Otosclerosis - Ears always feel like need to be popped
Ok, this is gonna be really long, so just bear with me if you can. I have been having problems for at least 3 yrs now and my doc has finally come to the conclusion that I might have otosclerosis. I started having problems with my ears always feeling like they need to be popped, (like I'm on the top of a mountain), probably about 2 or 3 yrs ago. I went to the ear doc and he said that I had retracted eardums and put me on nasal spray. It didn't feel like it helped much, but when i went back the doc he said the eardrums were back to normal. Well, that feeling of needing to be popped never went away and actually got worse over the next 6-9 months. It got to where I was always opening my jaw really wide to get a little relief. (When i open my jaw really wide, I hear and feel this crackling popping noise, and it feels like it opens my ears a little. But only for a second. So I end up doing this over and over...) And It felt like my ears were hurting inside my head. The whole area around my ears and my jaw joint would hurt and ache. Went back to the ear doc and this time during the exam he put his hands on my jaw joint next to my ears (TMJ) and told me to open wide. He said that I had TMJ disorder and that's what was causing my ear problems. He referred me to a TMJ Specialist two hours away. Saw him, he said that I grind my teeth at night and gave me a nightgaurd and things started getting a little better as far as the pain was concerned. But my ears still felt all screwed up, like they need to be popped. The TMJ doc said sorry, can't help you there. So I dealt with it for a year, to see if the gaurd would starting helping more with the ears, but it didn't. Finally went back to the ear doc again a few months ago and he did hearing tests and said that I have some hearing loss that might be from Otosclerosis, but that I also have signs of eustation tube dysfunction. He put a cut in my right eardrum, to see if I needed tubes and the ear felt better as soon as he cut it (release of pressure as soon as the blade hit it). So he put in tubes and my ears really didn't feel much better 2 weeks later. They still felt like they needed to be popped. So he put a patch over one of the tubes, to see if I wanted them out and it felt horrible! I didn't realize how much the tubes had helped until he did that! So I defenetely have some eustation tube dysfunction and want the tubes to stay in. He also did another hearing test with the tubes in and my ears and I still have hearing loss. And my ears still feel like they need to be popped all the time. So now he is sending me to an ear doc at Stanford University, who specializes in Stapoid Surgery. I am scheduled for surgery July 13th. My ear doc isn't for sure that I have otosclerosis, but he said this doc should be able to figure it out. Sorry this is soo long, but does anyone with otosclerosis have any of these symptoms? I am getting so frustrated with this!
Last edited by Hiouchi; 06-16-2006 at 01:21 PM.
Reason: change title
I have otosclerosis and just had surgery in one of my ears, but I've never had any of the symptoms you described. I think you need to see another doctor. It does not seem to me that you should have surgery if they can't even tell you what the problem is. Definitely see a specialist!
Re: Otosclerosis - Ears always feel like need to be popped
Very sympathetic to your situation. I'm having the same problems you mentioned. My ENT did the usual progression of tests and finally sent me for an MRI to rule out acoustic neuromas in both ears (non cancerous tumors). Results came back negative. I have an appointment this monday agian, and am sure he will say you just have to live with whatever I have. I am curious how your surgery went (if you went ahead with it). and how you are feeling now.
I am having a very simulair problem. My ears feel like I have pressure in both of them as if something is bearing down on my head. I've had this since Feb. 2006, when I just woke up one morning to a feeling of completly stopped up left ear. I was very alarmed at that point because I had never even had an ear ache in my life and I am 37! Anyway, after going to the ER that day, was told I had an ear infection and probably fluid behind my ear drum. It took about 2 weeks to get completly back to normal hearing and rid of that stopped up feeling, but, still, I have the feeling of fluid in my ears and they feel different than they use to. I also noticed about 2 months ago that I couldn't yawn with my open opened really wide because my jaw on the right side is kinda stiff. So, after doing some of my own research, because my doc was of no help, I read about TMJ and I opened and closed my mouth in the complete quietness of the house, and sure enough, my jaw makes a crackling noise on the left side. So, I press on it gently in front of my ear and it is sore there! How could a doctor miss this? I tell ya, I just am so sick of doctors this day and time. We basically have to find out whats wrong with us, and go in and tell them!!! What's up with that?
Anyway, I would see another doctor if I were you for a second opinion and possibly do some research on what to do about this ear fluid problem you're having.
I am having a physical Thursday and will be talking to my doctor about my ears, if she allows me.
