Ear We Go Again

It has been three weeks now since I wrote Aches On A Plane the account of my harrowing flight home to Northern Ireland from a business trip in England. To those of you fortunate enough to have erased it from your minds I apologise in advance. For I am going to talk again about the harrowing saga that is my left ear.


It remains blocked. As in muffled. As in somebody has stuffed it full of cotton wool. As in ‘Sorry what was that you said?’. I have tried decongestant nasal sprays, ear wax removal sprays and two courses of antibiotics. All to no avail. It still sounds the same as when you pick up a seashell at the beach and listen to it. I have even tried prayer. Yes I’m that desperate. 

I thought the blocked ear was part of this mutant alien virus I have been struggling with for the past month. I have not helped matters by running when I shouldn’t have but, slowly oh so slowly, the symptoms had been easing. The dull headache had gone, the tiredness and heaviness waslifting and I only cough now when somebody mentions coughing. Coughs.

I have decided I am not running again until I am totally better. Otherwise this bug will never clear up. This then triggers all sorts of other Stephen madness. Am I putting on weight? A little probably but so what? Will I ever get my fitness back? Yes of course you will? If I eat badly today does that mean I have to eat badly tomorrow in order to placate the OCD voice in my head insisting that I comply with the ‘even number’ rule. This only applies to eating. Other compulsions involve ‘odd number’ rules. Which of course makes perfect sense.

I have written about the (not my) OCD a little in previous posts. At its peak it raged unabated but I largely have it under control now thanks to prayer, medication and a very understanding wife who talks me through a lot of brain baloney when I am having a bad day. I never say this enough but thank you Fionnuala for keeping me sane and off ‘the roundabout’.

When I started the second course of antibiotics, however, my doctor said I had to stop taking the OCD medication until I had completed the course. Tbe two did not mix well apparently. Well my brain does not mix well with life either when I am not taking my little white pills. So while I thought I was managing fine without it, Fionnuala had noticed me slipping in a few areas that needed nipped in the bud. This involved a short, sharp shock on Saturday evening after one such episode.

I pray that I am back on track this week. But just as my actual hearing has been muffled of late, so has my spiritual hearing. I have blocked out the wise counsel of Fionnuala and others, convinced that ‘Stephen knows best’. I have neglected my prayer and study regime, allowing the small, still voice of God to be drowned out by an earthly cacophony. I have allowed the Enemy inside my head where he has gleefully taken up residence.

It is time for him to leave. This blog is part of that process. ‘Satan you have been evicted from the Big Stephen house. Please leave immediately.’ I need light and truth to course through my brain, living waters to cleanse my ears and rid me of the lies and tricks that are so desperate to set up shop between my ears. I need to remove any barriers between God and myself. I need Jesus and only Jesus.

Writing this had helped me spiritually. I need to write out my thought processes in order to make sense of them. And yesterday I found that tilting my head slightly seems to dislodge something in the ear and allow the air pressure to stabilise and the hearing to return. It could be wax loosened by tbe ear spray. Or it could be the antibiotics finally kicking in.

Either way slightly realigning the position of my head is making a massive difference. Just like slightly realigning my thinking and priorities since Saturday has made a massive difference to my mental health and the relationships which truly matter. This slight realignment, this tiny tweak of the ‘God Radar’ is sometimes all you need to dislodge the selfish and deluded worldly patterns that lead us off the straight path.

Listen. Learn. Get off the roundabout and reposition your life. 

Matthew 15:10 – ‘After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them ‘Hear and Understand.’

Dedicated to Fionnuala xxx 

Have you any remedies for muffled hearing?

How do you keep your communication pathways with God clear?

21 thoughts on “Ear We Go Again

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  1. I feel the same: that a small shift in perspective can often help us hear from God so much better and help us dislodge the enemy from our minds. I’m praying for dislodging and hearing from God every day.

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  2. I don’t have any remedies for muffled hearing, unfortunately, but I can certainly empathize with what you’re going through. I’m almost totally deaf in my left ear. The doctors tell me I can hear a jet engine if I’m directly underneath it, but that would be bad for my hearing right ear, so I haven’t tried it. I hope you get feeling better soon!

    By the way, I was recently nominated for the Liebster Award and am looking to return the favor to other bloggers like me that have awesome blogs and fewer than 200 followers, so I have to ask, how many followers do you have? Because I’d love to nominate you guys. You’re amazing!

