Wind forward ten years and I was on holiday. Coming out of the swimming pool one day the water did not clear from my ears. Couldn't shift it. Suffering quite horrid pain on the aeroplane home and the pressurised cabin I made a doctor's appointment, expecting antibiotics again would be necessary. This time I was told there was no infection or blockage but that a pressure imbalance was the likely cause. I was given a nasal decongestant to use which worked. From time to time thereafter, when my ears felt blocked, I used the decongestant and it helped.
Two years ago I had a recurrence and the nose spray made no difference. This time the triage nurse told me my ears were waxed up and I needed to use oil for a month then get them syringed. It took a few years for the patriarchal DNA to catch up with me but Dad I got there eventually.
Since before Christmas my ears have felt blocked and I have been tipping oil into them ready for a syringing appointment this week. On attending I was told that both ears were clear and I probably had some fluid at the back as the legacy of a cold virus (which I have had since early December). 'Lay off the oil for a few days' was the advice.
So I'm back on the decongestant which seems to be working now I replaced the one that was best before 2009.
Self-diagnosis is over-rated. But going to the doctors for minor matters makes me feel guilty.