I've had problems with my ears for 6 months now and it's been fantastic finding this message board. I was wondering if other people out there are experiencing cognitive problems. I probably have eustachian tube dysfunction - fullness/pressure in ears, dizziness not vertigo, ear pain, tinnitus, spaced out etc etc, still awaiting a definite diagnois - but the thing that has driven me most mad is the foggy headed feeling that accompanies all this. I've now read up on ear disorders and know that what is called, I think, mental processing overload, is common. Your brain is so confused as to how to keep you upright it doesn't do it's job properly in other areas. So basically you feel like someone has poured a can of soup in your head. I have been getting slowly better, and so have the cognitive symptoms, but I still feel like my thoughts are always spacey, like I've taken some sort of drug, which makes me feel less sure of myself and is very unnerving. I won't bang on about this now. I'm really keen to hear other people's descriptions of this, if there are any, then I'm happy to swap info/experiences.
NB. As this post was written over 4 yrs ago but is often found in the archives and bumped up, I thought I would add a note to it. I was eventually diagnosed with MAV which stands for migraine associated vertigo also known as vestibular migraine. The foggy headed feeling I talk about, I now know, is common with both MAV and inner ear disorders such as vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis and menieres disease. I didn't ever have ETD - eustachian tube dysfunction.
Last edited by hbep; 10-18-2007 at 03:49 AM.
Reason: updating post
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No, nothing showed up on my pressure test and my hearing is fine - BUT - my ENT/otologist did say that the pressure test could show different results depending on what the fluid in your ears was doing on any particular day. I am waiting to see him again, it's taking a while, so I don't know for sure. I've been reading everyone's posts for a few days now and I'm guessing you're wondering if you've got Labyrinthitis or Eust tube dysfunction. The reason I think I have ETD is because I get what I call dizzyness, namely a spaced out feeling rather than spinning/vertigo. Also my first symptoms were not a sudden attack of spinning, but a sudden feeling of full ears, tinnitus and feeling disconnected. I also had a terribly inflamed nose from rhinitis about 3 yrs ago, it feels like the same thing is going on in the tubes in my ears. If you're wondering about this you should read the posts from Wendy222. She was on the site in the last year. Someone mentioned her so I put her name in the search engine and it brought up all her posts. She never had hearing loss, her pressure tests all showed up clear, she had all the same symptoms as me, and after seeing 9 ENT'S !!! eventually she had tubes put in and got better v. quickly. The fact is I don't know what I have, but reading Wendy's posts I could've written them myself they were so similiar to what I've been going through. Whatever the hell it is, it's awful LOL. Fed up with feeling like I'm "thick" and swimming underwater. Do you feel like your brain is a bit souped up even when you're not having a dizzy attack? I feel "off" all the time, although it's worse when I am really dizzy.
Hello... reading your post is very interesting as many of us on these boards (as I'm sure you have read!) have had the pressure tests done and have been told that the ear pressure is fine; yet, like you say, surely it depends on the day/time of day, etc...
The spaced out feeling is definitely something I can relate to, although, thankfully, am no longer feeling like that ALL the time. And YES the underwater feeling too!! Am starting to get spells of not having these feelings and it's like a light bulb being switched on in my head! I'd actually forgotten what it feels like to feel normal. Know just what you mean about feeling 'off' all the time, too.
I too had this blocked feeling in my right ear however have had no problems with hearing. My ENT could also said that my ears were not blocked although they felt like it!. Over the last few days the blocked feeling has eased off and on two occasions it seems to of eased after a short spell when I could hear/feel liquid inside my middle ear rattling around. What I have also noticed is my dizzness/in balance has dramictally reduced and has almost gone. So this has left me wondering what it is I had, was it Labyrinthitis?. Certainly something going on. Does anyone know how ETD affects your balance when the E tude is not part of the inner ear?
Good to know I'm not alone with my soupey head LOL
Hmmm, I've wondered about this whole thing of how the eustachian tubes would effect balance. Although with me it isn't so much balance issues as dizzy/spaced out sensation. From stuff I've read on the net, in my desperate attempts to find out what's going on, I'm guessing that inflammation in that general area could mean that something presses on the balance nerve, causing problems. Also, read something else that suggested your eustachian tubes could be inflamed without necessarily being full - if you get what I mean. I think this is prob what's happening with me. The same thing happened with my nose - no nose blowing all the time - just v. bad inflammation. It makes sense that if your eustachian tubes are inflamed and locked off you're going to feel dizzy and like you're in a bubble. Although I have also experienced a lot of smacking sounds in my ear, like they're wet, and one night distinctly remember hearing a weird draining sound in my right ear after which I felt a bit better. Hmmmm. So who knows. I do think from what I've read that ear pressure tests are not necessarily to be trusted, and nor are consultants LOL. I'm also a lot better than I was, but not completely - after 6 months I guess I'm just getting impatient.
