ZocdocAnswersI can't hear out of my right ear after putting hydrogen peroxide, what should I do?

Question

I can't hear out of my right ear after putting hydrogen peroxide, what should I do?

My doctor told me to put hydrogen peroxide in my ear to clear out wax. When I woke up I could not hear out of my right ear. It started to hurt so I went to Urgent Care. They told me I had given myself an ear infection and prescribed me antibiotics. It's been three days and I still can't hear out of my right ear. What should I do?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with excessive ear wax, and that after using peroxide in your ear to manage the wax you have not been able to hear for three days. I am happy to give you some information about cerumen (ear wax) and how to manage it, as well as my thoughts about what might be going on in your case, but ultimately I am going to recommend that you make an appointment to be evaluated by an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician, aka otolaryngologist, to be evaluated. The reason for this is that they will be able to take more of a history, examine you (including otoscopy... which is the ear scope), and maybe order a hearing test pending on what the exam shows. The outer portion (@ 1/2) of the ear canal is the portion of the external auditory canal that produces cerumen. It typically migrates out of the ear, however in some cases the wax is either pushed back in the ear inadvertently (for example by using Q-tips), or it dries out and becomes impacted. In these cases, it is necessary to remove it with instrumentation. Some people will use dilute peroxide solutions to soften the wax and help it come out. Unfortunately sometimes this causes the wax to get soft and stick to the ear drum. This would cause a conductive hearing loss, and your hearing would be dampened, which is possibly what happened in your case. An ENT will be able to look and remove the wax if needed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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