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ear syringing. advice please

#1 User is offline   Chris Adam 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:47 AM

Hi all,

I've been using in ear moulds for a few years now without problems, but this last week, my right ear seems to be partially blocked. (maybe) and I'm wondering if syringing is the way to go. I'm thinking the moulds may be compacting any wax that does get in there.

I've not spoken to anyone who has had it done before and would like to know if:
a) it leaves the ear sensitive
b) leaves the ear open to infection
c) is a better option that over the counter drops
d) any other advice you think I should know.

I've got a fairly high profile gig lined up in the next while and want to make sure I'm on top form, so I'd like to know if there are risks of having it done.

over to you BR. Cheers.

#2 User is offline   Ben 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 10:03 AM

Not sure this is really the place to ask for medical advice however as someone that has problems with hearing I can give a little advice.

Do not get your ears syringed except as a last resort as it can damage hearing more and is not very nice. A good option is Otex ear drops they are very effective non obtrusive and really do work. Never put anything into the ear as this will only make the problem worse.

HTH

Ben
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#3 User is offline   Ynot 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 10:11 AM

If you simply turn up at your local GP and ask for a syringe job it's unlikely they'll do it straight away. On the occasions I've been 'done' over the years ours has always insisted that I use commercially available drops to soften any waxy buildup first. It can be painful if they try to flush out hard wax - hence the instruction.

Once softened, it's then a decision the GP (or more often the practice nurse) will take on inspection of the individual ear. They won't always agree to do it for various reasons - if an infection has taken too great a hold is one, I believe, and they'll recommend treatment for that first before syringing.

In my experience it's not in fact too unpleasant an operation and feels great when complete.
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#4 User is offline   indyld 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 10:26 AM

Although not much of a medical background, I have had it done a few times. As Ynot says, if you book in to get it done they ask you to arrive "prepped" either softening the wax with commercial eardrops or warm olive oil.

The thing that comes as a surprise when first geting your ear "syringed" is that the name suggests that they suck stuff our ot the ear canal. In fact, the old doctors method involved a relatively huge syringe like pump that they effectively jet wash the interior with.

The practise nurses now seem to have a special cleaning machine that is more thorough and takes a bit longer. The old "whooshing" method was, I gather, a bit hit and miss and didn't always clear everything.

Initially, sound seems a bit toppy and harsh but that's probably something to do with water left behind. I dunno, I'm only a lampie. Either method is not unpleasant and the amount of hearing you seem to get back is incredible.
Rob

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#5 User is offline   w/robe 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 10:27 AM

I've had mine syringed twice over the years and agree with everything that Ynot says. I would add that you should take medical advice now (Doc. or practice nurse) rather than asking us.

#6 User is offline   Chris Adam 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:01 AM

cool. much appriciated. Sounds like the docs is my next port of call. I already knew what syringing involved, but I thought I'd ask for some real life experience of what the outcome is after it's complete. Any medical expert can say "oh yes, syringing is what you want", but if it had adverse effects, I would likely consider other options. I've used the otex stuff before, and it's good in itself. I doubt that years of earplugs have helped!

#7 User is offline   Thomas1987 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:09 AM

View PostQMU, on 6 May 2009, 11:01 AM, said:

cool. much appriciated. Sounds like the docs is my next port of call. I already knew what syringing involved, but I thought I'd ask for some real life experience of what the outcome is after it's complete. Any medical expert can say "oh yes, syringing is what you want", but if it had adverse effects, I would likely consider other options. I've used the otex stuff before, and it's good in itself. I doubt that years of earplugs have helped!


Just another vote for getting it done, I had terrible hearing for nearly 3 years, and they did think it was related to the wax getting compressed. Had it done about half a year ago, and seems to stay about the same now, but I've been using warm olive oil every month or so recently. It's a very odd sensation having it done, but as everyone says, the sound is very odd for a few days- personally I've never been so jumpy in my life, as everything was SO loud! Certainly not the time to be trying to move and build trusses as the occasional clang is just heart stopping! :D

#8 User is offline   niclights 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:13 AM

Obviously it's something you would go to your GP for and so he/she can safely decide and advise. But I had exactly the same problem and finally got this done last month. Quite painless, quick and the result was amazing.

