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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes ear pain after putting vinegar in the ears?

Hello - I ve had a perforated ear drum in my left ear for about 9 years now. Last April I went on a surfing trip to Indonesia. 14 days of tropical weather and an ear plug led to me getting really bad fungus infections when I returned. I went to an ENT that told me to use clear vinegar to kill the infections and dry out the ears. Didn t work well enough to kill the infections completely and I went to a different ENT that said I needed surgery. In October 2015 I ended up getting a Tympanomastoidectomy to fix the perforation and to also drill out bone spurs. The surgery got rid of the infections but the perforation remained. Fast forward and now I am on a surfing trip in Nicaragua. I want to avoid fungus growing in the back of my ear so I decided to be proactive and drop my ears with vinegar today to kill any fungus before it got out of control. I think that was a mistake - ended up with excruciating pain. Now I am afraid I may have done something bad to the surgically repaired ear. Pain has subsided but I want to be sure I didn t do something that will make my ear drums burst on my flight home or something of that nature. I also would like to have something I can do to make sure I don t get any fungal infections as a result of the tropical climate and ear plugs. Is simply keeping the ear bone dry my best bet? Should I wash it out with something to get the vinegar residue out of there? Today was my first day - here for another 9. I am hoping the vinegar simply evaporates and my ears are fine and dry. Not sure I should look for a local pharmacy for a different solution. Any help would be appreciated - scary being away from my doc with no phone and having flare ups with the ear.
Thu, 4 Jul 2019
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Hell,

You have a history of Tympanomastoidectomy done to fix the perforation. Ideally, after ear infections or ear surgeries, it is risky to enter into swimming pools or sea. Sorry, to say this but you need to know the complications associated with it.

Presently, you are planning for surfing so you are suggested to visit an ENT. Get your ears thoroughly examined. Get the infection & any other pathology fixed.

Neglect may result in complications like tinnitus, dizziness, hearing impairment, vertigo, etc.

Get treated & keep your treating doctor informed before you move ahead.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care

Regards,
Dr Nupur K, General & Family Physician
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