PSA: Beware the Waxy Ear Plugs

28 Jun

earplug

This is the actual brand that was lodged in my ear. You can use ’em to block out stuff; just don’t expect to actually be able to remove them from your ears.

I feel that it’s my duty to inform you the inquisitive public about a very serious health concern and that is–waxy ear plugs. They’re the ones you can find in the “ear care” aisle at your local pharmacy for around 3 bucks. The silicon putty balls promise to keep water, even when swimming, our of your ear canals. What the packaging doesn’t say is that they do it by getting lodged INTO your ear canals.

Here I am trying to be a responsible human being and plugging my ears so I don’t get ear infections and what happens? The plug gets stuck in my ear! When I tried to remove the dang thing, it broke apart. No problem, I thought, I’ll just pull the rest out, except it wouldn’t come out. In fact, it wedged itself deeper into my ear just to defy me.

After a call to the after-hours answering service at the doctor’s office, I got an emergency appointment with a doctor I never met. I felt as silly as a little kid who stuck dried noodles up his nose. His car keys and sunglasses thrown onto the counter, he immediately got to work on that bad boy. After several minutes of flushing with water, tweezing, and scooping, the hard piece of silicon ear plug was removed from my ear. Hooray! Emergency room averted! Dr. Nameless is a hero! Oh, and he said this was the second time he was removing wax ear plugs from someone’s ear this year. It must be some sort of epidemic.

Now my ear seems a bit stuffy and it hurts. Besides being embarrassing, the whole procedure was unpleasant and a touch painful. All in all, that’s something I would like to avoid in the future, which is why I am warning you about the dangers of putting stuff in your ears. Even items that were made to put in your ears, like ear plugs, should not necessarily be used.

Truth be told, I’ve used these silicon things a bazillion times and never had any trouble until now. However, I have now purchased a sturdy set of Hearos, which I hope along with Swim-Ear can keep my ear canals free of water and infection.

And I thought the most difficult of part of swimming was wearing a bathing suit in public. Sigh.

I just wanted to add that my last visit to the E.R. was around this time last year when I got a garden rake prong lodged in my knee causing a puncture wound. Because my doctor’s office couldn’t squeeze me in, I had to go to the E.R. to get a tetanus shot. Ironically, this is the same doctor’s office that set a doctor in AFTER-HOURS to take care of me so I wouldn’t have to go the the E.R.

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No Responses to “PSA: Beware the Waxy Ear Plugs”

  1. Finestra Johns June 29, 2008 at 5:07 AM #

    Well how dumb are you. You obviously didn’t bother to read the instructions. The earplugs in question are not designed to go into the ear canal. In fact, the instructions specifically tell you NOT to do this.
    Unfortunately, you can’t legislate for the supreme stupidity of the American people.
    No doubt you are even now drawing up a law suit claiming damages from McKeon’s the excellent manufacturer whose product you so carelessly malign.
    Hey, that’s Americans for you.

  2. Finestra Johns June 29, 2008 at 5:07 AM #

    Well how dumb are you. You obviously didn’t bother to read the instructions. The earplugs in question are not designed to go into the ear canal. In fact, the instructions specifically tell you NOT to do this.
    Unfortunately, you can’t legislate for the supreme stupidity of the American people.
    No doubt you are even now drawing up a law suit claiming damages from McKeon’s the excellent manufacturer whose product you so carelessly malign.
    Hey, that’s Americans for you.

  3. Amy June 29, 2008 at 9:22 AM #

    Betcha thought I wouldn’t approve your comment. Let me address a few of your misconceptions:

    1. My writing is very tongue-in-cheek. I thought it was very stupid to get a silicon ear plug stuck in my ear.

    2. I did read the instructions. When I was removing the thing part of it broke off. As I tried to pull the rest of it out, it became lodged into my ear canal. It wasn’t always smashed in there.

    3. Like I said, I used the product hundreds of times with no problem; yet I’m going to change to something else because my doctor told me to.

    4. I’m not suing anyway. Accidents happen. You take a risk when you use any product and sometimes things don’t go as planned. It’s not the company’s fault.

    5. I am pretty dumb. As I was leaving the doctor’s office, I missed the outside step and almost took a stumble. The doctor actually caught me so I wouldn’t fall. That’s how uncoordinated and dumb I am.

