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ear plugs causing infection

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hgregs, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. hgregs


    Sep 25, 2008
    ct/ny border
    i've had a few ear infections, then learned how to manage keeping my ears dry (mixture of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar)... but recently, especially following gigs, my right ear is very hard to keep healthy. i played on saturday night, and my right ear canal is completely swollen (the plugs cause a build up of moisture, which creates an environment for an infection). i'm treating as usual, but have to think others have this problem? are there any plugs that might be better at preventing moisture buildup? i use westone customs.
  2. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've protected my hearing with plugs since the early '70s. I've used foam ear plugs since they became available and wadded up pieces of paper napkin prior to that. Fortunately I've never had a problem like you describe.

    Have you consulted an otologist?
  3. McFarlin

    McFarlin Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I have problems related to earplug use, but not as severe (not familiar with the idea of moisture build-up).
    I also use 1:1 white vinegar and isopropyl alcohol. My doctor said to leave it in for 1/2 hour per side. I also leave the dropper in hot water for a bit to warm the mixture. I don't do it too often as it seems like something easy to over-do.
    I also make sure to wash the earplugs with soap or alcohol (with filters removed, obviously) and wipe the inside of the case with an alcohol soaked pad (prop open to dry). Keeping clean hands is the hard part--bar/venue bathrooms, shaking hands all evening--I just try to handle the plug ends as little as possible.
    Maybe pack a small cotton pad or a bit of gauze to dab/dry your ear canal before insertion?
  4. DocGeorge

    DocGeorge Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Indio, CA
  5. Google "swimmer's ear". It's pretty common.

    If you're not using disposable plugs you HAVE to clean them regularly. I soaked mine in alcohol every week.

    Vinegar doesn't cause the drying. It's the alcohol. The vinegar is a great germ killer. Combined with the alcohol it's even better.

    I use the 90%. I have to be careful with my left ear. My problem is less the ear plug and more from sleeping on my left side.

    Ear wax build up can make it worse. I use an over the counter ear cleaning solution and irrigation bubble pretty regularly.

    The moisture comes from a couple of things. Your ears sweat just like the rest of your body. Also, there's a tube that connects you ear to your throat, a high humidity environment. It's not a one way street. When you plug the ear this doesn't escape.
  6. hgregs


    Sep 25, 2008
    ct/ny border
    rehearsal yesterday... brought the ear-drops, q-tips, and tissue. q-tip before starting and during break, then ear-drops at the end. still healthy. seems i need to make this part of my normal routine.

    @got2... i have the same sleeping issue, and go through at least 1 qtip/night.

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