Astonishing free SQ upgrade.

Incredible new detail and high frequency resolution is washing over me. Seriously. I am chuckling to myself as I listen. My system is sounding really quite different and definitely for the better. Since I had my ears syringed this morning. SQ doesn't start at the mains but with your ear canals. Get 'em checked. I didn't realise I had a problem until a week ago when they started ringing. It's now clear that I've been missing a huge chunk of SQ for months - owing to wax! Also not a good condition in which to be doing any expensive kit evaluation.. 

Original Post

Yes, sorry it's not a piece of tech but there's no 'medical' section to the forum. Seriously though, I wonder how many folks are fiddling, twiddling and spending huge sums not realising their upgrade path might be much more productive if it began inside their canals?!


Sorry to be so trite, but I couldn't resist. I too have heard the benefits of getting your ears syringed at the docs. However this should only be done by a doctor or nurse and only when it is required. 

Excellent, Nigel!

Indeed, I'd hate to think of hundreds of forumites blowing warm water into their ears through a rubber tube nipped off the washing machine and perforating their ear drums. I was told that once it's been done there is a likelihood it will need to be done again. In the last 10 years mine have been checked and flushed 3 times. You just don't notice the drop off in high frequencies and then find yourself laughing, stupidly, when you can hear them again. Regular drops of olive oil at night are meant to keep things clear; downside is  when SWMBO leans across the bed in a rare moment of passion and one smells like a chip shop. Rather kills the moment. 

I had a lot of ear infections as a kid and am prone to wax build up these days. I was told by the nurse who last cleaned them that I also have narrow ear canals and they tend to need clearing every couple of years.

For those who have not had their ears syringed before, if you suspect a build up of wax, always get a doctor or GP nurse to check them. If they are blocked you will need to dose them with olive oil for several days to soften the wax before a GP or nurse will attempt to clear them.

I have to say that newly cleared ear canals are a real joy for an audiophile. The first thing you notice is a loud and detailed jangling of car keys as you put the keys into the ignition when leaving the docs. High frequencies are the fist thing you notice. Unfortunately your brain soon compensates for the new found hearing and things soon settle down to a more balanced sound.

Mood - indeed. I do wonder, sometimes, whether those moments my system sounds magnificent are in no small way because I'm high on Life - usually when I've got the place to myself. I was inclined to take this all existential until Adam's contribution brought me back to fragrant earth. 

nigelb posted:


Sorry to be so trite, but I couldn't resist. I too have heard the benefits of getting your ears syringed at the docs. However this should only be done by a doctor or nurse and only when it is required. 

Indeed - Mrs SinS, a nurse, keeps warning me of the dangers of ear syringing, and best used as an absolute last resort if other methods can't gently clean them.  Ironically listening to music at too higher level will encourage your ears to produce larger amounts of protective wax.. apparently


eagle3333 posted:

I did that to my sister aged 11. Tossed the cricket ball very high to give her a sporting chance as she walked away from me. Came down plumb on her head. Explains a lot. About us both..

Adam - from whence doth thee find these?

That happened to a boy at my school. He ended up in a coma from which he never recovered. 

Very unfortunate HH and I'm relieved that didn't happen to my sister. Children aren't always equipped to contemplate the consequences of their actions. I also stuck a hosepipe in my father's petrol tank when washing the car. Not because I thought it would do any harm; just because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I learned much as my childhood progressed.

Yes, Huge, syringing is indeed a last resort and I would be far happier not needing it. The first time it was done was with a low-tech, huge syringe which, I believe, damaged my right ear. Today, the equipment used is excellent and, in qualified hands, safe and effective. It just leaves one with a propensity to require it to be done again in future. I'll be trying olive oil drops once or twice a week to see if it helps lengthen the gaps. 

One side effect of getting older is the sprouting of hair from unusual places.   I need to go very carefully with tweezers to pluck out little hairs growing on the outer ears Tragus and Intertragic Notch.  Sometimes you can observe older gentlemen with very impressive bush clusters.  Can't be good for any frequencies, although good for keeping out cold winds.

It is a little known fact that unnecessary ear syringing is used as a form of child punishment in the Far East. Only used of course on the naughtiest of children.


I fear this thread is destined for the wilderness that is the Padded Cell.

