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Old 03-25-2013, 07:53 AM   #1
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clogged ears and so stressesd out

Hi everyone i am new here and it's my first time posting. My problem is with my ears they feel so full of pressure and feel like they need to be popped but no matter what I do I can't pop them. I went to my ent and he said i had problem with my eustachian tube and put me on a nasal spray and some prednisone. About six weeks ago i had a severe ear infection/sinus infection and that's what caused me to have e tube problems. Everything was back to normal in about three weeks and stayed that way for a good two weeks. I recently took a flight out of town and two days after started feeling the pressure slowly coming back, i don't know if it's related to the flight or if it was bound to happen again since my e tube was already giving me problems. Has anyone with eustachian tube dysfunction had these issues of their ears feeling full of pressure and then going away for a while only to return again and so on? Or could this be because of the flight? The thing that makes me.not think it's the flight is because my ears didn't feel pressu till two days after the flight it's just so weir. I m really so stressed out over this and it's making me really depressed since I've never had issues with my ears before. Im just looking for some answers and a little advice from anyone thanks for your time.

 
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:40 PM   #2
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

The recurring pressure happens to me as well and I have had the new Eustachian tube dilation procedure. For whatever reason, they STILL go nuts. The only difference between us is that I can pop them both. It doesn't really even alleviate the feeling of pressure for me. This latest episode has gone on since January. It's at best annoying, at worst depressing like you said. As far as why this pressure is reoccurring, it could just be that your e tubes are now sensitive because of the infection. They might always be sensitive. What you can do to be proactive is check all avenues to see if anything is contributing to their dysfunction. There are many things, most commonly allergies and tmj disorder. I have pretty yucky year round allergies and an only 5 months into allergy shots so I've got a ways to go before I see if ill get relief. It's a 3-5 yr commitment for me. I wish it could work faster. I never even knew I had allergies till I got tested at the advice of an ent. It's worth it to look into. Not everyone who has allergies has a just itchy eyes and an itchy runny nose. Symptoms can manifest in different ways. I'm checking myself out for tmj disorder right now too, I've been having some cheek pain and muscle spasms. I might have BOTH things contributing to the problem. It's annoying because the procedure I had done was supposed to fix this in conjunction with allergy therapy. If you need someone to talk to, there are MANY people on this board dealing with these annoying little tubes.
Jen

 
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:28 PM   #3
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

jen plus 2 thanks so much for responding to me, its nice to know that im not going thru this alone and even though i wish we werent going thru it, i find comfort in someone who can relate with me and knows exactly how i feel. So you said you had e-tube dialation surgery and really didnt help? im confused. Are your ears constantly still full of pressure even after you pop them? I'm considering surgery dont know if that or getting tubes in, I guess i'll discuss that with my ent when i see her again. Which would you recommend? For now im just gonna continue with my nasal spray and prednisone and pray that my ears get back to normal once again. I've only been dealing with these issues for about six weeks and maybe im not giving myself enough time to get thru this idk.As for allergys and tmjd i dont think i have allergys ive never had any my whole life and im 29, can you have them and not know? i was told by a dentist that i had problems with my tmj and requested me get a splint done. Do you think the splint would help my ear issues? Im sorry if im asking too many questions but i just dont know what to do anymore, i try for it not to get me down but i am struggling here and trying to deal with it as best i can. Thanks for listening to me once again hope you feel better too.

 
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:18 PM   #4
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

