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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19306
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I am suffering from two very blocked ears. The left ear is

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I am suffering from two very blocked ears. The left ear is particularly so. I have been to see my GP and he has advised that I put oil drops to soften the wax, so that they can be syringed. This is a ritual I know well, since I have suffered from excess wax in my ear canals for years. What I haven't experienced before is terrible hyperacusia, which is making me so terribly sensitive to noise that I am unable to walk out of the front door of my flat. Any exposure to background noise is like an assault, which is a terrifying experience, which I've never had before. My GP surgery say they cannot get anyone to clean my ears for over a fortnight. That would normally be OK, but in this case, I don't think I can wait that long to see whether this terrible sensitivity to noise can be relieved. Shall I go to A and E department, and hope that someone will be able to see me there and then? Shall I stop using the drops? Is that aggravating the problem? I am desperate for some advice.

Hello from JustAnswer.

There are several possibilities to consider in this situation.

Excessive ear wax can cause pain in the ear and decreased hearing, but it would be unusual for ear wax to cause hyperacusis. However, interventions to irrigate or scrape the ears to remove ear wax may cause or exacerbate hyperacusis. The application of drops to soften the ear wax is typically well tolerated. In addition, it usually will be well tolerated to allow gentle flow of warm water into the ear, such as in the shower. So, ear drops would typically not aggravate the problem and there is no reason to stop using the drops. However, if you have tried home irrigation, that may be contributing to the hyperacusis.

There are a couple of other options that you can try at home to ease symptoms. It may help to use an over the counter antihistamine, since the blocked ears may also be related to fluid in the middle ear. It also may help to use an over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

As for whether you should be seen in A&E, that would depend upon the severity of symptoms. If you can get some improvement in symptoms with the above interventions, then it may not be necessary for you to consider being seen emergently. However, if the symptoms are persistently more severe, then it may be necessary to be seen.

If I can provide any additional information, please let me know.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr Love. Thank you for clarifying the situation. My GP claims that there is no infection that he can see and I have certainly not tried home irrigation, because I am not confident that it's not going to make matters worse. I can't explain what is causing the hypercusis. I hadn't thought about the antihistamine or the anti-inflammatory. I shall certainly try them both and see if they can relieve the symptoms. It's very difficult to get an appointment see my GP again, so I guess I'll have to reappraise the situation over the next 24 hours.

Your GP will make an assessment based on what can be seen, but in a patient with an excessive amount of ear wax, there usually can only be a limited amount of the ear drum that can be seen, and frequently none of the ear drum can be seen well. And if there is non-infected fluid in the middle ear, the findings can be subtle, and consequently difficult to detect if the ear drum cannot be seen well.

It is a good plan to try these interventions and reassess tomorrow.

Dr. D. Love and other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

If I can provide any further assistance, please let me know. If I have answered all your questions, please remember to provide a positive rating so that I am credited for assisting you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I see. That makes sense. I wish GPs were always as good at explaining these things as you are. Thanks again.

You are most welcome.