I am 40 years and overall in very good health. Had frequent ear infections during childhood leaving a lot of scarring. Ruptured right eardrum about 10 years ago that left me with a nonhealing pinpoint hole that was being monitored.
About 4-5 years ago I started having frequent sinus problems. It was bothering enough so that I went and saw a PA-C who put me on an antibiotic treatment. This helped but I had the same problem in a short period of time and after 2 or three visits and antibiotics, they did a CT-scan as I was now diagnosed with chronic sinusitis. The CT-scan did not show any major sinus problems, possible mild chronic sinusitis. Due to the frequency that I was having sinus problems and a pressure feeling behind my ears with ruptured eardrum (for many years), I was sent to an ENT specialist. The ENT Specialist was not impressed by my sinus problem and stated it was mild and not serious. He looked at my ears, which he said the right side had a hole that was a little bigger than pinpoint size( not much change from over the years) that he said I may want to get fixed sometime in the future. He did a hearing test which showed mild hearing loss. He did not think that the pressure behind the ears was related to any sinus or ear problems but due to musculoskeletal problem and wanted to put me on an ativan prescription which I did not fill. An allergy test revealed no allergies.
A year ago, I had another ruptured eardrum, this time to the left side. I came down with what I felt was another sinus infection, green thick drainage, pressure to forehead, congestion, pressure to my left ear followed by a clear drainage that was blood tinged then relief of ear pressure. After a week with home remedies, I went to the DR. After examining me, he said I have over half of my right eardrum gone and that I had a good sized hole to my left one.
He repeated the CT-scan and put me on a heavier dose of antibiotics then sent me to another ENT specialist. This specialist again, said that my CT-scan was not showing any serious sinus problems that my left eardrum had no hole in it but did have scarring and what looked like a thin new growth covering the hole. He said the hole to my right eardrum was large, but that unless I was doing any water sports or getting lots of water in my ear I was fine and no further treatment was needed. He did a hearing test (with very old equipment) and said my hearing was fine.
Since then, I have done some research myself and found out that I don't meet the criteria for chronic sinus infections. My symptoms, although a problem have never been severe nor lasted as long as they do for those suffering chronic sinus infections. I have never had such a bad infection that IV antibiotics had to be used.
I have learned that gastric reflux can irritate your sinuses. I am wondering if this isn't part of my problem as I do have mid epigastric pain, frequent waves of nausea and very occasional reflux. I'm taking prilosec for this, and have elevated the head of the bed 3-4 inches.
Here's my dilema- this winter, my sinus problem is back and after 2 rounds of antibiotics and only some relief, I am still walking around with lightheadedness, nasal drainage that is only slightly green but mostly clear and thick, pressure behind my ears, popping in my ears more so to the left, itchy ears, sometimes feeling like I'm in a barrel when people are talking to me, or that's what things sound like. I have decreased energy, always feeling like I'm just a bit under the weather. I don't feel clear headed and my neck feels tight, and messages feel good but no relief. Things that i've tried that normally relax me and get rid of tension to my neck, don't make a difference.
Research regarding surgically fixing my eardrum tells me that It may be temporary and unless you fix the cause in the first place the eardrum may just rupture again. Sinus infections can affect your ears due to drainage problem in the eustachian tube. I am wondering if this is the cause of my ear problem.
Anyone have any ideas or advise?? I sure could use some and sure would like to feel normal and full of energy like I use to.
You poor thing! I feel obligated to respond to your post, because it sounds SO SIMILAR to what I've experienced - you would not believe it. I am BRAND NEW to this site; and so I don't know for certain what we can and cannot say, hopefully I'm okay.
There is so much to say because my story goes back 13 years; but I certainly am not about to write a book here. What I will write is that, like you, my dx was 'allergies', when indeed it turned out to be a bad doc delaying much needed antibiotics 3-weeks, that and not testing my ear pressure so he'd know (even when I went for help in the Emergency Room - another story - he interveined (sp.?)) I was in danger and needed help!
I went 3 weeks (1997) w/o meds and a lot of tears. I was 35 years old. I saw MANY, MANY docs; and despite going to THE BEST, I have to tell you, it was not until I went in for 'a simple surgery' to repair a 90% hearing loss (thankfully one ear only) that A WONDERFUL SURGEON discovered I had a Cholesteotoma (growing on my facial nerve and literally/potentially killing me!). Look up that awful word! My 'simple 2 hour surgery', well that turned out to be 5 hours; and ALL of which was spent on removing the Cholesteotoma. The 'benign tumor' was caused by a collapsed eardrum, starting back about a year earlier. The surgery became one of two, the second was to restore hearing.
What I had; and what I fear you probably do as well (hate to say) was a chronic mastoid infection. I ended up having a mastoidectomy, a tympanoplasty, both at a later date. I want you to know; and I am being 100% upfront with you (and NOT trying to frighten you; but our stories are so similar), NOTHING showed up prior to surgery - not in an MRI, not in CTs; and not even in a Nuclear Body Scan, ordered because I had ONGOING symptoms and infection for one full year prior to 1st surgery 1998. I DID GO to one of the VERY BEST ENTs and he did a WONDERFUL job on my 1st surgery. My second surgery, for reasons having NOTHING to do with him, was performed ALSO by a WONDERFUL doctor; but at a different hospital/different state.
I can tell you (it is amazing how clearly I remember this all still today, because it altered my life in an awful way!) that the symptoms I had, other than infections, included my face feeling like it would go to sleep (like a foot). I felt a clog in my ear. Mostly I felt tired; and intuitively I knew something was wrong - again, despite MANY doctors telling me it was 'nothing' other than allergy and (now) hearing bones needing restoration.
Today, 13 years later, believe it or not, I have an infection! I do have 75% of my hearing back. While I look totally normal, I am not. I take about 600 mg. Tegretol daily, this is for my Trigeminal Neuralgia. I cannot swim as I once did; and I wear a DAILY silicone ear plug when I shower (ear remained perforated, not easy to fix). I used to LOVE to dance. Today, I have horrible balance. Most days I am okay, as far as the balance; but there have been days I look like a drunk; and it IS NOT humerous to me.
I am saddened that this happened to me. I am saddened that you are going through this as well! I was not able to sue. It DID happen due to a doctor wanting his share of a 'cash benefit' by keeping patients out of the ER (HMO Plan, Penn., he had say as to WHO ACTUALLY could be seen; later found out he violated my federal rights!). I know this because my sister runs her husband's med. practice in VA; and she told me - HMO docs in 1998 got perks for not sending people to the ER! I DID leave the ER in tears, I was single; had nobody to 'fight for me'; and wasn't physically up for it. Also, I guess by that point I was starting to believe the Quack.
Well, please feel free to write me; I am more than happy to talk to you.
I wish you the best and as your letter was written a few months ago, I do hope you are on the mend!!!