Mh214-
Wow you and I are close in age- I'm 28. I've been dealing with these stupid e tubes since last January. Got a sinus infection from allergies that I didn't know I had and a cold. My left tube blocked up and stayed that way for 6 months. I tried everything- pred, Flonase, antibiotics, nothing helped. I got desperate and tried a tube in the left ear- end result for me was that it made me feel worse. I got the tube removed. Two months later I found the ent who offered to do my Eustachian tube dilation procedure. I was hysterical at that point, completely desperate. I had the procedure done with local anesthetic in the office. It was no fun. I ended up feeling worse for about 3 wks after the surgery. Then my e tubes started THUMPING open and closed every single time I yawned or swallowed. I literally would suppress every swallow and yawn and avoided eating/drinking because it was so scary. THEN my e tubes started getting stuck OPEN. I could hear my inner body sounds- heartbeat, voice inside my head. I would have the pinch my nose and suck several times to close them up. My ent literally blew me off and said it was all no biggie. I started calling his office daily with concerns about these side effects, but he insisted I shouldn't be having problems. Finally one day he actually decided to look into what was going on because his office called me to let me know I'd need to give it about 6 wks to recover according to the trials and research done by Dr Dennis Poe, who headlined this procedure. The side effects did clear up thank goodness in the time frame allotted, but it was one heck of a scary ride. My symptoms of pressure left for 2 mos, and returned in sept (had the surgery in June last year). This time the ent who did my procedure completely blew me off and told me to seek tmj treatment. I decided to start allergy shots instead. I'd been treating my allergies for months with Zyrtec, but decided it was time to be even more aggressive. The symptoms of pressure gradually subsided, but I have no idea why honestly. Allergy shots take at least 6 mos to be effective, most people need to be doing them for at least a year, so it wasn't the shots. Maybe it was tmjd. I still don't know.
The pressure came back in January. I was eating my morning cereal and something pulled or tugged or SOMETHING weird in my left cheek area and I started feeling pressure again. I got all checked out and nothing was found wrong with my ears, pressures were normal. I ended up getting referred to a neurologist who ordered an MRI for tmjd. The MRI showed minimal results and for whatever reason, the tmj drs I've tried so far don't seem to know much about tmjd because I brought them my MRI disc to look at and they cannot seem to read it. Kinda interesting to me- if you're an expert, you should be able to read the MRI....
Moving on to your questions.

Yes you can have undetected allergies. Like I said, I'm 28 and just found out the extent of my allergies last year. I had intradermal skin testing. It's very accurate. You may want to look into this, especially if your insurance will cover it, as its very useful. If you don't find anything,so what? The point is, what if you do have underlying allergies? Just like your nose, your e tubes are lined with mucosa. Just like your nose, the mucosa can swell in response to allergies, viruses, etc. If the tube is swelling, you'll get that pressure sensation. If you're not up for allergy testing, try an OTC antihistamine like Zyrtec. Keep in mind you must commit to at least a week of trying it for it to build up in your system. If it doesn't improve anything at all, it might not be allergies. Talk to your ent about this though.

As for tmjd. I don't even know for certain if I have it, though 2 tmj drs who couldn't read a tmj MRI (lol) are sure that I do. I've been visiting and posting in the tmjd board here and it seems as though many confirmed tmjd sufferers experience ear pressure. Maybe try visiting the tmj board and browsing. Ear fullness/pressure is listed as a possible tmjd symptom. One poster, MountainReader, has posted with me and told me she had ear pressure for over a year due to tmjd. So it is possible. It's also possible that you have underlying allergies AND tmjd contributing to your ETD. I'm thinking that's what causes my e tubes to go nuts for several months at a time, though I don't know what eventually causes them to stop.

I cannot recommend either ear tubes or a dilation procedure at this point and the main reason is that its only been 6 wks. I know I totally know its miserable and feels like FOREVER but in an ENTs eyes, its too soon to know if it will spontaneously resolve. I'm speaking from experience. I only was able to have the dilation done because I had tried everything else over the course of 6 months. I think you should try minimally invasive things right now, vs really invasive things. You might just heal up again and not need to take things further. Again, this is from experience. And I'm going nuts right now too, but I can't do too much about it because I think I need to just let it self resolve. Is be way too scared to do another dilation. I don't want patulous (stuck open) e tubes.
Some additional thoughts:
Have you had a tympanogram done by an audiologist? This will check your middle ear pressure to see how well your e tubes are ventilating your middle ear. Ask about this at your next ent visit if you haven't had one done already.

What mg dose of prednisone were you on and for how long? Some people's bodies metabolize pred differently and therefore need higher mg doses sustained over longer periods. I experience relief from allergy flare ups that cause me to almost not be able to breathe through my nose with 40 mg everyday for at least 5 days. My husband has colitis and when he has flares he has to take 60 mg for at least 2 WEEKS to get symptom relief. You may not have had your body's maximal therapeutic dose. Pred will knock out inflammation from allergies or viruses, or whatever. It's designed to stop the body's inflammatory response. Just something to consider, if you did a medrol pack it might not have been a high enough sustained dose to combat the inflammation because you start tapering immediately. Just a thought, not sure what you've already done.

