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tripplec
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Itchy ears

Sun Dec 29, 2019 4:03 pm

Anyone else have problems with constantly itching in their ears? Heres the background. Five years ago when I was still diving at least once a week, my left ear started itching in the cannal close to the ear drum. First doctor said swimmers ear and gave me a prescription. Three months later my regular doc said there was no sign of any irritation but gave me some ear drops that had hydrocortisone. Year or two later a different physician sugested just using cortisone creame. My ears(both now) have been examined several times with no sign of infection or irritation. Feels like ear hair rubbing against the cannal and ear drum, but every physician says this is not the case. Cortisone works, but can't imagine its meant to be used like hand lotion.

swimjim
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Re: Itchy ears

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:11 pm

I make ear beer and use it regularly. Rubbing alcohol, glycerin and vinegar. If I'm diving in clear fresh water, I don't worry too much. But if I'm diving in a harbor or anyplace the water is a little sketchy I put in a few drops after the dive. Works good!

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tripplec
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Re: Itchy ears

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:19 pm

My ears itch all the time even if haven't dove all month.

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tripplec
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Re: Itchy ears

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:21 pm

Mineral oil, a suggestion from one of the doctors that thought dry skin, helps a little.

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SurfLung
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Re: Itchy ears

Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:49 am

- I get that itchy ear periodically. It used to precede an ear infection... Which was caused by me sticking a Q-tip in there and scratching the itch. The doctor called it "Q-tip ear". Since then, Sea Hunt Jerry told me about the ear drops recipe developed by the Sea Lab project... It's a 2% Acetic Acid mix that includes Aluminum-something as a drier. Its actually available commercially by prescription. The principle goes like this. Submersion causes the protective ear wax to soften and crack... allowing germs that are already in your ear to break through and start an infection. So, you put these Sea Lab drops in your ear BEFORE you dive and let them set for 5 minutes to kill the germs. Then, after your dive, you put the drops in again, let them set for 5 minutes to kill germs. And, you shouldn't get any infections.

I asked my doctor to prescribe it for me and what I got was a fairly big bottle with the label "2% Acetic Otic Solution" and it includes glycerin. Jerry says this isn't the exact Sea Lab stuff, but I've got it so I use it. ANYWAY... When my ear canals feel itchy, even when I haven't been diving, I put these drops in and let them set for 5 minutes. The itching stops. Maybe it kills an infection before it starts. Maybe the glycerin soothes and/or repairs the the protective ear wax coating. Maybe it will work for you, I hope.

BTW - 2% is essentially diluted Vinegar. I think it gives the concentration between 4-8% on the label of table vinegar. Records show that vinegar has been used as a healing agent as far back as Egyptian Pharoahs.
SurfLung
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tripplec
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Re: Itchy ears

Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:06 pm

Good to know

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antique diver
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Re: Itchy ears

Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:52 am

In my experience the outer ear maladies don't always respond quickly to the antibiotics sometimes prescribed by physicians. "Swimmers Ear" symptoms can be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, any of which can linger in wait of an opportunity to harass you and crop up even if you haven't been diving for a while. I'm not sure the fungal stuff even responds to antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, etc., but it does not like acidic mixtures.

I have had great luck for 40+ years with the 2 percent acetic acid and oil mixes available by prescription as mentioned by Eben. Vosol Otic comes to mind but there are various generic options with same basic content. I always keep some around, and never travel to diving destinations without it. At the first notice of symptoms I start applying it and if caught in time usually have relief in a day or two. I noticed that over-use of the acidic solution may also cause some irritation so don't overdo it when it's not needed.

After dives I use the old standby for ear maintenance and prevention of otitis externa, a mixture of alcohol, vinegar and slight bit of glycerin. If you don't like the smell, boric acid seems to work instead of the vinegar.
The older I get the better I was.

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tripplec
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Re: Itchy ears

Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:59 pm

Some of the dive shops here liked to use 50/50 mix of peroxife and water. Would peroxide have the same affect as vinegar?

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tripplec
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Re: Itchy ears

Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:00 pm

What do you guys mix the vinegar and rubbing alcohol to?

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antique diver
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Re: Itchy ears

Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:38 pm

tripplec wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:00 pm
What do you guys mix the vinegar and rubbing alcohol to?

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I really don't measure it well, and it seems to work ok for me at anywhere between 10 and 20% of household 5% white vinegar. I seldom use any glycerin just because of not always having it on hand, and I hate the feel of it on my hands. A couple of drops per ounce of mix is probably enough to help, but if you put too much it gets sorta messy running down your neck later, I'm sure someone has a better formula for the mix, but using my eye-balled estimate mix after every dive or two seems to be ok for me.

On a multi-day dive trip I generally put a drop of Vosol Otic RX in every two or three nights for an extra kick of protection. I don't ever go on a dive trip without taking along that magic elixir. If I don't need it someone on the trip is likely to, and it can save a lot of sore ears and missed dives. (OK, no advice necessary about not sharing Prescriptions!)
The older I get the better I was.

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tripplec
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Re: Itchy ears

Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:48 pm

So Ive been on a dive trip all week. Couple days ago my ears just to itching more than I could bear. I got to thinking, looked at my contac cleaning solution ingredients, and saw it has a number of disinfectants. Including boric acid. Well if its safe fore eyes.... Used that for a couple days once in morning and once at night. My ears feel great, but I think I'll mix up some of your ear butter vinegar for in the future.

h2operations
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Re: Itchy ears

Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:00 pm

The ears are a funny piece of machinery. Cotton Swabs cause more ear injuries that one can imagine.
There are several concoctions that will work to get the same results. Most have to have a acidic base to them to kill the bacteria. The most important thing to remember is to flush with clean water and have them dry.
On another note I was give a recipe by and old frog instructor in the days of my youth. We used it in less than optimal conditions and I still use it to this day. 40% hydrogen peroxide 40% isopropyl alcohol and 20% distilled water. We mixed it into squirt bottles ( picnic Ketchup type) *** WARNING we shot it in our ears and up our noses. It burns going up the nose.**** Rinsing with fresh water afterwards. This is not a recommendation or advise just a sample of other options used by other individuals.

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Nemrod
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Re: Itchy ears

Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:48 pm

I swim up to five miles week, in the winter, maybe more. I occasionally get an ear infection of the outer canal once or so a year. I just make sure to use isopropyl alcohol after a shower/bath and after swimming. And yes with a cotton swab. After 60 years of lap swimming, I am pretty good at not stabbing my eardrum. James

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