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  • krabapple
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #25
It might be a case of YMMV, but the home syringe approach works very well for me.

YMMV? You Make Me Vomit.. Your Monkey May Vote.. Young Mens Macho Vehicle?? I see that you have mastered the wax-off-syringe kata well, danbee-san.



YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. 


HTH.

  • Akkurat
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  • Developer
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #26
krabapple: it helps.. me to remember not to attempt comedy anymore.

  • andy o
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #27
Where are you people buying the syringes? Online?

  • Dynamic
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #28
Clearly there seems to be some measurement going on, and I'm tempted to trust 2Bdecided to use the right equipment to measure his ears' frequency response, and possibly used the audiologist's equipment before and after on this occasion.

However, it does strike me that some of the sudden "veil is lifted" feeling is probably during the brain's adaptation phase after such a sudden modification of sensory input. I've had the same after removing earplugs used for machinery that I'd become accustomed to, and once after clearing a wax plug that developed when I submerged my ears for too long in the bath. The brain will then become accustomed to the new sound over a period of time, and the dramatic effect will subside to make things sound much more normal with the clearer ears.

That's not to say that the increased clarity isn't real, simply that the dramatic experience which is startling because it's so different to what we were accustomed to, is likely to subside. I've been highly aware of birdsong and distant traffic and voices after removing earplugs but then my brain will tune them out so I barely notice in a matter of some minutes, particularly once I get into some other activity.
Dynamic – the artist formerly known as DickD

  • vincefalks
  • [*]
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #29
Wow, this is a craze! And I must admit I am caught up in it . System upgrade coming up...

Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #30
I have a ongoing problem with excessive wax build-up in my ears especially my right ear.  About 4-5 years ago, I was on a business trip and woke up in the morning to find that I had lost 90+% of the hearing in my right ear.  I had to facilitate a meeting for a client that day and really struggled all day to be able to hear and understand what people were saying to me. 

I try to use CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) whenever possible rather than resorting to the drugs and surgery approach of conventional medicine.  A CAM approach to wax buildup is called "ear candling".  It has been practiced for hundreds of years, but I suppose seemed too primitive and unscientific for the traditional medical establishment, so they don't use it and tell all patients not to use it. 

So when I got home from my trip with my ear even worse with all the pressure changes of airflight, I had my partner candle my ear 3 times.  It was unbelievable how much wax came out each time.  It helped but only brought hearing in my right ear back to about 50%.  Here is info about it and the best product for doing it.

Caution: Read and follow all instructions exactly or you'll end up burning a hole in your eardrum with hot wax (the reason doctors warn against it, but you'll read below about their so-called "safe" alternative" to candling).  I suggest watching the video on this site.  You can buy these candles at just about any health food store .

So I researched this on the web and discovered a condition called "sudden hearing loss".  Thinking that's what I had, I went to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist.  He told me that I didn't have the "sudden hearing loss" medical condition; my right ear was still clogged with a huge chunk of wax.  He removed it with some instrument that looked like a very long, thin forceps and I had my hearing back.  They ran a hearing test on me and I indeed had regained all my hearing.  I discovered that my right ear is only about 80% as acute as my left ear (foolishly broke that eardrum a couple of times when young).  Good to know for listening to music, since it's my favorite hobby - especially for adjusting the balance.

Recently, when I was at my GP (I do use conventional medicine for some conditions), she found that my right ear was again filled with wax.  She had her nurse flush my ear with high pressure water just like others have described in this discussion.

Now here's the punchline of this story and why I'm posting it:  The pressure of the flushing was so great, it broke my eardrum and filled my middle or inner ear with water.  For the next 48-72 hours, I had terrific pain in that ear, like the worst earache you can imagine.  For the same reason, I suppose - pressure from fluid in the ear.  But this was just water, not infection, so I just needed to get the water out.  I also lost about 75% of the hearing in that ear - AGAIN!  After blowing a hair dryer in my ear every few hours and taking a lot of antihistamines to dry out the ear, the water eventually dried up and I slowly lost the pain and regained my hearing.

Solution: I'm going to go back to using frequent olive oil drops (like what has been talked about here a lot) and occasional candling - it's MUCH safer than any medical treatment, including using a syringe to flush out your own ears.  I have concluded that when I candle, I need to keep doing it until I regain full hearing, not just a certain number of times or a certain amount of wax coming out.  I'm convinced that if we had done one or two more candlings instead of  going to the ENT doc, the ear would have cleared and I would have saved myself the time, $, and discomfort.

