OT, or not OT, but I need some HELP!

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Does anyone know how to 'unplug' a stuffy ear? I've had a stuffy ear for 10 days now, and it's driving me NUTS! Been to Dr., taking antibiotics, so all sign of active infection is gone.

But. The ear is still stuffed up! I keep hearing myself breathing, and talking, etc., plus, I can't hear what anyone is saying if they are on the stuffy ear side.

Please, help. I've tried chewing gum, I've been holding my nose & 'popping' my ears for over a week. No luck!

Thanks, everybody!

-- Arewyn (isitth@latealready.com), December 20, 1999


My friend told me once how he used a cigarette to fix that problem. He stuck a lit one in his ear (butt first obviously) and it created suction enough to clear it.

It might not work for you, but I don't see how it could hurt. If you try it and get injured somehow, feel free to sue me.

-- Gus (y2kk@usa.net), December 20, 1999.


That sounds like something akin to 'ear candling'. Maybe someone else on the forum has more experience and can help enlighten us all {'scuse the bad pun}.


Good luck, sorry I can't be of more help. When I was a youngster my mom often had me lay down as she poured warm oil in my ears. I don't know if it was sweet oil or mineral oil - or even why she did it.

Come on all you homeopaths out there - give us the short course, please.

-- flora (***@__._), December 20, 1999.

Try using hydrogenperoxide in your ear. Add several drops, wait while it "cooks and crackles", rinse and repeat. It will take 5-10 tries. Great for removing ear wax.... which is my guess as to what you've got. Next step is to see a doctor.

-- earwax man (ear.help@for.you), December 20, 1999.

I've had sinus and ear problems since my middle teens so this is familiar territory to me.

First thing you need to know is it your outer ear, as in the ear canal, or your middle ear behind the ear drum. Effective action differs for dealing with each.

If it's your inner ear I'll presume your doctor has already suggested Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)? If not, a regular dose according to the label directions can help a lot. It's about the only over the counter drug that does work for and not put me into a stupor. If you have hypertension though, talk to your doctor first.

Here's a list of home remedies you can try that have worked well for me for middle ear congestion.

#1 - To extent you're able keep cold air off that side of your head. Wear a scarf, a knit cap, whatever you have to do.

#2 - Drink a lot of water, preferably warm/hot drinks but not with caffeine. This will help to thin the congestion and make it easier to drain. If I don't have anything better I'll just drink hot water. Hot Tang is good, hot apple juice, just not caffeinated drinks.

#3 - Stay away from uncultered dairy products until the problem clears up. Cheese is OK as is yogurt but anything not fermented tends to increase mucus production in the body and will exacerbate the problem.

#4 - Sleep with the congested ear up, and put a heating pad/hot water bottle/ hot wash cloth what have you on that side. This is one of the best things I've ever found, particularly in conjunction with a lot of water and some Sudafed.

#5 - If it is middle ear congestion, don't try to pop your ears, that just forces more congestion into the ear and can make the problem worse.

Now, if your problem is outer ear congestion it depends on how raw things are in the ear canal.

#1 - This is somewhat controversial depending on who you talk to but I use an equal mixture of rubbing alochol and hydrogen peroxide that's been warmed. Pour some of the warmed mixture on the inside of your wrist to determine temperature or use a thermometer. Your ear canal is very temperature sensitive. Should'nt be more than about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Draw it up in an ear bulb/syringe or get a hypodermic syrine body without the needle, squeeze out the air bubbles and vigorously flush the ear canal with the warm mixture hold the effected ear down over a sink or something. You'll have to judge for yourself how hard to squeeze but you're not trying to blow your brains out here (smile). It'll probably foam and bubble furiously but that's good.

#2 - Sleep with the affected ear down (as opposed to up with a middle ear problem) particularly on top of a heating pad with a washcloth or something absorptive in between. This is particularly helpful after you've flushed the ear.

Good luck! That kind of ear congestion is enough to drive one to madness.


The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5


-- A.T. Hagan (athagan@sprintmail.com), December 20, 1999.

Care must be made in the distinction between
an inner and outer ear infection. Also if the
drum is ruptured, putting hydrogen peroxide or
any other substance in the ear could be dangerous.

I never heard of using a cigarette for an ear
candle but it seems like it could work. Ear
candles are great for removing excess wax from
the ear. I wouldn't try the ear candle on an
ear that is trying to recover from an infection.
Give it time to heal, and take the anti-biotics
for at least 3 days after the symptoms dissappear.

-- spider (spider0@usa.net), December 20, 1999.

I've had really extreme ear wax buildup problems for a number of years. Here's how I manage it so it doesn't bother me anymore:

Get a large-size syringe w/ a small nozzle end, for decent pressure. Fill syringe w/ warm water, pull earlobe down and forward, and squirt 'er in. You will not damage your eardrum this way, so no worries. It may take a few syringe-fuls, but the wax (if that's the problem) will either splatter (yum) or pop out in a big clump about the size of a pencil eraser.

Really, don't worry about hurting yourself this way. I learned the technique from an ER doctor when the pain and disorientation got so bad one night that I went to the hospital. My own GP later provided me w/ a syringe, but you can easily pick one of those at the drugstore.

-- hope that helps (ouch@ouch.ouch), December 20, 1999.

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks!

I should have been more specific and said that the Dr. said it was a middle ear infection. (Ear wax never been a problem... yet!)

I've been taking Actifed in hopes of reducing the inflamation, but to no avail. I'll be the first to admit, though, that I haven't been drinking enough water. My idea of fluids nearly wholely involves coffee beans or tea bags. I'll give the hot Tang a whirl this evening.