HMMMMMMMMM. You have all got me really wondering...
I'm just not sure whether I have ETD or not! I think it's weird that mine all comes back with colds and although they say L'itis does do that, it could be a prob with the E tube.
My ears have never been very full though and I think with ETD they are. Mine are just full when I get a cold (more so than they used to) but I think with ETD you have quite severe pressure and draining going on.
Hmmm, now I'm wondering. I'm pretty convinced I've got ETD, but am wondering if it could be labyrinthitis. How did yours start, Emsybobs? Is there anyone with a labyrinthitis diagnosis who hasn't had vertigo, just feels/felt v.lightheaded to start with?
No definite diagnosis yet. The wait for ENT is horrendous in my area. Also, as this came on quite slowly, I didn't get myself referred to a hospital as soon as it happened. Eventually got so fed up waiting, saw the consultant once privately just to get an idea of what's going on. All he did at that stage was a hearing/pressure test. He rang and told me those had come back fine. On the basis of that he probably ruled out menieres, we discussed the possibility of Eustachian tube dysfunction, migraine associated dizziness and vestibular neuritis. He was less keen on the latter cos of the lack of spinning/vertigo. As I was only 4 months in at that stage, he gave me some vestibular exercises to do and he said to wait for my NHS appointment and see how I was doing then. He told me that ear disorders are a six months plus recovery and often by the time people actually get to see him on the NHS they are better - LOL. It's true that I have improved a lot since I first got it, my appointment is in a few weeks now. Am a bit concerned that in The States people seem to get tests like the ENG and caloric and an MRI much more quickly. Have you had an ENG and caloric test? Have they found vestibular damage to the nerves in your ears?
As for your question from the other topic list - hmmm, coping strategies - muddling through really, trying not to panic as it seems to make me feel worse, talking to other people with this, reading everything I can. The friend of a friend I was put in touch with at the beginning was a bit of a life saver. I was soooo ill once this really kicked in, unable to work for 3 months. Spaced out/dizzy, foggy head like you wouldn't believe, nausea, dreadful tinnitus, ears like I'd had a blanket stuffed in each one etc etc.... He kept reassuring me it would get better and it has. Although I'm still fed up that my head feels floaty all the time, can't wait to feel normal again. Think I might have to have a big party to celebrate. I'm lucky in that I am freelance and work from home, so that has helped.
Haven't had a cold since I got this - although I did get a bit of a chest infection which immediately made me feel much worse for a couple of days. V. worried about the cold thing - can't imagine it would be good.
Forgot to say, in terms of coping, have been having acupuncture for a few months. I also started taking ginko biloba, vitamin B6, and magnesium. I think all of these may have helped, but it has taken a few months to see improvements.
I saw an ENT privately as too long on the NHS. He did pressure/hearing tests and confirmed it was L'itis.
Because I've been to see him, my GP is reluctant to put me on the NHS list. DEBATING going elsewhere privately. I am worried about ETD.
I think it is L'itis and it has improved but slowly. I think as you say, inner ear things take a long time.
I have just started on Magnesium and it has helped I think. Gingko didnt help much. I have acupuncture anyway for tension headaches and it has been amazing. Asked them to do stuff for my ears but no real progress there.
The reccurrence thing is the bit that makes me feel down. Just as you are getting somewhere, it is bad again.
I didnt have tinnitus or pain - so those symptoms may be why your ENT suspects ETD.
Wow hbep, Your symptoms are practically %100 comparable to mine. This "disconnected" feeling is driving me absolutely crazy. I just feel so out of it, Alls I want is to feel normal again!!.
It started with Tinnitus in the right ear, Then I started having pains in both my ears and directly above my eyes on the top of my head, And then a tiny amount of tinnitus in my left ear, Then came the spaced out feeling, I started noticing it once and awhile, Then after about 2-3 weeks of noticing it here and their it became a 24/7 thing, God I hate it.
Most recent symptom as of about 3-4 weeks ago, In my right ear when ever I raise my voice it feels like its vibrating inside, It feels weird, Almost like a slight dizzy spell while its happening.
I've yet to visit the ENT though. Same thing goes for me with the long waiting periods, My appointment isn't till the 28th of this month.
I just hope this is fixable, I couldn't deal with this forever.