Ear problems

Hi everyone, Just looking for a bit of advice please. I woke up on Sunday morning with what only I can describe as a blocked ear. My hearing is very muffled and after using ear drops for wax, I haven’t found any relief. Last night i had a short bout of vertigo which is an old symptom of mine but I understand it is common also in ear problems. I’ve spoken to my ms nurse and she isn’t sure if it is a relapse and my GP seems to think it is a wax build up. I am now using olive oil drops instead hoping that this will help the problem. Has anyone had a relapse which affected their ears and if so how? Thanks in advance Mini x

Hi Mini,

I got the right runaround with this, a couple of years ago. In my case, it was - as I’d always suspected - just wax, and I thought I probably needed my ear syringed, but TWO nurses at the NHS drop-in centre wouldn’t touch it, because I was dumb enough to admit I had MS, so they wanted to refer me to my neuro. Which would have been 12 weeks wait, still deaf, and I’m sure he’d have been delighted (NOT!) to receive a patient with earwax!

I was desperate, as I was going away for the weekend, to a 25-year college reunion. Not much fun if you’re stone deaf in one ear - how are you going to exchange all the jokes and stories?

So I managed to book an emergency appt. with the doctor, explained what had happened at the drop-in, and she took one look, rolled her eyes, and said she could see an enormous plug of wax in there! (I don’t know why two nurses at the drop-in had both claimed they couldn’t).

Due to the division of labour these days, GPs consider it beneath them to do an ear syringing (I’m sure they used to), so she looked to see if there was an available appointment with the practice nurse - which there wasn’t - or not 'til after the reunion, anyway. Fat lot of good!

So I went to Boots, bought the kit, and did it myself. I wasn’t very good at it at first, and it took a few goes to get it right. But on the morning I was due to set off for the reunion, I had one last, desperate try, and hey presto, a load of wax came out, and hearing miraculously restored. If I’d gone along with what the drop-in centre wanted, I’d have spent 12 weeks deaf, waiting to see a neuro.

It’s put me off using a drop-in centre ever again, because if they can’t diagnose and treat a simple case of earwax, without wanting it referred to a consultant, what are they good for?

Yes, I do know that in rare cases, a relapse CAN cause deafness, so I can’t absolutely rule that out in your case. I also know that even a minor procedure like ear syringing is not without risk, if you decide to accept the responsibility, and try it at home. I only know it worked for me, and I managed to fix the problem without having to depend on the NHS.

If I ever went deaf again, I’d certainly give it a go, before trotting off to the doctor’s.

They do recommend you soften the wax with olive oil for a few days first, to make the syringing more productive, but if you’ve already been doing that, shouldn’t be an issue. Also you can get specialist fizzing stuff that’s a lot more effective than olive oil at loosening the stuff. It might be Otex I used, which is the best known one, but ask at the chemist, as I’m not positive it’s that. It’s one that bubbles and hisses, and sounds really quite alarming, but you can actually feel the wax loosening.


Hi Tina Thanks for your reply. I’m sure it is wax myself so if the olive oil doesn’t work soon im gonna try GP again and hopefully get my ear syringed if needed. Like you say, using the olive oil won’t be a waste of time after all if I do need it syringed. I’m glad you got yours sorted before your reunion what a pain it is! Like we haven’t got enough to put up with as it is! Take care Mini x

I know what you mean!

I think I’m too honest for my own good, sometimes. If I’d just shut up about the MS, I probably could have got it sorted at the drop-in centre.

But it’s almost like a form of discrimination, because as soon as you mention you’ve got it, it sends everyone into a blind panic, and commonsense flies out the window: “Ooooh no, we couldn’t possibly touch that! It might be neurological!”

“Yeah, and it might be just earwax - please could somebody at least try?”

“Oooh, noooo: we could refer you to a neurologist, would you like us to do that for you?”

“No thanks.”

I suppose it’s partly the compensation culture now, as well. Nobody will risk treating a minor ailment, once they learn the patient has MS, in case they’ve got it wrong.

Hope yours is earwax, just like mine was, and that you don’t get such a load of jobsworths refusing to help you.


i had ear prblems with my ms, it started off feeling blocked,kept putting olive oil in,went to drs they said they couldnt find anything at all wrong,i went totally deaf in that ear for 8 weeks,then the hearing came back,muffled at first,but it went back to normal,mine was a relapse,havent had it since,so yes it might be the ms.

Tina I suppose we are just too precious to be treated by everyday GP’s huh? Or too much trouble more likely! I’m sorry to hear that you had ear troubles due to a relapse jaki, hope this gets sorted out soon! Mini x