For a few months now I've had this problem with my left ear. It doesn't hurt, and I can hear fine, but when I do something like yawn or swallow, my right ear pops normally, but my left one doesn't and I hear a crinkly noise like a plastic bag.
It's starting to annoy me, and I was wondering if anyone has any idea what it might be?
I went to my campus doctor, and she looked in my ear and said it looked normal, but it might be a eustacean tube thing and I should get it checked out.
I'm only 20, and I think this might have been caused by scuba diving last fall...
I went to an ENT specialist for this recently. It started 6 months ago, and when I went to my regular doctor, he gave me 3 days worth of steroids to take down inflammation and painkillers so I could fly more comfortably. The specialist confirmed what I had self-diagnosed: Eustacian Tube Dysfunction. He said that surgery (putting "tubes" in the ears) was not always successful, and that there wasn't much else I could do. He did suggest yawning a lot to make them pop, but that just annoys me because all they do is crinkle.
I have also noticed that my ears feel full of fluid a lot. Not oozing anything gross, just maybe that they retain water from showers and swimming... for days. I asked the specialist about that; I don't remember a direct answer. I think it may also be a symptom from the eustacian tubes.
I really don't know how it started. I just noticed it after a cold last summer... thought it was lingering congestion.
My ENT doctor gave me Nasonex and said that the symptoms will get worse with seasonal allergies. He didn't mention any specific problems down the road, just that it may be something I'll have to live with.
It would probably be worth it to go to a specialist if it's bugging you. Maybe you'd get a different answer than me or at least something to help with the symptoms. (I haven't noticed an improvement with the Nasonex, but I miss doses some days, and it's one of those that is supposed to be taken like clockwork).