pump up the volume

I can hear again, and it is quite a relief.

About three weeks ago, I went to the clinic for a checkup. When the doc looked in my ears, he said something like, “I bet you can’t hear much right now.” I mentioned my increasingly irritating tinnitus, but he said what he meant was I had a shit-ton of wax in my ears (I’m paraphrasing; I can’t remember how he described it but a “shit-ton” it was, so that’s what I’m going with). He called in a tech who loaded a big-barrel syringe with warm tap water and flushed out my ears while I held a small plastic basin under the ear she was flushing to catch the water and little flecks of wax that came out.

Afterwards, the doc took another look in each of my ears, then reached into my right ear with a little plastic tool that looked sort of like a dentist’s pick and fished out a chunk of earwax about the size of a pea. He said there was one just like it in my left ear, too, but he couldn’t manage to snag it with the pick, so he told me to get some ear wax softener from the pharmacy, use that for about a week, then come back.

The first time I dribbled some ear wax softener into my left ear it bubbled and frothed and some wax came out, but it left me half-deaf like I had water stuck in my ear after swimming. I squirted some more of the softener into my ear the next day and again that night, but I didn’t get any more wax out and it still felt and sounded plugged up, so I didn’t add any more softener. Later the next day I could hear a little better, but when I laid down to sleep at night it plugged up again and didn’t unplug until late in the morning the next day. It slowly got better until I thought I could hear just fine so I didn’t used the softener again.

Then day before yesterday my ear blocked up and I couldn’t hear much out of it, not like I had water in my ear but like I had one of those foam ear plugs in it. I squirted the softener into my ear and it bubbled and frothed again but nothing came out and it didn’t unplug. I squirted some more in the next day with the same result, so this morning I stopped at the pharmacy and got one of those little plastic bulbs to squirt water into my ears. First shot of water flushed a pea-sized gob of wax and all sorts of little flecks, too. Second shot of water brought out a couple more, slightly smaller chunks, and the third shot of water flushed out another pea-sized gob. There was enough wax in my ear to sculpt a life-sized cockroach! No wonder the doc was surprised I could hear anything!

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