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Ear Cleaning via suction, now experiencing fullness, odd sensations
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yelanger posted:
Hello everyone and Dr. Moser,

I have an uneasy feeling in my head, and I believe it was caused by having the suctioning procedure done at the ENT office. Just wanted to see if this is in fact possible or if other factors (allergies) are also at play.

My dilemma started in mid-April, where all of a sudden I got a clogged ear. Went to a basic clinic, was told I had no wax, and the situation was attributed to allergies. I started taking Flonase, and the issue cleared up a week later. I never went to the doctor for this, and was prescribed the generic Flonase by Target Pharmacy.

All was fine for 3 weeks. I was not feeling any other allergy symptoms, and decided to get off the Flonase thinking the ear condition was a one time thing. 4 days later, it clogged up again (same ear).

I started taking Flonase again, however the sensation wasn't going away. I made an appointment with an ENT specialist, and he told me I had wax in my ears. He used the suction method to clean them while I was already in his office. This hurt badly and left me extremely dizzy, however when he was done I could hear! He also told me that he assumes I have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction due to allergies.

After the procedure, my ears felt very weird. Everytime I would turn my head or move at all, I would feel a sensation in there as if someone had been in there. They've been feeling full on and off, though not sure if they're actually full or just feel weird due to cleaning. It has now been exactly 2 weeks since the wax removal, and this sensation has not gone away. There is no pain, just the extremely uncomfortable sensation.

I have gone back to the ENT once since then. We did an audio test and my hearing is perfect. I'm not getting any tinnitus at this point. He does not see anything wrong with my ears or eustachian tubes from looking up my nose, but continues to hold the assumption that it's ETD.

My questions...

1. Is it possible to still be feeling the after effects of the cleaning at this point? My right ear is feeling worse than my left and he did more work in there, as that was the one that was clogged due to wax. Since I didn't think my problem was due to wax, I didn't use debrox in there before the appointment. Does this feeling go away with time? Is it strange to still be feeling this way a couple weeks later? And is there anything I can do? It is hard to describe the sensation, so I hope you can understand what I mean by the details above. Not painful, but distracting and bothersome.

2. Should I continue taking my allergy medication, now knowing that my hearing was cleared up using wax removal?
I'm not sure why the first time this happened, the allergy meds took care of the problem.

Thanks for everyone's help and insight!
Reply
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
Those are very important questions, but unfortunately it may be a bit difficult for me to address them based solely on the information in your posting.

I am unclear as to the cause of that odd, distracting discomfort (?) that you have experienced in your ear after cerumen suctioning. Unless the eardrum itself was somehow touched during this procedure, I am amiss as to what the underlying reason might be. Typically, wax impactions and the methods used to remove it have the potential to cause problems with the ear canal, but based on what you have shared, it does not appear to be a "canal" cause. As far as treatment suggestions are concerned, I have none....namely, since the cause has not be really determined.

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) can be intermittent. You could appear to be "fine" during an exam, but that does not mean your e-tubes are fine all of the time. ETD can cause some odd ear symptoms, but again, I really don't know if this is the cause of the symptoms that are concerning you the most. I can tell you that it is a possibility.

As far a taking your allergy medications or not, I can't offer you the "yes or no"....I just do not have enough information about you or your particular case to be able to do that.
 
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yelanger replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thank you for the quick response.

I am not sure if the ENT touched the eardrum during his cleaning. I do know he was digging around pretty good in there, and at times it felt like he was stabbing the canal, likely scraping some of the harder wax from the walls. The procedure was painful and loud. The following day I felt some irritation from the procedure, and like someone had obviously been in there. There was no pain after that point, however the feeling persists.

The distracting discomfort feeling is as if someone is touching my ears from the inside. It's feeling like I had just gotten my ears cleaned (minus pain). I was even thinking that it had to do with a nerve just under my right ear, as the pulling sensation gets worse when I would turn my head to the right and left, look down, etc.. it feels like it's tingling sometimes. But it's definitely in the ear. My ears feel slightly full, and like the areas around my ears have heavy lead balloons in them.

I am concerned at my reaction to this cleaning, because I haven't read anything online about others having a bad effect to suction cleaning. I noticed people mentioned that often times an ENT will have them put softening drops in the ear, then come back to make the procedure less painful, but mine just did it right there. On the second visit, he looked into my ear canal and said he didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

Could it be possible that the procedure was extra rough and my ears are extra sensitive to it? And if that's the case, do you believe this will just take an extra long time to fade away?
Do you recommend I do anything else at this point?

