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Blocked or congested ear after wearing earplugs at night

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Unread 11-10-2011, 08:53 AM   #1
greenfrog
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Default Blocked or congested ear after wearing earplugs at night

I suspect this isn't strictly a TBI question, but last night I took a bath before going to bed, then put in earplugs to block out neighbour noise (I've been taking a couple of baths a day, and sometimes wear earplugs at night, but this time I put in the earplugs fairly soon after taking the bath). I vaguely remember taking them out in the middle of the night.

When I woke up this morning, my left ear felt congested / muffled / stuffed up. No pain, but it is annoying and is also making my tinnitus / noise sensitivity somewhat worse.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Is this likely swimmer's ear or some other common ear issue that will go away on its own? I would prefer to avoid the trek to see my doctor unless I have to.
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Unread 11-10-2011, 09:49 AM   #2
Jeffrey
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Yes, I've been wearing plugs every night for over a year, and the T is worse. Also get the muffled hearing in one ear (temporary in the morning).

Not sure if they're linked, though.
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Unread 11-10-2011, 10:10 AM   #3
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Well, I've had PCS for six months, and this is the first time I've experienced this (my symptoms, tinnitus included, have been gradually improving otherwise and I've been feeling better over time).

I strongly suspect that what I'm experiencing is linked to my putting in earplugs shortly after taking a bath, and keeping them in for half the night. I think I've experienced something similar a couple of times prior to my injury. Could it be an ear infection like swimmer's ear? I guess I'll have to go to my family doctor to find out.
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Unread 11-10-2011, 11:07 AM   #4
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I think you can buy over the counter drops to put in the ear. I would google how to get rid of it. I know some people who use rubbing alchohol. They put five drops in the ear. No pain probably means no infection. It's worth a try. I know every trip I take to the MD I end up paying for it. (5000.00 deductible)
I hope you feel better.
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Unread 11-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #5
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Default earplugs/ ear infection?

I can't wear earplugs at night because I wake up those symptoms described.
But, on the other hand, I do think think that you may have a slight ear infection. As a swimmer and surfer it sounds pretty familiar. I've had countless ear infections.

If your ear hasn't progressed to swelling, redness, pain and major sensitivity I would try the following first. Have you done a hydrogen peroxide rinse? Go really slow... put only a tiny bit in your ear to clean it... it will sound and feel like fireworks and is a weird sensation the first time. Don't over do it. A couple drops is fine. Also, you can try the rubbing alcohol and mix it with parts water to drop in. Finally I've always done this before PCS but it could be contraindicated now... lie down and put the blowdryer next to your ear to dry it out (low setting). This works wonders but the sound might be too loud.Then maybe you need antibiotics.

I have to switch out my earplugs a lot because as you know anything extra with PCS like a earache can be awful. I just buy the big jar so as not not feel bad that I go through them that fast. Oh and taking baths helps me so much with my pain. Sounds like you just have some left over water in there. I have had a couple ear infections since my PCS (mostly acquired from the pool) and they have increased my overall symptoms. But, they went away without antibiotics. Best wishes!
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Unread 11-10-2011, 12:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postconcussion View Post
I can't wear earplugs at night because I wake up those symptoms described.
But, on the other hand, I do think think that you may have a slight ear infection. As a swimmer and surfer it sounds pretty familiar. I've had countless ear infections.

If your ear hasn't progressed to swelling, redness, pain and major sensitivity I would try the following first. Have you done a hydrogen peroxide rinse? Go really slow... put only a tiny bit in your ear to clean it... it will sound and feel like fireworks and is a weird sensation the first time. Don't over do it. A couple drops is fine. Also, you can try the rubbing alcohol and mix it with parts water to drop in. Finally I've always done this before PCS but it could be contraindicated now... lie down and put the blowdryer next to your ear to dry it out (low setting). This works wonders but the sound might be too loud.Then maybe you need antibiotics.

I have to switch out my earplugs a lot because as you know anything extra with PCS like a earache can be awful. I just buy the big jar so as not not feel bad that I go through them that fast. Oh and taking baths helps me so much with my pain. Sounds like you just have some left over water in there. I have had a couple ear infections since my PCS (mostly acquired from the pool) and they have increased my overall symptoms. But, they went away without antibiotics. Best wishes!
Thanks for the helpful response. Just curious - assuming it's a slight infection (this makes sense to me - there's definitely something going on, but so far the sound sensitivity is minor and there is no pain, swelling or redness), is it likely to go away if I don't do anything at all? I'm really reluctant to start tampering with my ear if I can help it.

Yes, I can be a hypochondriac
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Unread 11-10-2011, 05:22 PM   #7
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It sounds like you may have a little water in your ear. I had this same problem years ago. the doctor told me to put a drop or two of alcohol from the drug store in my ear to dry it out. You don't want this to lead to an ear infection. If your ear feels completely blocked, you better see your PCP. hope it works out of your ear. ginnie
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Unread 11-10-2011, 06:12 PM   #8
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Thanks all - thankfully, my ear seems to have been improving throughout the day. I decided to avoid showers and baths completely for today (good thing I live alone, and my girlfriend isn't coming over until tomorrow). Hopefully a good night of sleep (sans earplugs) will help me get back on track. In any case, in future I will be more careful with earplugs, submerging my head in water, etc.
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Unread 11-10-2011, 06:57 PM   #9
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The ear plugs may have pushed some ear wax deeper in your ear. Been there, done that.

You can buy an ear wash kit at the drug store. Wearing the ear plugs can prevent the ear from draining properly. Little bits of ear wax seep out of the ear, especially when we sleep. People who sleep on the same side routinely will have more wax buildup in the 'top' ear.

I have dealt with this for decades since I sleep on my back. The ear wash works great. I have had to get an ear wash/irrigation at the docs from time to time. The home drops and ear wash can prevent this trip to the doctor.

FYI, The nurse or medical assistant will warm up some water, maybe add some ear cleaning stuff. Then she fills a special syringe with a round, ball like tip and puts it in your ear. She will flush your ear with this solution until the ear canal looks clean. Sometimes, a big glob of wax and such will pop out.

If feels so good afterward.

The drops will soften the wax so it drains out normally.

Some ear plugs, especially the plastic molded ones, will push the wax deeper. The foam plugs trend to get the wax stuck on them so the wax comes out with the ear plug... Gross. It washes off in hot water.
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59 years old, retired due to disability, married 34 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate/short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual/auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and stopped paroxetine after 3 months of tapering. I currently take 100 mgs of 5-HTP AM, 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan at noon.

As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, docs put me on 3 meds. Clonazepam but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc presc. .25 mgs 2x daily but half a tablet is good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic that usually causes weight gain before bed. I lost over 30 pounds since mid July. It just stopped the weight loss. Took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

This great feeling only lasted a month. Back to the same old PCS doldrums.

May 2014, I am off the olanzapine due to a 6 fold price increase. Back on 600 mgs of gabapentin before bed.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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