/18 04:50 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Aidan]
DulceLabs.com Offline
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Every few years I gotta go to work. Best home treatment I've found:
1. Drop peroxide in ear, lay on side while is bubbles away
2. Repeat for other ear
3. Flush with warm water
4. Repeat as needed

I've also used warm olive oil to soften the wax before flushing, but peroxide seems to work much faster.

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#2900787 - 01/09/18 05:31 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: DulceLabs.com]
AnotherScott Offline
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#%$(# is right. Hydrogen Peroxide will generally let you do it yourself. Works better than the pricier ear drops. Fill the clogged ear canal pretty well (use a squeeze bulb syringe to squirt it in), lie down on your side with that ear facing up and let it soak in for 3-5 minutes, flip and drain.

You may have to do it for a number of days. I'd give it a week of twice-daily use before giving up and seeing a doctor. Considering how long it takes to see a doctor sometimes, you could call and make the appointment for x days later, start doing the hydrogen peroxide, and if you're back to normal before the appointment, cancel the appt.

And for others reading this, if you do need to see a doctor, they use different methods. Some use a little mechanical scooper, avoid this, it is really painful! Some use a wash with something that looks like a water-pik, that works well, and so does the syringe.

Something else to think about: Ear wax is your body's natural defense against loud sounds. I think you should not obsess about trying to get you ears totally clean every day as some people do. You can tell when you have too much. Most days, leave it alone, unless it's bothering you. Especially if you have a rehearsal or gig that day, and you don't wear plugs. I've wondered if the prevalence of somewhat early diminished hearing among musicians could be related to obsessive wax removal. Our ancestors did not have Q-tips and such. There's something to be said for letting your body's natural defenses work. If you're exposing yourself to loud sounds (including headphone use), let your body protect itself.
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#2900793 - 01/09/18 06:03 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: AnotherScott]
Markay Offline
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Interesting point about wax being a defense to loud noise Scott. I seem to have a greater tolerance to higher sound pressure levels than most, maybe more wax is produced in response to loud noise.
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#2900795 - 01/09/18 06:18 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: AnotherScott]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Something else to think about: Ear wax is your body's natural defense against loud sounds. I think you should not obsess about trying to get you ears totally clean every day


This... exactly. thu
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#2900796 - 01/09/18 06:20 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Markay]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Markay
maybe more wax is produced in response to loud noise.

yes.
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#2900797 - 01/09/18 06:23 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Markay]
Reezekeys Offline
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For a while my ears developed a lot of wax and get clogged. My old GP would use a giant syringe with warm water and it would sound like a 747 taking off in my head when he used it. Then I started going to an ENT. He used a much smaller syringe with a hydrogen peroxide solution, gently squirting the liquid in; not uncomfortable at all. He also went in a few times with tweezers! I trusted him and things worked out fine. With tinnitus you don't want the gigantor syringe. My advice would be to find a good ENT if the home or pharmacy methods don't work. PS - I had another doc tell me that earwax buildup is NOT related to any defense against loud sounds.

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#2900799 - 01/09/18 06:26 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Reezekeys]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: Reezekeys
I had another doc tell me that earwax buildup is NOT related to any defense against loud sounds.


But it does provide protection against bacteria, fungi, insects, and water. According to a medical website.
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#2900800 - 01/09/18 06:33 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Aidan]
MorayM Offline
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Originally Posted By: Aidan
However, rather than syringing, most audiologists (mine included) now use a precision vacuum, which is far less traumatic.


THIS. It's so much more pleasant and far less potentially damaging that syringing. Blast my ear drums with a jet of hot water? No thank you. My GP refused to syringe my ears after learning I had tinnitus.

Regarding the build up of ear wax, wearing IEMs, ear plugs or a hearing aid speeds it up because the act of putting them in compresses the wax into solid lumps. This makes it harder for the walls of the ear canal to move it out of the ear.

As a final note, don't do what I just did and look up "ear wax" on Wikipedia. The photos are not pleasant!
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#2900815 - 01/09/18 07:20 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: MorayM]
Aidan Offline
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Originally Posted By: MorayM
As a final note, don't do what I just did and look up "ear wax" on Wikipedia. The photos are not pleasant!


In that case, I won't put up any pix of the random HUGE lumps of hardened gunk which regularly come out of my nose due to my chronic sinusitis (another fallout from the RT, but hey it's better than being dead). smile
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#2900817 - 01/09/18 07:24 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: MorayM]
hatricklov Offline
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I've had a couple of instances when I've had to go to the doctor and/or urgent care to get an excessive amount of earwax. My last visit a few years ago was the most productive.

My doctor said you shouldn't usually need to use a syringe, however she did give me one and said she thought the most common contributor to the issue was... getting a haircut!

If you have hair clippings that get in your ear that aren't cleaned out, the earwax will glom onto them and speed up the build up. She recommended syringing my ears after I get a haircut to ensure clearing out any hair, and then basically q-tip the areas outside of the ear canal. I haven't had any issues since... ymmv.
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#2900819 - 01/09/18 07:37 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: hatricklov]
David R Offline
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Had a major scare a year ago - I flew with an unknown ear infection and my eardrum popped. Suffice to say, I was a regular visitor to my ENT for a few months.