  4. Amy June 29, 2008 at 9:22 AM #

    Betcha thought I wouldn’t approve your comment. Let me address a few of your misconceptions:

    1. My writing is very tongue-in-cheek. I thought it was very stupid to get a silicon ear plug stuck in my ear.

    2. I did read the instructions. When I was removing the thing part of it broke off. As I tried to pull the rest of it out, it became lodged into my ear canal. It wasn’t always smashed in there.

    3. Like I said, I used the product hundreds of times with no problem; yet I’m going to change to something else because my doctor told me to.

    4. I’m not suing anyway. Accidents happen. You take a risk when you use any product and sometimes things don’t go as planned. It’s not the company’s fault.

    5. I am pretty dumb. As I was leaving the doctor’s office, I missed the outside step and almost took a stumble. The doctor actually caught me so I wouldn’t fall. That’s how uncoordinated and dumb I am.

  5. Tracy June 29, 2008 at 5:51 PM #

    Note to self: stuff in ears = bad! Amy, I loved this article. Totally made me laugh. You are brilliant. Finestra Johns, it’s no fun being bitter. Try to laugh a little and look up the word “grace.” It’s a great approach to life.

  6. Tracy June 29, 2008 at 5:51 PM #

    Note to self: stuff in ears = bad! Amy, I loved this article. Totally made me laugh. You are brilliant. Finestra Johns, it’s no fun being bitter. Try to laugh a little and look up the word “grace.” It’s a great approach to life.

  7. Finestra Johns June 30, 2008 at 5:39 AM #

    Fortunately I am not American so don’t go in for touchy feely huggy you are totally awesome and brilliant insincerity.

  8. Finestra Johns June 30, 2008 at 5:39 AM #

    Fortunately I am not American so don’t go in for touchy feely huggy you are totally awesome and brilliant insincerity.

  9. Lillian July 25, 2008 at 1:41 PM #

    Totally funny!

  10. Lillian July 25, 2008 at 1:41 PM #

    Totally funny!

  11. Sleepless in Indiana September 4, 2008 at 2:52 AM #

    This may see funny to all of you, and some day it may seem funny to me, but not right now. I awoke about 3 three hours ago (around 1:30AM). I don’t know who manufactured my ear plugs but they were sold by earplugsonline.com. I did follow the instructions exactly but part of the plug is stuck in my ear canal. Of course, you all may pile on if you like, but what I really need is help. The web site said that they are made of beeswax, cotton and lanolin. Any ideas on what I can use to disolve this stuff?

  12. Sleepless in Indiana September 4, 2008 at 2:52 AM #

    This may see funny to all of you, and some day it may seem funny to me, but not right now. I awoke about 3 three hours ago (around 1:30AM). I don’t know who manufactured my ear plugs but they were sold by earplugsonline.com. I did follow the instructions exactly but part of the plug is stuck in my ear canal. Of course, you all may pile on if you like, but what I really need is help. The web site said that they are made of beeswax, cotton and lanolin. Any ideas on what I can use to disolve this stuff?

  13. Amy September 4, 2008 at 7:56 AM #

    Go to the doctor and have him or her remove it. You don’t want to mess with it because you could cause damage to your ear. Let me know how it goes!

    Yes, it definitely was *not* funny to me until I was sure the plug was full removed from my ear. And, by the way, I also followed the instructions. I used another pair of ear plugs all summer in the pool and they worked well. They’re called “Hearos”.

  14. Amy September 4, 2008 at 7:56 AM #

    Go to the doctor and have him or her remove it. You don’t want to mess with it because you could cause damage to your ear. Let me know how it goes!

    Yes, it definitely was *not* funny to me until I was sure the plug was full removed from my ear. And, by the way, I also followed the instructions. I used another pair of ear plugs all summer in the pool and they worked well. They’re called “Hearos”.

  15. Lois September 4, 2008 at 10:58 AM #

    Yes…go to the Dr…right away. If you leave it too long it will start to mess with your equilibrium (ie…you feel dizzy & sick all the time).