I went down to the Bay Area and saw Dr. Roberson at the California Ear Institute. He determined that I don't have Otosclerosis. He said that I have Chronic Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and that hearing loss can be caused by this. So he put a set of T Tubes in, which should last for 3-4 years and should help with my ears. This explains it pretty good: "The eustachian tube (ET) is a muscular tube that connects the middle ear to the throat. Most of the time, the ET is collapsed; when it opens (when you "pop your ears") air can flow through the tube into the middle ear space. This causes the air pressure in the middle ear space to become equal to the air pressure in the room. When the ET fails to open, however, a pressure difference can build, and a varied array of symptoms may arise. Ear pain, hearing loss, ringing (tinnitus) and dizziness (unsteadiness, or even true vertigo) are not uncommon. " I have started doing research online since I got home from our trip down to the Bay Area and this doesn't look like a good thing to have. It's not a real common thing to have (at least for so long), and it doesn't sound like there's a lot they can do besides tubes. Hopefully these tubes help. I am going to be doing more research online, cause I find it hard to believe that there is nothing that can be done.
Wow... I am glad I read your post. Here is my story.
I've had this problem for the past 2-3 years, and last year was the ultimate worst. At least, 5-6 times I had to go into Urgent Care (like an outpatient mini-ER clinic) in our suburb because the pain was so excruciating in my ears. And, the pain alternates between both ears. So for me, I have it in both ears.
Crackling, popping, ringing, and such pain to the point where I am not able to swallow or even talk/open my mouth at one point. The ER doc had to give me a shot of pain killer to stop the pain, then sent me immediately to the ENT doctor to see what was going on. He said I had some type of ear infection going on at that time. Only, I had had 5 before that at this time- and the previous year, the same amount and the Z-pac doesn't seem to cure it; just stabilizes it because I get it from time to time for a day or so and then it goes away before I go to make a doctor appointment.
I am to schedule an appointment with an ENT for a consult about osteo surgery if I am a canidate or not due to severe hearing loss (doubtfully)- I really don't want to have it done. Scared.
Hope they can find out what is going on with you.
a loving heart is the truest wisdom
Hi there was just reading through your comments and hope that someone can maybe give me some help. My story begins exactly a year ago when I noticed my head felt stuffy and my ears a bit plugged. After three weeks of going to the doctor they diagnosed an ear infection and gave me antibiotics. At this point I had a hissing in the effected ear which the doctor assured me would clear up as soon as the infection settled. One year on and six ear infections later Im in a much worse state that I was last year. I still have the tinnitus which is now much worse. I also have continual squeltching and popping when I swallow. Every time I have had a cold or the sniffles it has gone straight into my ear and caused another ear infection. Every time my hear has become more and more congested to the point where it never fully clears. It has been fourteen week since last infection and still my ear sounds sticky although I dont have the same pressure that I had previously. When driving down hill my hear clicks when I swallow and sometimes pops. After seeing two ent consultants privately, using decongestants, antihistamines, steroid drops and sprays Iv been told the only thing that will help is a tube in my ear as there is too much infection to clear up on its own. Im scheduled to have the op on the 17th October and am terrified. Audiologist has said that my hearing is perfect no conductive loss at all or nerve damage which is surprising for the amount of infection I have had in such a short space of time. The diagnosis eustachin tube dysfunction! I can sympathise with anyone going through this as its terrible. Can anyone give me advice as to what to expect after the op. How will I feel with the tubes in? Has anyone else got tinnitus with this condition and what prognosis have you been given for the tinnitus. My doctor and ent consultant have said that mose cases of mucous based tinnitus resolves when ear goes back to normal but Im really worried as Iv had this a long time. The tinnitus is the worse aspect of this for me as I find it very hard going. I would appreciate any help that you can give me. Andrea
I don't have tinnitus, never have. The tubes is nothing to be scared of though. If they knock you out, it is really nothing to be scared of... I have had tubes put in with just ear drum numbing drops and actually in the surgery room too. For a few days after your ears might hurt a little, kind of like a mild ear infection. Over the counter pain med works pretty good for that. And I ended up hearing things strange for the first few days too. Like I could hear myself talk really loud and some things seemed really loud, but then some things I had a hard time hearing. But those things go away after a few days. And your aren't supposed to get water in your ears, but I had a specialist from the California Ear Institute at Stanford (supposed to be some of the best..) told me that he doesn't like his patients to restrict themselves. If they get an ear infection (from getting water in the ears), then just treat it, no big deal. Good luck!
