General Question

deki's avatar

I'm a kid with ear congestion and home alone.. Help?

Asked by deki (21points) May 30th, 2009

I’m seventeen years old, and very troubled.

My birthday was last sunday, and what a present I just got!
I was feeling fine, lately. Had a bit of a recurring cold, I’m more of a sniffler than a blower, when it comes to mucus buildup.

Anyway, my cold was pretty much gone, by last night, but now, as I woke up four hours ago(at 8AM), My left ear was completely blocked up. I can swiftly inhale through my nose to get my hearing back, but as soon as I yawn, or cough, it re-clogs.

I found a method on another site for pressing the tip of my finger into my ear, and pulling upwards on the skin to loosen the canals, or somethin’, and after trying that, and failing for nearly two hours, it got worse! So much for that. I tried the ValSalva, also, to no avail.

Now I’m sitting here, with a burning headache primarily on the left side of my head, and my ear still clogged. Any activity makes the headache worse, and there’s pain inside, and around my ear. I was going to try the “Lay in a bathtub, and submerge your ear” method, but I’m scared of causing permanent damage. I’ve been laying down nearly four hours straight, If I lay on my left side(The congested side)I exerience tiny amounts of pain and popping noises ensue. I hear the same small pops laying on my right side. Typing this now, I’m leaning my head against my left knee,(congested ear down,) And experiencing said pops every couple minutes. I’ve been failing to fall asleep, and writhing in my pain.

My useless father is still at work, he tossed me two Sudaffed’s, and scurried off, while my mother is getting her nails done. I’ve got a date with my girlfriend tommorrow. This had better not last, or I’ll force my father to take me to a doctor.

I’m alone at home, and cannot drive yet. Please help.

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31 Answers

mcbealer's avatar

You seriously need to be seen by an ENT. Yesterday.

Use technology to text them both until one of them realizes this is important, because if your eardrum ruptures you could wind up with permanent hearing loss. Insist on going to an urgent care center, or last resort the ER.

deki's avatar

I’ve been texting my dad, he owns a jewelry store in outer Bethesda, an hour drive from here, so he can’t up-and-leave whenever. My mom never brings her phone with her, and has texting disabled because she never uses it.

As per my dad’s responses, he told me to “lie back and take it slow.”

He blames my illnesses on the heart problem I have, which I’ve had surgery twice for—my double chambered left ventricle, on my heart.

Apparently having open heart surgery permanently weakens your immune system, so “lie back and take it slow” comes up quite often.

On another forum, I’ve gotten a similar response, with someone offering to call an ambulance to pick me up. I politely refused.

tinyfaery's avatar

Dude, your 17, take your ass to the doctor.

deki's avatar

I’m in “The boonies”, not many places I can get to easily without use of a car.

Which I don’t have.

mcbealer's avatar

Cab it to the urgent care center/ER

tinyfaery's avatar

If you feel that this is serious then tell your dad if he doesn’t come take u to the doctor, you will call an ambulance. If you have some excuse as to why you can’t do this, then perhaps it’s not an emergency. Maybe you should take some ibuprofen and lay down till mommy and daddy come home.

deki's avatar

Tiny, please don’t treat me like such a child, as I explained before you commented, I’ve no way to get to an automobile, and I’ve taken medicine.

I come to these sites for help, not to get mocked.

And to Mc, my dad called the salon where my mom’s at, she’s coming, I guess.


jbfletcherfan's avatar

@tinyfaery Hey, easy there. That tone’s not necessary.

@deki Get to the dr. ASAP. And when you get out, get some Mucinex. Take it every 4 hours to get rid of that crud in your head. Stop sniffing. You’re just driving that crap back up into your head. Blow it out.

deki's avatar

@jbfletcherfan Will do, Just trying to find something to do to ride out the wait ‘till my mom can get here.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m sorry but I was living on my own at 17, and you can’t take care of your ear ache. You came here to whine, not get help.

dynamicduo's avatar

Sorry you’re going through this. Ear pain sucks so much. I had a really nasty bout of it around your age and a few flareups from time to time. With my worst one, my eardrum burst, it was hands down the worst pain I’ve ever experienced and I would wish it on no one.

First off, there is nothing you can do with your hands or putting things in your ear to help with the pain. Full stop. Zero. Zip. The pain is caused usually by pressure in a tiny canal deep in your ear and you cannot access it at all. As you’ve seen, you will only make it worse.

You can take anything to decrease swelling, this may help. When I had pain recently the doctor gave me a spray which dried up my nose passages, as those are connected to the ears (the spray is actually for allergies, so you may have some lying around). She thought that my increase in nose goo may have blocked up the passage, and eventually the pain did subside, so I think she was definitely on to something. But if you don’t have this in your house, there’s not much you can do beyond taking ibuprofin, or tylenol if that’s the only thing you have.

Do anything to take your mind off of it. Obviously avoid earphones. Hang in there! It will be over eventually, if nothing else, hold on to this thought.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@deki I understand. Until you get something to get rid of that congestion, there’s not much to do right now. I hope you get to feeling better soon. I’m just coming down off the crud myself. It’s miserable. I know.

dynamicduo's avatar

@tinyfaery, if you have nothing positive to contribute other than your lecturing, no one’s making you stay here.

deki's avatar

@jbfletcherfan, I’m going to take a cold shower, and try to keep all the water from my ear.

@dynamicduo, apparently, according to my mom, anything involving me touching my ear is bad. She works at the medical center for the university of Maryland, and is freaking out, because apparently alot of people have had inner ear infections lately.