  16. Lois September 4, 2008 at 10:58 AM #

    Yes…go to the Dr…right away. If you leave it too long it will start to mess with your equilibrium (ie…you feel dizzy & sick all the time).

  17. Noelle November 17, 2008 at 7:25 AM #

    Amy I know exactly what you are going through! I have had a silicone earplug stuck in my ear since July! Why you wonder, exactly the same thing happened to me! And it is actually now sitting on my ear drum! numerous visits to A&E have been unsuccessful! Last result is surgery, but I am unable to have this until next year Jan as i am pregnant, so have to wait until my baby is born! bizarre as it sounds Amy it does happen! The hospital said I am the 4th person they have seen with this, obviously my case is extreme as I am pregnant! I actually complained to the company, who now as a result have taken the product of the shelf and are ‘reviewing’ the packaging and product!

    The past few months have been hell for me, trips to the hospital have resulted in me crying like a baby because it has been so painful! They have tried everything forceps, water irrigation, suction and anaesthetic spray! NOTHING HAS Worked! It just breaks into pieces but the biggest part won’t move and is now living on my ear drum! So this is actually quite serious, and believe me Amy I know exactly what you have gone through and am dreading the surgery after I give birth! Anything apart from silicone earplugs I would recommend! Truly dangerous, and this can easily happen to anyone!

    The insurers investigated my claim and discovered that the earplug actually does move whilst in your ear, so it is very very dangerous

    Noelle

  18. Noelle November 17, 2008 at 7:25 AM #

    Amy I know exactly what you are going through! I have had a silicone earplug stuck in my ear since July! Why you wonder, exactly the same thing happened to me! And it is actually now sitting on my ear drum! numerous visits to A&E have been unsuccessful! Last result is surgery, but I am unable to have this until next year Jan as i am pregnant, so have to wait until my baby is born! bizarre as it sounds Amy it does happen! The hospital said I am the 4th person they have seen with this, obviously my case is extreme as I am pregnant! I actually complained to the company, who now as a result have taken the product of the shelf and are ‘reviewing’ the packaging and product!

    The past few months have been hell for me, trips to the hospital have resulted in me crying like a baby because it has been so painful! They have tried everything forceps, water irrigation, suction and anaesthetic spray! NOTHING HAS Worked! It just breaks into pieces but the biggest part won’t move and is now living on my ear drum! So this is actually quite serious, and believe me Amy I know exactly what you have gone through and am dreading the surgery after I give birth! Anything apart from silicone earplugs I would recommend! Truly dangerous, and this can easily happen to anyone!

    The insurers investigated my claim and discovered that the earplug actually does move whilst in your ear, so it is very very dangerous

    Noelle

  19. Mike January 25, 2010 at 12:16 PM #

    The same post on two different blogs with the same comments? Hmm… sounds like its a lynching squad against that earplug company – more than anything else.

    • Amy January 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM #

      @Mike Actually, I combined Backseat Writer and Atypical Musings for a bit and imported all the posts from the other site here, which also imported the comments. Despite “closing” the other site, but not deleting it, people still chose to comment there. Now I’ve re-opened Atypical Musings for personal thoughts and post different material here. However, some of the posts will be on both sites.

      You are getting a tad obnoxious about this, and if you don’t simmer down, I’m going to delete all your comments. Remember, I’m the benevolent dictator of my blogs.

  20. Jules Carlysle March 1, 2010 at 6:11 AM #

    Well Hello to YOU! It’s 4:45am and I’m searching the Internet for info about this exact subject…because I have a silicone plug lodged deep in my ear and we can’t get it out.

    Funny thing is, I am actually deaf. I lost my hearing after a stroke in my sleep last Sept 19th.went to bed normal and .just woke up deaf!

    I got back a couple of frequencies recently and…well imagine it like this…my hearing was 1 tenth of 1% of normal and I’ve gotten used to that…I hear 14 letters of the alphabet and lip read the rest..no biggie…But, when a sound happens in a frequency that now has normal hearing…it’s like getting a bullet in the brain. The ding of my low fuel light is one of these…or the ding of the fasten seatbelts sign on a plane…I jump right out of my skin and often start to cry. It’s embarrassing…

    Actually, I’m gonna hit ya with another story, not quite related but kinda freaky…a month ago I was at Walmart and there was an excrutiating squealing sound…I thought I was gonna throw up and/or pass out…I went to Customer Service to complain and they couldn’t hear it…probably thought me a loon…manager comes by and said the vault alarm in the sub basement was on the fritz and he was waiting for the security company to come fix it…weird right? deaf with bionic supersonic hearing…I’m like a cocker spaniel.