I'm here to answer if you need any advice/want to vent. No one understands the nightmare crazy e tubes can be unless they've gone through it themselves.
Jen

 
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:28 PM   #5
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

jen plus 2 thanks once again for replying you are so inspirational to me. Knowing you've dealt with these stupid tubes(lol) for so long and dont let them get you down. I feel i can learn so much from you and being as we are so close in age just adds to that. Who would've thought we'd be dealing these issues. If you asked me anything about e tubes and ear disorders i wouldve just stared at you with a blank face and been like what. Now i feel like a Dr. with all the information i've learned over these stupid tubes(lol) As for your questions, Ive been taking pred now for seven days 10mg once a day and an antihistamine nasal spray twice a day, but still no results. Whats weird is that when this all started back in Feb, 09 2013 (funny how i still remember the date huh, the date my life changed) my sympoms were all better in about three weeks and i dont know if it was the flight i took or tmj that have made my ear pressure arise again. Its just so weird, another weird thing is in the morning when i wake up the pressure is not so bad but as soon as the day starts to go on i can feel it building whithin my head and ears, just so weird i guess. Does that happen to you? I've heard of that tymponogram test before and Im going to request that on my next ent visit. Do you think it will help determening my problem? Does it hurt? And yes i will also look into getting allergy tested as well, right now im so desperate and want to find anything that can help me fix this issue. This has really taken its toll on me to this point but i keep telling myself to be strong and stay positive and one day it will pass, i just ask the lord to give me strength in my times of weakness. I'm so glad i have you to vent to and know you can relate with me but we will get thru this and be back to normal again soon i just know it. Thanks again Jen

 
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:07 PM   #6
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

Wow, thanks for the compliment. I'm not so great at dealing with it though- I have anxiety disorder and it had been totally under control till these stupid e tube issues started. After they started I needed anti anxiety meds to keep me from losing my mind honestly. Like I said, its at least annoying at worst depressing... My symptoms are really annoying tonight and keeping me up, I live just outside of Chicago so it's almost 11pm here.

I think in my humble non medical opinion, that you at the very least could use some more pred, at least to try. I had an allergy/virus thing a week and a half ago that barely responded to 40 mg for 5 days. I'm not sure if your ent or yourself would be open to upping the pred for a few days and seeing if that does the trick. Maybe ask? I guess I'm just thinking that as a petite woman, if 40 mg barely cuts it for me, as a guy 10 mg might just be too little? Or as my allergist says 'its sprinkling fairy dust on it ' (too low of a pred dose, lol).

I think you'll return to normal, your body just needs its time to heal. Check out some older posts about ETD, there are many of this on this board that have dealt with this long term, some even longer than me. Right now you're not necessarily a chronic case, and even if you do become chronic, you have options. They just get a bit more invasive unfortunately, but they're there if you need them.

Have you tried to pop your ears with just valsalva (hold your nose and blow)? It's not always the safest way, although I use it often, but my own variation- I take a breath in, pinch my nose and add air pressure up from my throat instead of using the air in my nose. This seems less forceful to me, and they always pop. Another way of trying to pop them is to take a drink of water in your mouth, pinch your nose, and swallow the water. If it works, you'll feel a tugging sensation as the muscles that open the e tubes are activated. I've also developed a freakish ability to flex the tubes open using just the muscles that open them in my throat (its truly freakish). When the pressure gets super annoying I swear I go pop- crazy and click and pop them all day long. I should just become a scuba instructor!

Have you thought about using an antihistamine? An oral route one will be able to stop a histamine response anywhere in your body including the e tubes. If you're just using a nasal spray, it is only reaching your nose. Just a suggestion. If it doesn't work, no harm done. I'm more about trying everything because I get really bothered by the symptoms.

The tympanogram doesn't hurt- its like a little ear plug they place in your ear canal for a second that measures the pressure in your middle ear (behind your ear drum).It is attached to a little machine that will print out a little graph reading and the dr will be able to tell you what going on in your middle ear (where you feel the pressure). You can google tympanogram to see what this would look like. This is a test I'd insist on at your next ent appt because it can literally give info as to what's going on in there. It's just a test though, it won't help e tube dysfunction (etd).

