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I'm a 22 year old male and I've had ear problems for much of my life (mostly earwax buildup and lots of ear infections when I was younger). I haven't had an ear infection in a very long time, but about 9 months ago (the date is fuzzy, it could be anywhere from 7 to 11 months) I tried using an earwax irrigation kit to get out what I thought was just another blockage of earwax. Well, there was some earwax, but my ear continued to have reduced hearing and it felt like my ear was full, despite the subsequent ear drops not fizzing (indicating there was no earwax left). I figured there was water behind my ear and decided to tough it out and let it go its course. The feeling of fullness never went away. There was no pain, or very little (the initial pain being caused by irritating the eardrum with the water syringe).
About 2 months ago I went to see a nurse about my ear troubles and she diagnosed me with an ear infection and prescribed amoxicillin. I told her I had ear pain, but in hindsight this was likely due to constantly holding my nose and blowing to try to equalize the pressure in my ear that day, so I probably didn't have an ear infection. Furthering my assumptions, the amoxicillin did nothing.
I suppose I didn't see someone earlier because I have constantly battled with ear wax buildup my whole life and my hearing varies from month to month, so the loss of hearing wasn't as profound of a difference from my average state.
My ear is still at the same level of diminished hearing (I can't exactly put a number to it because I can't really remember what good hearing sounds like, but if I had to, I'd say it's at about 50-70%), and there's still no pain.
According to what I've researched, my options are to have the grommet surgery (which I'd really like to avoid, as I'm very anxious about the idea of poking a hole in my eardrum and what consequences it might have), wait it out (which I'm very much losing faith in), or as I've very recently learned, the balloon technique.
At this point, my biggest concern is permanent hearing loss. I've dealt with the hearing impairment for a long time now, and it's nothing but an annoyance, but it can't be good to have this stuff stuck in my ear for many months at a time, and I'm afraid of it causing irreparable damage.
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