I've had a feeling of fullness in both ears for around 5 years now, occompanied by tinnitus, clicking and crackling when swallowing, slighty dizziness and quite a significant hearing loss (which is worse in the morning and last thing at night).
I am a musician, and first thought that my symptoms were caused by exposure to loud noise. However, I always wear earplugs, and now I think about this it seems far more unlikely.
I've been doing something recently, and thought I'd search the internet for my symptoms. I came across a few pages on ETD and glue ear, and thought my symptoms really do match them down to a T.
I've been to the doctors and ENT specialist numerous times in the past, convinced there's something else wrong with me. Of course, I've been telling the doctor that my primary symptom in tinnitus, which (to my experience) sends specialists running for the hills as it's pretty much impossible to cure on it's own.
So I've arranged an appointment with a new ENT specialist at the end of August, as was wondering if anyone has any advice for me on what to say to him. I want to get across to him that I'm pretty certain it's ETD and want something done about it.
It's so important to me to get this problem sorted out, I miss hearing music and the birds sing. I'm fed up with ear pains and the dreaded ringing.
I can't speak to the ETD, it sounds like it is worth persuing though, but I can relate to your symptoms. I went to several ENT appts, a couple Audiologists and to my PCP several times trying to find a problem to my ear problems. My symptoms: a "stuffy" ear that wouldn't pop (hasn't for 17 mos. now), ear pain, tinnitus, and hearing loss found by the Audiology appointments. The ENT and Audiologists couldn't find any physical problems for why I had these problems.
Here is what I eventually found out is probably causing my problems. I have TMJ. Evidently, my condyles (disks in the jaw) have slipped forward and my lower jaw has been pushed back into my ear. The jaw joint is extremely close to the ear. I have no direct jaw pain so I never initially suspected this as a problem for the longest time. There is a good sticky thread on the TMJ board with a list of diagnostic symptoms of TMJ. It is pretty long. A few of the symptoms are:
Jaw and Jaw Joint Problems:
- clicking, popping jaw joints
- grating sounds
- jaw locking opened or closed
- pain in cheek muscles
- uncontrollable jaw or tongue movements
Ear Pain, Ear Problems, and Postural Imbalances:
- hissing, buzzing, ringing, or roaring sounds
- diminished hearing
- ear pain - without infection
- clogged, stuffy, "itchy" ears, feeling of fullness
- balance problems, "vertigo", dizziness, or disequilibrium
It might be worth doing some research on this to see if it fits you. If you do decide to see a specialist, please make sure you find a qualified TMJ dentist. Many dentists will do more harm than good. There are many helpful people on the TMJ board who you could run things by and a list of dentists people have had success with.
I recently started splint treatment to pull my jaw forward, and hopefully allow the disks to go back in place, away from my ear. I'm really really keeping my fingers crossed it is the answers to my problems. My specialist seems to think it will work.
By the way, my ENT did offer ear tubes as an option if I want to see if it helps. I'm waiting to see if the TMJ treatment helps first.
Last edited by MountainReader; 07-29-2010 at 10:10 PM.