I did sleep with the hot water bottle on my head last night (hubby got many good chuckles from the sight!) but I couldn't tell any improvement from it. I remember ear candles from little kid-hood; my Grandma in England used them on me once. Creepy sort of sucking sensation as I recall. Don't remember if it helped, or what was wrong with my ear... (maybe she was trying to smoke out the Yank influences in my brain)

I'll stop popping, too. It wasn't helping at all, and now I know why!

Thanks again!

-- Arewyn (isitth@latealready.com), December 20, 1999.

Recently a woman told me she had "popped" her ear (held her nose and blew) while in an airplane about four years ago, and it ruined her life. She has been dizzy ever since, and doctors tell her there is nothing they can do to help her. Once it's done, it's done. Be very very careful if you feel the need to do that.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), December 20, 1999.

I have had that and even went to the accupuncturist. Nothing helped. It just takes time. It will heal and be all fine in a couple of weeks. Just try to forget about it.

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), December 20, 1999.


Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to remove the wax, especially if hardened. I know someone who has had this problem for many years. Use Debrox (or similar brand) which contains Carbamide (sp?) Peroxide, for 4 days, then get a doc to supervise flushing. Please do this before year end to start fresh.

Then get instructions from the doc to have your spouse or a friend do it after year end, assuming connections to docs are cut off. Get an ear syringe (the large, hard clear plastic kind), lots of extra Debrox, and Hydrogen Peroxide (as a cheap but possibly less effective substitute). Maybe you can even find an otoscope (ear light for examining) from a pharmacy.

I have not read all the above responses, so apologies for any repetition.

Good luck,

-- eve (123@4567.com), December 21, 1999.

By the way, what are ear candles, where can they be obtained, and how do you use them?


-- eve (123@4567.com), December 21, 1999.

I've been taking Actifed in hopes of reducing the inflamation, but to no avail.

Actifed is an OK antihistamine (puts me in a stupor though) but it doesn't really do the job as a decongestant. Get Sudafed or the store brand of pseudoephedrine and try that. It works differently and helps actually clear the congestion out.

I'll be the first to admit, though, that I haven't been drinking enough water. My idea of fluids nearly wholely involves coffee beans or tea bags. I'll give the hot Tang a whirl this evening.

Gotta do the fluid thing, particularly hot fluids. I think the caffeine serves as a vasoconstrictor or something similar which causes the congestion to not want to clear up. At least it seems that way to me because if I start drinking coffee or Coke I can't get my ears to open up and drain when I'm having congestion.

I did sleep with the hot water bottle on my head last night (hubby got many good chuckles from the sight!) but I couldn't tell any improvement from it.

What I do is take a long, hot shower and then lay down with the hot water bottle on that ear. Drink a lot of fluid before you go to sleep (naturally, you'll have to get up and pee later). You do have to keep the ear on the upside otherwise it'll want to drain in the wrong direction.

The idea is that heat and moisture makes the congestion thinner and easier to drain. Anything you can do to promote that should improve your chances of relief.


The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5


-- A.T. Hagan (athagan@netscape.net), December 21, 1999.

Alan, thanks for all the time you've taken trying to help me out. I'm going out for some Sudafed this afternoon.

Did the hot shower thing last night... seemed better, but not when I woke up.

There's no pain at all (thanks to erythromyicin), just that very irritating feeling of stuffiness and the muffling of sound into that ear.

Thanks, Pearlie, for the tip on the ear popping. I wonder if she popped especially hard? I know a lady who developed Meniere's (sp) disease, and has a terrible time with her equilibrium.

Thanks again!

-- Arewyn (isitth@latealready.com), December 21, 1999.

Try useing a hair dryer, and blowing it gently into the ear while holding the ear facing downward. The warm air will not hurt your ear, and even feels good. Read this out of a med book. Maybe it will help you.


-- Beth (craig@icu2.net), December 21, 1999.

Yes, the woman who popped her ear did it really hard. She has regretted it ever since. Constant dizziness is really unpleasant.

I used to use ear candles, but a doctor advised me to quit. They are strips of waxed paper that have been wound around something that is shaped just like a candle, then waxed until they hardened into that shape. It is a hollow tube with one end narrowed down. You put the narrow end in your ear and set the other end on fire. (Put the "candle" through a paper plate so the plate can sort of protect your hair from catching fire.) You really should have help with this whole procedure. It takes about ten minutes for the candle to burn down, and when it gets a couple of inches from your head, take it out and douse the burning end in a cup of water. The small end will be full of wax and gunk. I was very impressed with the amount of wax until I decided to do an experiment. I burned an ear candle without sticking it in my ear, and discovered that most of the wax that collects is from the candle itself.

Ear candling is an ancient practice, and I've had one doctor say it's OK and one said he has seen problems from it. I felt like it wasn't doing me enough good, so I quit. The candles are available at health food stores for about $2.50 each.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), December 21, 1999.


I really appreciate the ear candling info. Fascinating procedure!


-- eve (123@4567.com), December 21, 1999.

I happened to catch Dr. Dean Edell on the radio a couple of days ago. Apparently he had recently gone into a tirade & debunked ear candling. He even went so far as to apologize for having been a hippy!

-- flora (***@__._), December 21, 1999.

Mullein oil. Garlic oil. Onion oil.

-- Shivani Arjuna (Sarjuna@aol.com), December 26, 1999.

Never heard of "ear candling". Asked "Jeeves", here's where he sent me... http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/candling.html and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin- post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&dopt=r&uid=8849790

-- LMAO (candles_are_for_light@not_for.ears), December 27, 1999.

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