Chatted about this thread to my wife, who was a Practice Nurse for the last 15 years of her nursing career. Her 'specialist' subjects were cardio-vascular and audiology. She turned away well over 50% of patients demanding ear syringing, telling them to come back after 2 weeks of applying gently warmed olive oil (first pressing, of course!) at night. Of those who followed her instructions, only about 10% needed mechanical intervention, the olive oil sorted out the rest.

Some of her patients were not very happy about failing to receive an instant solution, despite having the risks of damage to the eardrum (admittedly quite low) explained to them. Yet another example of the trend in today's society of expecting instant 'sorting' without putting in any effort.

I've never asked for my ears to be syringed and no practise nurse/doc' has ever warned/explained that to do so could damage my eardrum. (I worked that out for myself, though. I was terrified at the prospect.) I've always been treated the same across 3 different surgeries - pitch-up with earache or tinnitus; diagnosed with wax blockages; told to use olive oil drops for a week and come back for syringing. My experience has been that syringing is treated as standard practise. But, the nurse at my new surgery did say that using drops for another week or two should shift the residual she couldn't budge in one ear. Previously I'd been told that once I'd had to have ears syringed, I'd probably have to have it repeated thereafter. But this nurse recommended that a few olive oil drops once a week could keep my ears clear. I shall be religiously sticking to this, in hope.

It would be fascinating to know how many of us are listening to our systems not realising (because it's entirely possible to have no inkling) that we're missing 20% of the detail owing to wax build-up. Further, that buying/selling/twiddling decisions are being made in that condition. As a pro photographer, I have to optimise my vision. As passionate hifi enthusiasts, it really might be worth getting ones ears checked the next time one is in the surgery, just in case improvements to ones own auditory capabilities can be made?

TOBYJUG posted:

It could be worth asking what was in the syringe.   Might be an opportunity to upgrade to the expensive audiophile ear liquids with ionised nano particles.

I hear (sorry) the latest audiophile ear liquid has DR enhancement technology, that is Deafness Reduction. A great improvement on the standard stuff I believe. The alternative is to put warm Snake Oil in your ears once a week, but that so yesterday.

We jest, but could there be something in this?

PS - Still amazed this thread is still on Hi-Fi Corner, thought it would be shunted to the Padded Cell ages ago!

eagle3333 posted:

Yeeeesh I can feel that! Thats what I had years ago first time round. Doctor's name was something like Mengele and he had a funny accent.

Me too. It sounded and felt like the entire Zambezi was being flushed through yer lugs! The doc who attended to my ears that day was very old and seemed to delight in the opportunity to whip out his gigantic syringe (if you will pardon the expression). Things are far more safe and sophisticated these days but possibly less effective! At least today you leave the surgery with your ear drums in one piece.

A serious note to wrap this one up for anyone following. My nurse was clearly ex-SS. She blasted my poor lugs for longer than anyone in the past and it was not pleasant. She actually tried to physically wipe the grimace off my face whilst continuing to hose, saying 'don't do that, it shouldn't hurt'.. I thought I'd got away with it, but the day after posting here I developed terrible tinnitus. I thought it was the end of one of my greatest passion because I couldn't listen to any music without it getting worse, dreadful earache etc.. After several doc visits I saw an ENT consultant surgeon last week. He tested my hearing and has classified me related to bats. I have better hearing than most 20 yr olds, apparently. The tinnitus has improved a little. He said my ears have been traumatised but he feels they will return to their normal state eventually. But that it may take several months. 

He told me no more syringing for me but that they will, if and when necessary, use suction to pull out the wax - after liberal use of olive oil etc..

So, as some here did warn, don't go into ear syringing lightly; only as a last resort. The nurse shouldn't keep the jet going for more than a few seconds at a time. If it hurts tell her to stop; I didn't want to appear a wuss. But I'd rather be a wuss than suffer 24/7 high pitch needles in ears and head and constant headaches. And ask about suction - not all offer it but, for me, it's worth going private if necessary. 

Blimey, I hope I warned sufficiently about the dangers of ear syringing and I hope your inner ears recover soon Eagle. Thank goodness your hearing does not seem to be permanently damaged in any way.

Sounds like the nurse that did your ears needs some (re)training.

My understanding is that regular use of olive oil or the commercial ear treatments should obviate the need for syringing for most. And hopefully it goes without saying always consult your doctor if you have concerns about wax build up.

Thanks Nigel. It's been a pretty terrifying 6 weeks. Yes, retraining must be in order and I shall write such to the surgery. Fingers well and truly crossed that normality does return before too long. Meantime, I'll be using a couple of drops once a week as recommended by the ENT man. 

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