And yes, all the docs have lectured me that anything pushed into the ear does contribute to this wax blockage - Q-tips, ear buds, and ear plugs (that I wear at night).  Give candling a try, but don't do it yourself.  Have someone you TRUST do it and tell them to keep the candle at a sharp angle away from straight up to make sure there is no chance of hot wax going down your ear.  For us music lovers, it's as much about hearing our tunes with full fidelity as it is about health!
  • Last Edit: 20 November, 2009, 03:06:05 PM by greynol

  • Iain
  • [*][*][*]
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #31
I try to use CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) whenever possible rather than resorting to the drugs and surgery approach of conventional medicine.  A CAM approach to wax buildup is called "ear candling".  It has been practiced for hundreds of years, but I suppose seemed too primitive and unscientific for the traditional medical establishment, so they don't use it and tell all patients not to use it.


Ear candling form Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ear_candling:

Ear candling, also called ear coning or thermal-auricular therapy, is an alternative medicine practice claimed to improve general health and well-being by lighting one end of a hollow candle and placing the other end in the ear canal. According to medical researchers, it is both dangerous and ineffective.[2] Claims that the practice removes earwax have been disproved. The claim by one manufacturer that ear candles originated with the Hopi tribe has also been disproven.[3]

.... Several studies have shown that ear candles produce the same residue when burnt without ear insertion and that the residue is simply candle wax and soot.



Your doctor should have informed you of the risks of syringing the wax. Doctors round these parts have people sign a consent form. I believe that suction is an option for remove wax as well.




  • 2Bdecided
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #32
Clearly there seems to be some measurement going on, and I'm tempted to trust 2Bdecided to use the right equipment to measure his ears' frequency response, and possibly used the audiologist's equipment before and after on this occasion.
There was no audiological test. I just used the same headphones (HD580), same tones (generated in Cool Edit Pro), and same amplifier gain setting (20 out of 30 on a mini hi-fi with digital volume display). So it was a repeatable measurement, but completely without calibration.

Quote
However, it does strike me that some of the sudden "veil is lifted" feeling is probably during the brain's adaptation phase after such a sudden modification of sensory input. I've had the same after removing earplugs used for machinery that I'd become accustomed to, and once after clearing a wax plug that developed when I submerged my ears for too long in the bath. The brain will then become accustomed to the new sound over a period of time, and the dramatic effect will subside to make things sound much more normal with the clearer ears.
Yes, very true - the brain works hard with all our senses to make their output seem "normal".

For me, the feeling that high frequencies are more prominent than before, and the sensation of being surprised by various familiar sounds, lasted about two days. Which was far longer than I expected!

Cheers,
David.

  • danbee
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #33
The pressure of the flushing was so great, it broke my eardrum and filled my middle or inner ear with water.  For the next 48-72 hours, I had terrific pain in that ear, like the worst earache you can imagine.


One of the advantages of home syringing is that you are fully in control of the water pressure. You can start of slow and build it up and you'll know the moment you are forcing it in a bit too hard.
Dan

  • andy o
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #34
The problem with so-called alternative medicine is the same as audiophile woo. They can make any claims they want because they lack any standard. So while some herb might have some effect, homeopathy, chiropractics and acupuncture, and magnetic patches, fall under the same umbrella. Even when herbs can do something, it's not properly researched, and it's potentially dangerous. I've heard claims from a friend nutritionist (she was a student at that time, I hope she knows better now) that "alternative medicine" didn't have side-effects. Sure, for homeopathy and such stuff that doesn't have any primary effects in the first place, but for anything that has an effect, it is dishonest to say that it doesn't have others, especially when rigorous scientific tests have not been done.

And also, much of modern (a.k.a. scientific) medicine is worked by isolating the active compound in that herb, or whatever. Aspirin, Vicodin, etc.

The problem with medicine, is that for all the times that it's right, if one time it gets it wrong (as science does, and then self-corrects), alt-med proponents harp on it as if it was proof that their stuff worked. What one has to do with the other, I don't know.

So falconsoars, this candling business, it didn't work for you very well the first time. You went to the actual doctor at least twice, the first time it worked perfectly, the second apparently the doctor or the assistant was not very careful, and you dismiss science, for alt-med? Come on.

  • GregDunn
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #35
It's surprising how many educated people, in general, succumb to the lure of alternative therapies.  I don't mean to criticize anyone in particular - except the person I'm describing in this anecdote - so please don't take it as such. 

One of the people in my office - a technical manager - is rather overweight.  A frequent associated issue with obesity is increased blood pressure, and indeed he was telling a co-worker that his doctor confirmed he was suffering from hypertension.  He refused to lose weight, and did not trust the doctor to prescribe medication for his condition, so he looked it up online and came to the conclusion that drinking celery juice would cure his problem.  According to him, his BP is now normal as long as he keeps drinking the celery juice.  IMHO this is a classic case of placebo effect; it's known in the medical community that you can induce short-term changes in your BP if you "believe" it's being treated or perform autohypnosis.  Especially if you choose the time and place to measure, you can fool yourself badly.  It's the same sort of self-moderation that allows you to change your heart rate via meditation or whatever - for a brief period.  What I find upsetting, is that he's not treating the problem and surely his BP will remain high on average, and it will cause him health problems.