Thanks for all the help guys.

tinyfaery's avatar

Don’t tell me what to do. Should I go look up all your off topic chatter? Hmm?

mcbealer's avatar

Good to hear help is en route.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Let us know how things come out.

deki's avatar

@jbfletcherfan Still debating on the shower. I heard, from another site, that getting water in my ear at all is bad.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Keep your head out of the water. I know that’s hard to do, but tip your head either way when you’re showering…either backwards or drop it forward.

hearkat's avatar

Hi, I’m an Audiologist, and a single mom to a son who just turned 18.

First of all, the Dr. won’t be able to treat you unaccompanied because you’re a minor; so you do have to wait until your mother gets back.

If you are able to take any pain relievers with your heart condition, and other medications you might be on, then do so. Sudafed can make ear congestion worse for some people, and I also wonder if it is safe with your cardiac history.

Keep your head upright, or with the effected ear up, to facilitate drainage. Don’t blow or ValSalva too hard, because it could force more mucus into your nose. But do blow your nose gently to remove mucous, rather than sniffing it in (and swallowing it, which makes your stomach upset).

If your eardrum is intact, getting water in your ear usually isn’t a problem, just don’t let the water pressure hit the eardrum directly. Most people find that heat applied to the ear (a hot water bottle or warm compress) helps relieve the pain.

I hope you make it to the Doctor’s today so you can get properly examined and get medication that is appropriate for your current problem and considering your history. Feel better soon!

deki's avatar

She just got here. Time to go.

Thanks for all the help, guys.

deki's avatar

Alright, so I just got back from the hospital, which was hellish. After getting told I’m already partly deaf in my left ear, the questions came. I got asked if I smoked three times, probably due to my long hair, then got prescribed.

Eardrops(Antipyr/Benzo OTIC SOL)
To both be taken daily for a week, eardrops only when it hurt.

Hope these do it for me.

Thanks for all the help guys.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I hope these meds help soon. Be sure to take all of them. Even when you start to feel better.

hearkat's avatar

Sounds like a basic middle ear infection, so you should be feeling better in a couple days. As @jbfletcherfan says, make sure you take the Amoxicillin as directed (usually every 12 hours) and take it all.

In what context did they say that you are “partially deaf”? First of all, that is not an actual medical description of hearing loss; and secondly, using the term “deafness” suggests that there is nerve or inner ear involvement (which tends to be permanent), rather than just the conductive loss caused by the fluid in your middle ear space (which tends to be transient). If you have any concerns about your hearing sensitivity, make an appointment for an Audiological Evaluation in about 6–8 weeks (because it can take that long for the fluid to fully drain and the middle ear pressure to return to normal).

Keep us posted!

deki's avatar

I’m actually waiting until 6PM to start for the pills, so I can evenly distribute at 6AM/6PM.

As for the eardrops, I used’m, but it started burning, but the pharmacy thing has it down that that’s normal.

deki's avatar

I was told to face the wall with one hand over each ear, switching off, And she read a series of words. I couldn’t repeat the second two, and failed to do so three times, so she looked into my ear with a lit magnifying glass, wrote some things down, typed some things and said, “Well, my boy. Has it occured to you before that you may have partial deafness?”, to which I responded that it hadn’t crossed my mind. I was freaking out thinking maybe both my ears were backed up, since this time it was my right ear that I couldn’t hear out of although I could from my left(With the congestion). She wrote a bit more, looked into my other ear, and said I should get my mom to call her within 2 weeks, when my antibiotics would be gone, to talk about further issues.

I’m still a bit freaked out, but my pain is mostly gone, so I’m alright for the time being.

deki's avatar

Looking back on that, it’s dawning on me how unprofessional that seems. Just covering my ears with my hands, I mean. There’s got to be some kind of earplug/muff they could use. Seems like maybe she was just in a hurry?

jbfletcherfan's avatar

What about this deafness thing? Were you aware of this before your head plugged up, or just now? If it’s just now, it may just be the result of this infection, as hearkat said.

deki's avatar

I’ve had it pointed out to me that I say “What?” quite a bit, and do sometimes have problems understanding things, but this is the first time “Deafness” has hit the table as a plausable reason. I figured my ears were just lazy, or people mumbled alot.

hearkat's avatar

Definitely look for an Audiologist that takes your parents’ insurance. A comprehensive evaluation is done in a test booth with earphones or headphones.

Have you had problems hearing in the past? Before getting this congestion, did you notice a difference between your ears on the phone or when turning over in bed? Did you ever fail hearing screenings at school? If you have not noticed problems, it may be just the congestion. But given your history, hearing loss may have been a complication of some of the medical conditions you’ve had and procedures/treatments you’ve been through. Please do get it fully evaluated.

Consider this: even if you do have some degree of permanent hearing loss, you have managed to compensate for it fairly well. So you can only do even better once you know about it and find out what can be done to help you hear better. Don’t stress about it, because that will make it tougher for your body to fight the infection, and worrying won’t change the outcome of any future tests anyway. If you have any questions, just let me know.

deki's avatar

I usually did have issues with the hearing booth screenings done at my school, where a van would come up, and you’d get into the back, and press a button every time you heard a beep, through a headphone. There was always some kind of call made home.

This isn’t worrying me too much, however. If I’ve lived with it up until now, and not even noticed it, much less let it control my life and actions, why should I bother and start worring now, right?

Thanks tons, and I will let’cha know if anything comes up.

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