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Q. Why do I have severe ear pain after getting my ears irrigated to remove wax buildup?

Answered by
Dr. B Vageesh Padiyar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 27, 2020

I went to my GP yesterday to get my ears irrigated as I had some wax build up that was impairing my hearing slightly. The right ear cleared fairly easily, but the left ear she had more trouble with. While she was irrigating the left ear I felt extreme pain and I had to ask her to stop. My ear felt like it blocked up and I can only hear slightly in my left ear. The pain continued and the doctor told me she didn't see anything abnormal so I should just take pain medication. I went home but the pain only got more severe and my hearing didn't improve. I tried to lie on my left side to potentially drain some of the water that was in my ear. While I was lying on my side some fluid did drain from my ear and I kept hearing what sounded like popping bubbles and static in my left ear. The pain got so bad that had to go to the emergency room. The doctor had a look at my ear and told me I had otitous media from an ear infection and prescribed me antibiotics as well as pain killers and anti-inflammatories. I was looking to get a second opinion as I do not believe that this was caused from an ear infection but by what happened at my GP in the morning. Can anyone please help?



The reason why you would developed pain is due to pressure of the syringing fluid which would have temporarily tramatised your ear drum causing it to get inflammed and cause the intense pain that it is associated with.

Please understand that this can take a while as the ear drum takes its own sweet time for it reduce the inflammation. Please also note not to use ear buds or q tips to clean the ear which can further push the wax inside the ear canal and irritate the ear drum causing pain.

I would advice you to continue the antibiotics and pain killers as prescribed by the physician in the ER and wait for atleast a weeks time to resolve this issue.

Irrigating of the ear canal according to me is an obsolete procedure and should be avoided as much as possible. I, for one have stopped doing irrigation to remove wax ages ago.

I hope this answers your query. If there is anything more that you need to know or enquire, please do let us know and we will get back to you ASAP. Warm regards.

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