The medical removal of wax doesn't need to be a highly recurring thing but every so often it works. My ENT also advised me never to use Q-Tips but, based on my experience, I cannot agree with "don't trust anyone with your ears."
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#2900826 - 01/09/18 08:20 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: David R]
Stokely Offline
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Just a bit OT, but as I've gotten older I can very easily get water trapped in one of my ears (the right ear). Taking a shower is enough to do it. I have to remember to lay my head down after every shower, whether I feel the water in there or not--or the pain later will be excruciating. Probably not as bad as when I put my hand on a running lawnmower engine, but freaking painful, and advil/tylenol does *nothing* for it. I have to lay there until it drains or I'm completely useless.

When I started losing hearing in my left ear, I was *hoping* it was just ear wax, as I'd never had any kind of syringe/vacuum/whatever applied to it. Nope, ear was clean, but I've just lost some high frequencies (I first noticed it with the water noise from my fish tank).

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#2900835 - 01/09/18 08:50 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: Reezekeys]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Reezekeys
I had another doc tell me that earwax buildup is NOT related to any defense against loud sounds.

Could be, I'm not a doctor. Though getting back to what markay said, I think I've sometimes noticed more wax buildup after loud gigs. But I can't swear to cause-and-effect.
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#2900842 - 01/09/18 09:15 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: AnotherScott]
timwat Offline
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Research scientists at the Mayo Clinic have suggested that wax production is largely a response to irritation. Hence the presence of objects in the ear canal (like hearing aids, IEMs, etc) exacerbate or increase the normal production of wax. There is limited evidence that environmental factors (e.g., prolonged exposure to loud noise, concert-level SPLs and the like) contribute to greater-than-normal wax production, but results are inconclusive.

The more surprising results of the research seem to indicate that irritation in a manifold set of arenas also contribute to wax production. It has observed for at least a decade, for example, that honey bee populations in the United States (which have typically been used as a natural aid to crop pollination by commercial farmers) has been declining in alarming levels, and as such at least some research has identified a correlation between decreased bee populations and increased wax production, one presumes as a sympathetic response to external stimuli.

Recently, two major shareholders of Apple stock have requested the company pursue additional research to study the detrimental effects of smartphone usage amongst children and youth. We doubt the timing of such is in any way coincidental (one might posit "providential" instead) with the increase in general wax buildup, and are hopeful the research identifies a causal link.

Finally, the pervasive nature that social media and the "dopamine-hit" processes by which Facebook, Instagram and Tinder have insinuated their way into collective consciousness (one might suggest our collective cultural psyche) are thought by many to be at least a tertiary cause of exponential levels of wax production, as is the prolonged contact with others whom we find disagree (sometimes vehemently) with our own political leanings, worldview and meta narrative.

As such, we would deem excess wax buildup to be a leading indicator of irritation, in a virtual panoply of physical, proximal and life environmental theaters. One hopes that for the love of all that is holy, that we would find a way to make it stop...just make it stop.
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#2900850 - 01/09/18 09:52 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: timwat]
Dave Ferris Offline
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I've had chronic wax buildup my whole adult life. I go religiously every 6 months to an ENT to have it removed with the tweezers. If I wait longer then 6 months it can be harder (literally the wax hardens up) and more painful to remove.

For me, the water flushing has always made matters worse as the water gets trapped behind the wax. You have to go to a good ENT, most GPs and their assistants don't want to mess with anything other then flushing with water.

By coincidence, Billy Childs and I share the same ENT in Pasadena. He has the same chronic buildup and is on the same 6 month schedule as me. So I see him often. We make jokes in the waiting room -- hey how are you doing ? What did you say ? I can't hear you, can you speak up ! grin

After I get it done, I have to keep the lid down the first day on the D, otherwise it's too loud on full stick. By the second day the ears are acclimated again.
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#2900853 - 01/09/18 10:00 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: timwat]
The Real MC Offline
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If anybody is an expert on cleaning the ears - I am.

I'm hearing impaired due to a birth defect and have worn hearing aids for over fifty years. The earmolds close off air to the ear canal and allow moisture to accumulate. This leads to excess wax.

I've had to use Q tips to remove excess wax. The trick is don't insert anything past the outer ear canal. That is from my audiologist. Q tips only do so much - I still have to go to the audiology department to get my ears flushed.

I often get swimmer's ear because the excess wax expands and traps water, ideal conditions for an infection to develop. Besides recreational swimming, this can happen in the shower so I learned that if I tilt my head back then water can drain naturally which reduces the risk of developing swimmer's ear.

Over time there can be a layer of dried hardened wax on the outer canal which can itch and require a visit to get them flushed. My audiologist suggested wiping a little coconut oil on the outer canal just before bedtime to moisturize the hardened wax, then clean it out in the morning.

Despite the impairment, my ears became quite developed for music work. Few if any musicians would ever guess that I have 60% loss in both ears.

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#2900857 - 01/09/18 10:28 AM Re: Semi OT Ear wax and getting your ears syringed [Re: The Real MC]
El Lobo Online   confused
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Each person's situation is a bit different. In my case, I had a severe earwax problem many years ago when I was young. The doc told me to be sure and wash out my ear canals when I was in the shower and use soap. Problem solved ever since.

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