Of course, this is the same person who (we had a long discussion about science one day) believes that gravity is caused by the Earth's rotation, and that you can exceed the speed of light by attaching a light source to a fast-moving vehicle.  Science is not his specialty. 

Back on topic - I have had the syringe treatment to my ears after a particularly nasty episode of the flu caused a partial blockage.  It was skillfully performed and gave me immediate relief.  Since then I have periodically kept my ear canals clean with commercially available ear drops (recommended by the doctor) which are supposed to not damage the canal coating but keep the wax from accumulating.  As long as I stay away from loud noise, it seems to have preserved my hearing pretty well.  I do test myself occasionally with a signal generator and IEMs (just for comparison - no attempt is made to get an absolute measure), and note that they're declining at a moderate and seemingly appropriate rate as I age.  Without using damaging levels, I can still hear above 17 KHz and old TVs still drive me crazy when I'm in the room.   

  • krabapple
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #36
I have a ongoing problem with excessive wax build-up in my ears especially my right ear.  About 4-5 years ago, I was on a business trip and woke up in the morning to find that I had lost 90+% of the hearing in my right ear.  I had to facilitate a meeting for a client that day and really struggled all day to be able to hear and understand what people were saying to me. 

I try to use CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) whenever possible rather than resorting to the drugs and surgery approach of conventional medicine.  A CAM approach to wax buildup is called "ear candling".  It has been practiced for hundreds of years, but I suppose seemed too primitive and unscientific for the traditional medical establishment, so they don't use it and tell all patients not to use it.



Candling is nonsense.  As is most CAM that has been scientifically tested.

And if your GP was so incompetent as to break your eardrum with what should be a gentle warm saline flush, you should consider getting another GP. Or go to a specialist whenever you have an ear problem.
  • Last Edit: 20 November, 2009, 02:59:26 PM by krabapple

  • andy o
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #37
Oh god, did I just read on that site that the syringe is $45 plus shipping? Anyone knows where I can get one for a decent price?

EDIT: found this one. Seems to be a rebrand of this one. I have a CVS pharmacy very close, will buy later today if I find it. Any ideas for a before/after hearing test?
  • Last Edit: 20 November, 2009, 06:33:53 PM by andy o

  • Axon
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Members (Donating)
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #38
I tried some more vigorous cleaning regimens in the past before I figured that earwax is usually there for a good reason. (IIRC, there is some alleged antimicrobial benefit to it.) Although I do need to try the babby oil/olive oil thing.

Oh, and ear infections suck.

Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #39
The brain will then become accustomed to the new sound over a period of time, and the dramatic effect will subside to make things sound much more normal with the clearer ears.
Yes, very true - the brain works hard with all our senses to make their output seem "normal".
Sort of ReplayBrain ?
AFAIK the HA consensus is that if identical stimuli result in different perception, it should be called "imagination". Now if the brain has some sort of (slow, like several days) dynamic EQ feature, this will influence perception. This leaves me with several questions (assuming the effect exists):
-how much influence does this brain EQ effect have on listening tests ? (probably not much on short term ABX)
-how can this brain EQ be influenced (external factors) ?
-is it possible to test the current state of the brain EQ (sort of calibration) ?

A quick search on google didn't produce much relevant info, but I probably used the wrong keywords. Any suggestions ?

  • Iain
  • [*][*][*]
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #40
The brain will then become accustomed to the new sound over a period of time, and the dramatic effect will subside to make things sound much more normal with the clearer ears.
Yes, very true - the brain works hard with all our senses to make their output seem "normal".
Sort of ReplayBrain ?
AFAIK the HA consensus is that if identical stimuli result in different perception, it should be called "imagination". Now if the brain has some sort of (slow, like several days) dynamic EQ feature, this will influence perception. This leaves me with several questions (assuming the effect exists):
-how much influence does this brain EQ effect have on listening tests ? (probably not much on short term ABX)
-how can this brain EQ be influenced (external factors) ?
-is it possible to test the current state of the brain EQ (sort of calibration) ?

A quick search on google didn't produce much relevant info, but I probably used the wrong keywords. Any suggestions ?


You can experience it for yourself very easily. Listen to your favourite music (on headphones preferably, or reasonably loud on speakers) with 10dB (or more) cut from the high frequencies. Listen for 5-10 minutes, then restore the normal level and listen again.