Hiouchi, thanks for your reply. Going in on Tuesday to have the tube inserted, feel a bit better about it now. thanks. Just hoping that once the tube gets doing its job the tinnitus will go away. Did you have recurrent ear infections? If so did they leave you with a blocked ear for weeks to months afterwards. My ear is still popping and squeltching from last infection 16 weeks ago. Sometimes when I swallow its as if a little air bubble forms in my ear and I know I need to pop my ear. Not as bad as it used to be where it would completely block for a long time when this happened, it normally pops within a few minutes. Contstantly when I swallow my ear pops and it sounds like there is fluid or something in my ear, like when you have had a cold and your ears have been a bit stuffed up with catarrh. The tinnitus is the worst thing for me. Thanks for replying. Andrea x
Hiouchi, just a quick message to let you know Iv had the op carried out. The tube is in place and my hearing is very muffled. Iv had sort of gunge and blood draining from my ear which I think is normal. Should my hearing be like this? Im worried that Iv damaged my hearing. Its sort of like when you have an ear infection and your hearing is muffled. The ent specialist said this should last a few days but this is going on my third day and it hasnt eased up any. Has this happend to you? Andrea x
Yes, I did have the muffled effect for awhile. It goes away, slowly. (Seems like it took at least a week for me...) No, I didn't have ear infections. I used to get them really bad when I was a kid, but I seemed to outgrow the infections. But I have that popping sensation that you talk about. My ears crackle and pop when I swallow or open my jaw. Oh yah, and I guess I actually do have some tinnitus. It's not too bad, so I must have gotten used to it. It's like a roaring sound in my ears every now and then. My tubes didn't really help the crackling and popping, my ears used to feel like they were being sucked in almost (negative pressure from the eustachian tubes being blocked), and they have helped a lot with that. Anyway, good luck with the tubes. Keep me posted and I will do the same if I have any changes. Oh yah, are your tubes regular or are they t tubes?
Hiouchi, thanks for keeping in touch. It always feels better when you know someone has gone through the same thing. Iv been very worried about my hearing. This is the sixth day and it has improved a little although its still very muffled. I think it will take a bit longer for mine to return to normal. When I eat I hear it very loud in my head but when I speak its muffled, but I can hear outside noises very well! My tinnitus has gone through the roof just now but I think it is probably with my hearing been dull I can hear inside noises more, I hope anyway. Ent surgeon wasnt at all concerned when I said about my hearing being muffled he said give it time to heal. He said the op is so low risk there was more chance of me getting run down by a bus walking down a walkway. Im getting used to the tube in my ear but at first it felt very alien. Iv had a lot of gunk and blood draining from it too but I think this is a good thing. Did you have a draining ear after surgery? It may have stemmed from the previous ear infection which I had a while back but never seemed to totally resolve itself. Anyway, would just like to say thanks again for taking the time to reply to me as its a great comfort to know that what Im feeling just now is normal, and I can stop worrying and let it heal. I hope you continue to keep well. Oh and the tubes I think are just regular so they fall out within a year I think. Ent surgeon didnt say anything about t-tubes and I imagine he would have told me if they were going to be long lasting. Andrea x
Last edited by Andrea Love; 10-23-2006 at 06:05 AM.
"When I eat I hear it very loud in my head but when I speak its muffled, but I can hear outside noises very well!" What you are talking about sounds exactly like mine did. Except the draining, I never had any draining. I had a set of regular tubes and they fell out within 6 months. My regular ENT hadn't told me about t tubes yet. The specialist down at Stanford did. These t tubes should last me 4-5 years, I think they said. I was still drousy from the surgery when they told me and my husband wasn't paying attention. I need to talk to my ear doc about that. I think I will need to go back down to Stanford to have them changed, I definetely don't want to go without...Hey no problem responding to you. It's nice to talk to someone with some of the same problems as me. I thought I was gonna go nuts both times I had tubes put in. I had forgot how awful it is when I went to have them done the second time, until it all started happening again. I went "oh, that's right. This really sucks!" It will get better and in a few weeks, one day you will go "Hey I feel better"
Hiouchi, Thanks for responding. Iv been going out my mind thinking Iv damaged my hearing! IT does seem to be getting slightly better but the tinnitus has been terrible since getting the tubes. I suppose cutting your eardrum open would maybe increase the noise and I hope once this heals its better. I know someone who has had t-tubes put in and hes doing great. He said first couple of weeks were terrible but now hes good. When did you have your last op carried out? Iv been really down since getting the op and thinking to myself what have I done. Im glad to hear that it does settle down eventually. Does everything go back to normal? After a while do you still feel the tubes in your ears? Im going to doctors today to get a swab taken of my ear to make sure that an infection hasnt set in as my ear is still running which means there is fluid behind my ear. My ear is starting to feel itchy is this normal? Cant believe this has all happened to me although at the hospital they told me when you get into your thirties ear problems are more prominent! Thanks again. Andrea x
Last edited by Andrea Love; 10-27-2006 at 04:10 AM.
