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Avatar universal

Water in ear with perforated ear drum - still blocked, will my hearing return?

When I was a child I had tubes put in my ears due to frequent ear infections.  The left tube ruptured my eardrum on that side, and it never healed.  I've had tinnitus and hearing loss in that ear ever since, but I've learned to live with it.

Fast forward to a week ago.  I'd been having a wax buildup in the ear with the perforated ear drum.  It was causing pain and blockage.  I went to a walk-in clinic, the doctor I saw said there was a lot of wax and wanted to clean it out.  I mentioned the perforated ear drum but he looked inside and couldn't see a hole.  I thought great, maybe it had healed up.

Well, I was wrong.  The doctor put drops of a solution in my ear while I was lying on my side and told me to wait 10 minutes.  That was fine, I didn't feel anything.  When I sat up and, he took a syringe filled with warm water and forcefully sprayed it into my ear to flush it out.  Oh my god, the pain when he did that was excruciating, it was like someone was stabbing my eardrum with a knife.

A lot of wax came out, but my ear was still blocked, and the pain was horrific.  I told him something was wrong but he said it was just the irritation from the water and it would go away.  There was pressure and pain, and I could feel something shifting in my ear when I moved my head (the water).    

Three days later it was still blocked and the pressure and pain were still there, so I went back to the clinic.  This time he looked in my ear and saw the perforation.  He said it was only water and that it couldn't do any damage even with the hole, but also that "there are no guarantees".  He saw some redness so put me on an antibiotic (generic version of Augmentin).  He also referred me to an ENT.    

It's now been almost a week since he sprayed the water in my ear and it's still blocked.  It was actually less blocked yesterday, but when I woke up it was even more blocked today, and there is still pain.  I can feel water in there... I don't know if it's behind the ear drum or inside the ear drum, but it's not coming out.  

The main thing I am concerned with is hearing loss.  If my hearing was 75% in that ear before, right now it feels like it's down to about 30%.  Will my hearing ever return to what it was before the water incident?  How long will it take, and is there anything I can do in the meantime?  I'm a 36 year old male.  Any advice would be appreciated.


tl:dr:  I have a perforated ear drum in my left ear.  A week ago, during wax removal I stupidly had a syringe full of water sprayed into my ear to flush it out, and it has been blocked ever since with pain and pressure.  I can still feel water in it, but it's not coming out.  Will my hearing ever return in this ear, or did I do permanent damage?  
3 Responses
Avatar universal
After being on the Augmentin for about a week I was not noticing any improvement and was getting a sticky yellow fluid slowly coming out of my ear.

I went to the ENT and he said the hole in my eardrum is very small but the ear didn't look that bad as far as being infected. Well, it felt it. He used some kind of vacuum on the bad ear to suck out fluid in the ear canal. He also blew air onto the eardrum to test it. Neither of these actions helped.

The ENT put me on a different antibiotic (Cefuroxime Axetil) and ear drops (Ciprofloxacin). He said to call him if it doesn't improve in a week.

I am still experiencing a total blockage in the ear, as well as pressure, occasional pain, and the fluid discharge. Other than the ear symptoms, I don't have other symptoms (i.e. no fever, nasal congestion, cold, sore throat).

It's now been about 2 weeks since the I got water in the ear, and there's been zero improvement (if anything, it feels worse than ever). I'm wondering if these antibiotics are even doing anything, and if this fluid will ever go away.

Is this even an infection at this point or just fluid behind the eardrum? What will happen if it doesn't go away, and should I be worried about permanent damage to my hearing? I'm 36, not a kid. It seems strange that I'm having this problem.
1 Comments
What happened with your ear? My daughter is 21 years old she has had the same problem since she was born. It got so bad that now she basically has no ear drum anymore.due to so many infections that it has just deteriorated her ear drum. she has had two surgeries neither surgery was successful and she still continues to have problems. She just recently got water in her ear and she is in such horrible pain. We are going to make an appointment for a new ear doctor tomorrow. for 21 years we have been fighting this and we have yet to have a doctor help her and we have been to many specialists. Please if you have any information please let me know thank you and I hope your hearing is ok
Avatar universal
I am having the same issue.  Is yours better now?  I have a perforated ear for over 6 yrs now never had a problem until 2 days ago I felt complete blockage and can't hear from that ear at all and it is freaking me out.
Avatar universal
I am 37 years old. Eight years ago a wave hit my right ear and caused a perforation in the eardrum. It was horrible. It has meant I can't get water in it and I've lost a lot of hearing. I've gone to the ENT and the solution is a skin graphing. They take a part of your skin behind the ear and graph it onto the perforation. I'm planning on having that surgery this year, but in the meantime, I fell into a pool and now have water completely clogging that ear. I can barely hear out of it, it's uncomfortable and painful at times. I can't seem to get it out. I was hoping for solutions and found this board but I thought I'd let you all know there is a surgery that can solve the longer term issue for you. I hope that helps.
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