I believe the risk is incredibly low now with the newer 'irrigation' methods since they regulate the pressure used (unlike the syringe).

As already said, the drops will be used to soften up before - usually approx 4-5days.
A new layer of wax will quickly build, so there shouldn't be any worries about infection.
You certainly should be extra careful about protection, though I think this is obvious simply from the increased clarity of everything.

On approval from your doctor I highly recommend. I could not have continued with the blocking up!

#9 User is offline   Chris Adam 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:08 PM

wow. nice one. cheers for all the replies. Seems to be lots of lampies in agreement here though, so maybe the plugs are to blame.
Any noise boys got advice? I do lots of audio gigs locally, but tour lights, so I'd really like both perspectives.
thanks again.

#10 User is offline   tolley1466 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:33 PM

When my ears blocked up I was told to dab some warm olive oil around the ear hole. It worked but my ears were still quite bad so I had to get them syringed. But do go to your GP, they may tell you different.

#11 User is offline   paulears 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:50 PM

My sister-in-law is a practice nurse. They HATE syringing ears. She says that in most cases it doesn't shift the blockage anyway because it's too hard. So while there are all sorts of stuff to stick in it - including hydrogen peroxide (presumably diluted!), they often suggest olive oil - which is safe and does soften it up. Dabbing it around the hole is unlikely to help (she laughed when I showed her), you pour some in, then stick in a bit of cotton wool. After a few days, the oil has softened the wax and they can try to get it out. The gadget they use now uses tiny pulses of water that kind of chisel out the blockage, and if the cavity is completely blocked, then when it comes out, the difference is amazing. Sometimes, though, it just won't shift and is impacted. Old folks with hearing aids and waxy ears get this, they jam the mould in and it gradually moves the wax down the ear canal where it gets harder and harder, and then when it gets wet in the bath or shower, the tiny hole gets blocked by the hot water, melts and seals! People stick cocktail sticks in to get relief, and then often start an infection going because it's warm and moist! She tells me that some people attempt their own syringing when desperate -a bit of thin tube, a syringe and warm water - but she warns that you really should not do this. If you get referred to the ENT department at the hospital if they cannot get it out, they use a microscope, a sort of funnel that opens up the ear canal, and then a strange tool with a tiny loop of wire at the end, and they scrape out the wax. If people have grommets, or damaged ear drums, then they cannot syringe with liquid anyway, so the scraper tool works wonders.

I never knew ear wax was so complicated. I got the impression that ears came a very close second to other unpleasant nursing activities - hence why they try so hard to NOT syringe ears in the surgeries.

#12 User is offline   Chris Adam 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:56 PM

cool - I'm definately going now! anything that makes a nurse baulk, is good in my book! ha ha.
Surely can't be worse than what my friend has to put up with - bed bathing, older alcoholic gents, who are rather *ahem* excited by this prospect. Not the nicest way to earn a living.

once again, thanks.

#13 User is offline   Modge 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 02:48 PM

+1 for pouring olive oil in them first, you might find it loosens it enough it just falls out no syringing.

And yes, I have several friends who are nurses, they do get some awful jobs! (Mind you they all seem to have a lot of fun as well, so it can't be all bad)

#14 User is offline   niclights 

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:07 PM

I don't think your doctor would try and remove it without asking you to soften it first anyway (with olive oil or drops). I never had any luck with this making it magically fall out though.

One thing I would add is I personally made a point of doing each ear separately since the oil can often make the blocking up worse for a while and it would be a nightmare if both went. Similarly I managed to find periods with no shows so I wasn't putting plugs in while softened. Both probably unnecessary, but hey.

As an aside I do wonder how you are supposed to put olive oil in your ear without getting it everywhere but. Maybe everyone has pipettes lying around....?!


Oh. And can everyone type a bit more quietly please? Thankyou.

#15 User is offline   MarkPAman 

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 10:34 PM

View Postniclights, on 7 May 2009, 12:07 AM, said:

As an aside I do wonder how you are supposed to put olive oil in your ear without getting it everywhere but. Maybe everyone has pipettes lying around....?!


Ask at the chemist for one of the syringes that they often supply with medicines for babies & small children.
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