I enjoy shotgun sports as a hobby. In August of last year, I was at a gun show and noticed a booth with a "certified hearing specialist" who was making custom molded earplugs for hearing protection. This is a two part silicone material that is injected into the ear canal after placing the otoblock in to protect the eardrum. After the material cures for 10 minutes or so, the plug is removed. I was interested in getting the maximum hearing protection since I already do have some hearing loss, so I had it done after talking to the "specialist" who was dressed in scrubs. But when the left earplug was removed, I experienced severe pain and started bleeding. The bottom of my canal next to the eardrum was deeply lacerated but the eardrum apparently wasn't damaged. Now, 15 months later, I still have daily ear pain and numbness in my face which is getting worse. Chronic ear infections for the first 9 months. I've seen 3 ENT's, an otologist, and my regular MD. The otologist suggests surgery to repair the nerve in my ear, but my regular MD advises against it since it could make my problems worse. It seems that the nerve pain is getting worse, and I now have a slight paralysis on the left side of my face, along with some drooling problems. I'm hoping that perhaps an audiologist will step in here to offer their experience with this type of injury, since ear impressions taken for hearing aids seems to be a similar process with similar risks. Should I expect things to get progressively worse? My tinnitus seems to be worse as well. Just looking for insight since this seems to be an uncommon injury and my doctors disagree as to what should be done. Thanks
I'm sorry to hear that you had this unfortunate experience. Damage to the ear structures while taking custom impressions is infrequent but it can occur, usually with much less serious consequences. That said, it is a question that is much better suited for a physician, preferaby an ENT or otologist. I see that you have sought such expertise and I would encourage you to get another ENT opinion. It is important for you to have the best of medical advise as your condition as described is concerning.
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