There's also a chance with the ETD being intermittent like you mentioned, and there being 2 different issues going on.

I'm taking Flonase 1x/day in each nostril, and and anti-histamine. I can't take Sudafed or anything with pseudophedrine due to negative effects on my heart and anxiety.

For the record, I have never had ear issues with wax or infection up until this spring.

Thanks for your time
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to yelanger's response:
See if the ENT or your primary care medical provider will prescribe an antibiotic/steroid eardrop for you...the same drops that are used for swimmer's ear (otitis externa). The procedure alone could have caused inflammation and swelling in your canal, and even set the stage for a secondary infection. The steroid will help with the swelling/inflammation and the topical antibiotic will treat (or prevent) any bacterial involvement.
 
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yelanger replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thank you Dr. Moser, I will be sure to mention this to the ENT. It's good to know that this feeling could possibly be caused by the suctioning, I was worried it wouldn't ever go away now that it's been weeks.
Hopefully he will be willing to prescribe me that, even if he looks into my ears and doesn't see any problems. Or I would have to get a second opinion.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to yelanger's response:
Time is really the great healer in this situation. The eardrops, whether you get them or not, would be helpful but not essential. In most situations, the body will try and repair any damage that may have occurred during the suctioning, but unfortunately, it is not possible to know how long this natural healing process will take.
 
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yelanger replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
That is a comforting thought that the body is trying to replair itself on its own. Sometimes I think I feel a slight improvement day to day, but that could also be my nerves calming down about the situation.

One more quick question - the types of drops you spoke of, the antibiotic with steroid.. are those completely liquid? Would using them clog my ear up for periods of time or give a strong effect of ear fullness? Or no different than a few drops of water?
The reason I ask is I am in a friend's wedding in 2 weeks and wouldn't want anything affecting my balance and judgement during the time.

Thank you again
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to yelanger's response:
The drops only go in your ear canal...very liquid. If inserted at body temperature, they will not cause any symptoms (cold ear drops, even cold water in the ear, can cause dizziness). You only use them for a week to ten days anyway.
 
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yelanger replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thanks Dr. Moser,

I visited a second ENT specialist today for another opinion. He didn't see any inflammation in my canals whatsoever, had another audiology test, all is well, etc. He also believes it is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. Very frustrating - I wish it would just go away, as it's causing me anxiety and worry that it's just not going away despite using Nasonex and and anti-histamine for weeks.

He prescribed me 9 days of prednisone to get inflammation down inside and a followup visit.

I have seen many people talking about Eustachian Tube Dysfunction on this board, but I imagine people don't actually come back to talk about it when they get better.

In your experience, would you say this is something that will just go away? Have you seen prednisone help people?
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to yelanger's response:
Prednisone is safe and may help. Eustachian tube dysfunction is frustrating; not just because of the symptoms, but because it is so difficult to treat and so unpredictable.

Statistically? Most people do get better over time, but as you know, it can take it's sweet 'ol time. Medications may help, but Tinture of Time is usually the ultimate healer.

Don't let ETD bug you -- causing you anxiety or worry. There are so many other things in life that deserve your worry time.
 
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dakotadee replied to yelanger's response:
Well, I will see your few weeks of ear fullness/discomfort and raise you by 4 months! My ENT said I had ETD and put me on 2 weeks of predisone and it did not help at all. I also hear my pulse in that ear. Anithistimines nor decongestants helped, nor did a Z pac. I am frustrated too.
 
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maria_85 replied to yelanger's response:
hi my name is maria and I think we have the same situation 2 weeks ago I heard a buzzing sound in my left ear so I went to the emergency clinic in our local hospital. anyway, she check and said I have lots of ear wax in my left ear and so she use that tube with hot water to take out my ear wax. finally i can hear 100% but she also check my right ear and said i have ear wax too in my right ear and did the same thing to it but after doing the procedure i heard a high pitch sound. and im freaking out. im just wondering is your ear sound still there? i know its been 3 years since you posted in here but your answer would be a grate help
 
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yelanger replied to maria_85's response:
Hi Maria!

I'm so happy that I had googled my name and came across this. It's all too often that people will post something on the internet that is relevant to someone else, and never find the post again.

My ear problem did get better, but it took about a month to fully feel back to normal. I think that cleaning the wax out disrupted the equilibrium, so everything felt strange.

I hope your high pitched sound went away. Mine was more of a feeling of stuffiness and discomfort, and as I mentioned that took quite a while.


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