The same things happen with our eyes. If you are in a room with red light bulbs for, say, 60 minutes, and then go outside, the outside will appear strangely green.

  • probedb
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #41
I've had my ears syringed a few times by the doctors. It's side effect of wearing IEMs a lot and the fact I have noisy neighbours so sleep with ear plugs in.

If your ears properly block with wax and you do have them syringed you do get that initial "everything is clearer" feeling. In fact the nurse always tells you to sit for a few minutes and checks you're not dizzy.

If you think your ears need cleaning put warm olive oil in your ears for 2 weeks then get the syringed.

Wouldn't recommend trying it yourself because you only have one set of ears and it's best to leave it to the professionals.

  • aephqan
  • [*]
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #42
Hi guys, this is my first post.... What a chance that this is the first topic I run into...  I get my one ear (yes just one of them) cleared a few days ago... I dropped glycerin for about 10 days and then cleaned it.. It was, OMG, a huge difference between my left ear and the right one... I'll get my other ear cleaned soon...

  • pdq
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Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #43
Was that some kind of experiment, getting just one ear cleaned to more easily compare the before and after?

  • tom`
  • [*]
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #44
I tried one of those home-ear-cleaning kits with the drops and rubber bulb a while back. I can't recommend it.

First, it didn't appear to remove any actual wax, in direct contravention to all these stories I've read online. I guess the doctors do it differently (unless my ears just don't produce wax, but from using IEMs I know that's not true). Second, the action of squirting warm water into my ears was highly unpleasant - a bit painful, even. Almost an itchy, twinging kind of feeling, that persisted for a couple of days afterward. Third, it resulted in no perceptible improvement in auditory sensation.

I should add that I hoped it would let me hear all the stuff head-fiers describe when they listen to audio - soundstage, warmth, sparkle, all that stuff they talk about that makes some amps (not even headphones!) worth hundreds of dollars more than others. No luck, of course. Thanks a lot, Head-Fi. 

  • Yegor
  • [*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #45
In the rare case of massive wax production they recommend to have the wax removed professionally every 2-3 months.
This is what I have to do. No matter how often I do cleaning, it always ends up with my ears completely waxed every few months. That's when professionals take a huge syringe, insert it into your ear and press with all their might! Whooooshhhh:



Everything sounds just great after that!!! :-D

I learnt to do this with much smaller syringes at home 8-)

Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #46
Hi, I'm a long time lurker here. I've been reading through this thread with rising dismay and feel compelled to register and raise my concerns:

I'm 60 years old and have suffered from heavy earwax build-up since my early teens. I use olive oil regularly but still need to have the wax removed at my local surgery every couple of years.

For many years syringing with warm water was the preferred method but in the last five years the nurse has used a more modern electrically operated gadget that sucks the wax out rather than exerting pressure. In fact this is the same device the Ear Specialist at the hospital used on me when I had a more serious infection. This device is much safer as, EVEN IN THE HANDS OF EXPERTS, syringing can damage ears. The ear drum is a delicate membrane and over-pressure will rupture it. A bad rupture can result in permanent partial or even full loss of hearing.

I'm horrified to hear of people poking things in their ears and syringing them at home.

Guys... your ears are extremely delicate and complex mechanisms. You are risking permanent damage and problems like persistent infections and tinnitus in later life if you mess with them. I have a good friend who co-owned a recording studio who over-used Q-Tips and got an ear infection that damaged his ear-drum to the extent that he is now permanently 90% deaf in one ear. Pretty catastrophic for someone using a mixing desk to earn a living.

Q-tips are great for cleaning the outside of your ears and the entrance to the ear canal but poking them in further just pushes the wax further down. Those warnings are on the packet for a reason. A small amount of wax in the ear canal is perfectly natural and traps dust and dirt and keeps it from reaching the ear drum. When you lose the high frequencies it's because wax is actually lying on the drum. Then it's time to visit your surgery.

You wouldn't poke a pin into your favourite IEMs would you? But you can buy a new pair of of IEMs if you break them... you can't do that with your ear drums.

(edited for spelling)
  • Last Edit: 24 February, 2011, 04:00:51 AM by selectortone

Just had my ears cleaned
Reply #47
If this catches on, I can really envisage audiofools demanding to know someone's audio hardware and ear-wax levels before taking their subjective opinion seriously.


Ear-wax levels is now one of the factors to be considered regarding sound quality 

Perhaps some time in the future with the advent of much more hi-tech medical procedures, some audiophiles would undergo an operation, changing their nerves in the auditory system to an oxygen free nerve 
  • Last Edit: 01 March, 2011, 01:11:33 AM by SonicBooom!
sin(α) = v sound/v object = Mach No.