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  3. Sorry to hear of your struggles both physically and spiritually. I find that my spiritual awareness (hearing, sight, obedience) is improved with fasting and that thoughts of food consume a large portion of our time from birth onward. The book, FASTING, by Jentezen Franklin that I fund while clearing my late mother’s belongings has been a great blessing in the meaning and manner of fasting in service to My Lord. I pray for your recovery and total healing. Love your writings!!

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  4. Hey you should get that ear checked out at an ENT. I’m not trying to make you feel worse or anything but being blocked for so long despite you trying the regular go-to solutions could mean something else/more? Yeah, this is coming from someone who’s dizzy 24/7 with ringing and blocked ears + vertigo (!!!) so i’m quite covered in ear problems. Just a suggestion! Of course, if the ‘wool’ pops out one fine day then great! Take care, xo

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    1. I agree with these suggestions. I experienced something similar – turns out that I had a severe ear infection, and also have a condition known as vestibular migraine. I ended up seeing an ENT and a neurotologist. My ears are better now, but it took multiple rounds of antibiotics and some other medicine in order to finally get to a place where I was feeling better. I still have trouble on airplanes, so I try not to fly all that much. I’ll be praying for you, Stephen!

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      1. I have vestibular migraine too with daily vertigo. Im seeing an ENT now and trying out some medication along with vestibular rehab. I’m dizzy all the time and it’s been 3 years. Debilitating. Couldn’t work anymore etc. I’m just stuck at home all the time.

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        1. Faith, I’m so sorry to hear about this! I will be sure to keep you in prayer. I most definitely can empathize with the vestibular migraines and dizziness – it really can be quite debilitating. 😦

          I found that I also have to keep an eye on my allergies/sinuses, as well as my contact lens prescription. I found that if the prescription is off, then I start to experience lightheadedness and dizziness. I also have to limit what it is I can do from a physical perspective as well.

          Hang in there, my friend! May you experience the peace of the Lord during this challenging time.

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        1. I’m glad to hear that you are feeling some better. I hope you’re able to take one day at a time, and not try to do too much too soon (I’m guilty of doing that all the time – I get a burst of energy, do too much, and then wear myself out. Don’t be like me!).

          Hang in there! I hope you feel better soon.

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  5. Have you ever heard of an ear candle? It is terrifying and I do not even know if it is medically approved, but it is very effective. It will dislodge and remove a massive amount of ear wax. I was there when my friend did it. You should research it. This is not a recommendation, only a testament to the reality of its effectiveness. The best way for me to keep my paths with God clear is to contextualize myself in creation and relationship to Him. When I articulate in prayer my utter need, utter unworthiness, and extreme gratitude the channels begin to open. Also, in Northern Ireland, what Big Brother are you watching?

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  6. Wishing you better, I sympathise as my ears are so sensitive. Look after yourself and I hope the second course works.

    I highly recommend a salt water gargle, hot and salty, and eye drops! – I tend to hit the ENT area hard to ensure all passages are well lubricated. I’ve thought it was teeth when it was ears then nasal infection but no, ears again, also had a ‘face ache’ when thought I had flu but no, ears again! Salt water is the thing I do first each time.

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  7. Peace be still with you. Sometimes we can caught up in our life, and ourselves, the focus on Christ dwindles. Especially in times of stress and crisis. Sometimes we aren’t fully aware of it till God brings us back to our knees.

    I highly suggest watching the Christian movie, “War Room.” It is really good for couples, families, and individuals, so yeah everyone haha. It brings the light the powerful focus on prayer. I’m not saying if you pray hard enough the problem will go away, God may grant it or He may not. He may use another method to help you. But it always draws us closer to Him, and prayer is our way of fighting back. As you wrote about, prayer is our refuge in Christ. It isn’t about God answering us, rather us listening to Him. But I do sincerely hope and pray for you a quick recovery, and encouragement to keep going forward.

    You may not be able to run right now, but you are most certainly still in a race for your heart and walk with Christ. : )

    Praise God for encouraging wives! Peace and blessings be upon you, your wife, and your children.

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      1. I saw the movie a couple years ago. I need to rewatch it. Prayer is something I want to be consistent in, and devote more time to Him. I have a ways to go. I’ll pray for you too! May God’s hand be upon you.

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