I only know so much about this because I've been dealing with it for an annoying amount of time. It's most likely to clear up for you though, it seems very few cases become chronic. I would obviously avoid any flights anytime soon though. Give them some time to get back to normal. Keep me updated in your progress, I'm sure you'll recover.
Jen

 
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:15 PM   #7
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

Oh and about my pressure sensations- they're all over the place, no specific time of day, but seem to be less in the evening. If your tympanogram turns up normal, then check into tmjd- that's why I'm checking into it, my tymps were normal but I still feel pressure.

 
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:18 AM   #8
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

jen Im so sorry that your having a rough time with these issues. I know all about anxiety disorders I've had them since a teen but only now since this all began has it came back really hard again, i hate it. My Dr. actually prescribed me valium for my anxiety as well and i take them as needed. That to me is perhaps the worst part of all this, it's the first thing i think about in the morning and the last thing i think about at night it sucks so so bad. My family tells me that its all in my head and i make the problem worse than it is but lets be honest if your not going thru it you just dont understand. I find it hard to enjoy all the little things in life like i used to. Ive always been a really fun outgoing guy but lately everyone can tell that im not me anymore. I think i will discuss in upping my dose of pred to the ent at my next visit and see what other steps we can take from here. When you get really sympomatic, what do you feel helps? How do you deal with them when they're at their worst? I like to get a bowl of steam and just put my ears and head over it for about fifteen minutes and honestly i dont know if it helps but sometimes i feel it does(that could be all in my head) But i never lose my faith and i know we'll get better as the days go by and be able to come on these boards to give positive insights to people dealing with these terrible issues. Jen you have been a godsend to me, stay strong and hang in there baby girl...we'll get thru this together and one day look back and say "i was bugging out over that? really"

 
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:49 AM   #9
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

Thanks for making me feel so great! Truly the only thing that helps me at the times when it's really annoying me is to take a klonopin (0.5mg). It is enough to relax me so that I don't start obsessing over it. The symptoms wax and wane for me throughout the day, so I never know when it might get bad or let up from being super bad. I'm glad you can relate to the anxiety because honestly I feel like mine is through the roof lately. I was actually starting to get better and then I caught this virus thing a couple weeks ago that really set me back and gets me down. I just hope these allergy shots will kick in sometime soon, I honestly have no patience and my eyes are getting super dry with the constant Zyrtec use, so I've actually recently had my contact lens use banned by my eye dr till further notice I hate having to wear my glasses because they make me feel claustrophobic like the e tube pressure does so its completely amplified right now. Sigh. I'm seeing the optometrist again today, its been a week without my contacts and using eye drops, so we'll see what she says.

As far as family not getting it- it's not ever going to happen. I don't think they understand what a downer it can be, which makes it even harder on us. I was dealing with this last Easter, and was looking forward to being symptom free this year. Not gonna happen, really makes me mad. I need to try to just be accepting of it and try my best to get through the weekend. Hopefully the eye dr will have at least some good news for me today. You have a whole community of people to reach out to here, and me, and all of us that have suffered from problems with these stupid little tubes will totally understand you.

Hope you're having a 'good ear' day!
Jen

Last edited by Administrator; 03-29-2013 at 09:47 AM.

 
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:34 AM   #10
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Re: clogged ears and so stressesd out

Jen Im glad i can make you feel great and will continue to keep you in my prayers. As i type this now my ears arent so bad but like i said theyre usually not in the morning so i guess we'll see how they feel throughout the day. My family has been telling me to go see a phsycologist to help with my anxiety and am considering it but honestly i feel that i will give into it and i dont want to do that. Ive never seen one before since Ive never had it to this extent but maybe i might go not sure yet. Honestly I woke up today telling myself Im getting on with life and will not let my ears hold me back (as dumb as that sounds) I also have a big weekend coming up and have many things to do so i refuse to let them keep me down this weekend and i hope the same for you. We need to get back to enjoying all the little things again and try not to stress so much but believe me its alot easier said than done. When i do feel my at my lowest at least i know i found you and you can give me some words of inspiration when needed. Thanks again Jen... hope you have a great ear day as well

 
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