Do you have hearing loss? I have otosclerosis,and when I started having that full ear feeling it became harder and harder for me to understand what people were talking about.It was like I was under water and they were above me talking.I went to have a hearing test then to an E.N.T. Specialist who then gave me the diagnosis.That was five years ago,I now wear hearing aids as I have a conductive hearing loss.I was told that the tube surgery would not do me to much good so it was a good thing that I didn't have ins. huh? LOL I also have a perforated eardrum and that crazy ring a ding ding,that never goes away...I'm 55 and sometimes I am glad that I can't hear all the BS...Good luck to you though and do seek the right medical attention.
Hi, no I dont have any hearing loss. No conductive or nerve damage. I had an ear infection which seemed to lead on to another and then another. Sort of glue ear is the condition I think I have. Eustachian tube dysfunction because of the constant ear infections. Iv had six in seven months so the fluid hasnt had time to drain before another ear infection sets in. I can hear everything perfectly well but when i talke it sounds muffled but its not as bad as it was last week. I think when they perforate your eardrum it can take up to 4 to six weeks to heal but I think as it heals the hearing should return. How do you find the hearing aids? Normally unless the fluid is really bad in my ears I dont have that much pressure or fullness in my ear unless Im in the car going downhill, when my ear needs to be popped a lot but since getting the tube placed in my ear this has stopped. I would never have believed such a small problem could bring so much upset haha. Andrea x
Hiouchi, hi, starting to feel a bit better but the tube still feels quite alien! Surgeon has said give them another two or threes weeks to settle. Is this common? Im having a bit of earache with it and doctor has given me antibiotics to take as my ear was quite runny and was most likely infected. My hearing is still strange. When Im outside my voice sounds tiny when I speak and I find it difficult to know if Im speaking too loud or too quiet. How are you doing? When did you get the tubes put back in your ears? Do you eventually feel normal again? I keep wondering if I have done the right thing as my hearing was fine before. What should I expect within the next few weeks? Sorry so many questions but I dont know anyone who has had this done before, the nurse that the hospital has never seen an adult get the op either it all kids who get the tubes inserted. Andrea x
I was wondering whether this is the first time you have had tubes inserted?
I have had around 5 tubes inserted into my right ear over the years, with the last one being around 14 years ago. I still have persistant trouble with my right ear, mainly with ear fullness, autphony and a form of PET (breathing through my eardrum).
I know when I had the last set of tubes inserted my ears felt great and it got rid of the fullness in my ear. Unfortunately this only lasted a month before either the tube fell out or my ear got blocked up again.
I saw a specialist a few years ago and he was against inserting more tubes due to the scarring on my ear drum. I am due to see another specialist and seeing as there doesn't seem to be any cures to sort out inner ear disorders I am wondering whether I should ask for tubes again.
I was never given the option of permanent t-tubes like you have had inserted, so I might ask about them. My only concern has been the tinnitus which developed about 10 years ago, 4 years after having the last set of tubes inserted. People with tinnitus have said that the tubes made the tinnitus worse!
Hi Chris, this is the first grommet Iv ever had inserted. Mine is not a t-tube but a very simple grommet which should fall out within the year. I got tinnitus along with my first ear infection and it has never left me since. Iv had hearing tests done and my hearing is absolutely perfect, no damage at all so the thinking is that it is mucous in my ear which is causing the noise. Do you have any nerve damage which is causing the tinnitus? Any scarring to the eardrum can give you tinnitus but my surgeon said it is a very minor op and carries very little risk. That being said I dont know after four tubes whether or not the eardrum would be scarred enough to cause the tinnitus. Your ear fullness was this becaused of eustachina tube problems or pet, which is a form of eustachian tube dysfunction but means your tube stays open all the time. When you have the latter you hear your breathing in your ear as you say but not with etd. I must admit the tinnitus level has risen for me since Iv had the op but Im hoping it will settle down in a while. I know someone who had a t-tube inserted and his tinnitus went through the roof when he first got the tube inserted, he also has damage to his ear as he had a very bad perforated eardrum some years back, but he said now he hardly hears the tinnitus at all. I think you need to weight everything up. I did this as a last resort after a year of ear infections and pain but if Id known how I would feel after it I would have thought about it again and maybe waited to see if I got another infection before going ahead. For me the worst problem is the tinnitus but even before the tube I had days when the noise was unbearable so at least now I can get out and about without my ear blocking. Im sorry I cant help more than that but Im new to this and have no idea how my situation will turn out. Keep us updated on how you are. If I can help you in any way I will. Andrea
Last edited by Andrea Love; 11-11-2006 at 04:59 PM.