    So, I started wearing the silicone plugs last week or so to alleviate the shock of the things I do hear and now I’m in the club too…and not the cool club…the club of weinies that have silicone lodged deep in their ears…I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without a helmet and adult supervision.

    Mine actually hurts when I swallow.

    PS Judging from your style…you would probably relate to my blog at http://www.canadawry.com…bypass the recent stuff and scroll down to some actual writing like Crock of Science, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Words, Take to Meat and Call Me in the Morning…Dogs and Husbands…

    Cheers, j

  21. Ric June 12, 2012 at 3:03 AM #

    Hi everyone I had the same stressful event this morning when a tiny piece of silicone ear plug got stuck deep into my ear. After many attempts to get it out, I prayed and asked God to help me as I realized that I was only pushing the piece deeper into my ear. I decided to go and visit a friend who is a nurse so she could to help me to get it out but first I had to take a shower and wash my hair before I go.

    While in the shower I felt that maybe a little warm water might loosen it. Praise God it did! The warm water helped to lift the piece of silicone off the skin surface and I could easily get it out. Phew!

    Just thought this might help somebody else 🙂

  22. Nicky S January 24, 2013 at 10:42 AM #

    I too have had pieces of silicone earplugs wedged in both ears for a month – despite three visits to A&E plus two to my own Doctor no one could remove them and I’m now booked in for Day Surgery to have them removed under anaesthetic, yes the pain can be excruciating at times, dizziness and nausea too – and no, I did most definitely NOT force them into my ears! The hospital said they see a few cases of this per week, that’s just in my small part of SW London!

  23. AH February 22, 2013 at 1:33 AM #

    Hi, I found this site while googling “silicone ear plug stuck in ear”. My 6 year old daughter’s ENT recommended silicone ear plugs for bathing after we put P/E tubes in her ear. A piece has broken off (I didn’t even realize it, don’t know how long it’s been in there) and has now lodged itself on the ear drum and around the P/E tube. She is going to have to have a second surgery under general anesthesia to remove it. This has been a nightmare. This product should not extrude/ break apart as easily as it does.

  24. Korey June 3, 2013 at 12:42 PM #

    I had the same thing happen to me when I was 12. I went to the doctor flushing it with water did nothing I.e waterproof. Finally went to a specialist had to get a microscope and robotic tweezers got it out. I am 24 and still do not hear the same out of my right ear. Do not have to wear glasses anymore though so I guess that myth about senses make up for lack of another is true. =/

  25. Belle July 8, 2013 at 7:58 AM #

    In the same boat right now! I actually went to sleep with the plugs in my ear ( not canal) as hubby snores, woke up, popped them out and realized- oh no! Hearing in right ear impaired and some of the gunk was wedged in my ear canal- went to A&E- they tried it all, unsuccessful, went to ENT- they tried unsuccessful- It’s now sitting on my ear drum! It’s bloody agony and I have to go under on Friday so they can remove it while I’m out. Absolute nightmare stuff and I will NEVER put anything in my ears again!! X

  26. Vebecka December 9, 2014 at 7:16 PM #

    Crazy!! I went to my primary for a routine physical my Dr. said I had something white inside my ear. He poked around but he could not see it well enough so he sent me to an Ent. I went in today expecting the worst. Low and behold it was a wax ear plug a huge piece!! I was stunned. I am 32 and I have not used those since I was a kid. As I look back I remember the summer I spent working at a camp wear I wore them often. When I left camp I could not hear very well I thought I just had allot of water in it. My hearing in my right ear was very bad for about 3 years, I always told people I was deaf in my right ear. This is so crazy one day I could hear fine again. It must have shifted through the years but never bothered me other than the 3 years.! Now as I look back I should have gone to the Dr. but I was a Teen, young adult I was too busy to care. I will never let my son use them!! It was horrible they had to hold me down and I was screaming!!

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