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Feeling of "fullness", hissing, eardrum won't open - following bad cold

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Old 12-25-2011, 04:02 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2011
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csy HB User
Feeling of "fullness", hissing, eardrum won't open - following bad cold

Hi everyone!

I hope someone out there can help me...?

I am suffering from an awful feeling of "fullness" with hissing & wave like sounds in my right ear. My right eardrum won't open either (even if I pinch my nose and blow air out through my ears). On the up-side, I don't have vertigo problems or dizziness, and I am able to sleep at night.

On Dec. 23, 2011, I went to my ENT (I live in Switzerland now), and he gave me a hearing test. He said my left ear is fine, but my right ear has just below average hearing. He thinks it's Tinnitus (due to a virus), and says he can't help me anymore. He says I just have to keep trying to get my eardrum to open, or live with it.

In July 2011, I caught a cold whilst visiting my family in Canada (because I was in an overly air-conditioned building). After going back to Switzerland, in September a doctor gave me anti-inflammatories for my knees which were inflamed. I still had my cold at that time, so just after I finished the medication I got really really sick, and 5 days later my right ear plugged up. My sinuses were inflammed and I was almost completely deaf in both ears for a couple months.

Since my cold started in Sept., I have taken 3 bottles of Nasonex (nose spray), mild anti-biotics, and then finally I was referred to my ENT on Nov.1 who gave me cortisone. The regular anti-biotics he gave me made me sick so I stopped. He later said the problem was viral, so only the cortisone would have worked, not the anti-biotics.

Oh, I almost forgot, in October I went to Albania on holidays. I still felt horrible, and couldn't get in to see the ENT, so I went to a doctor there. She gave me nose drops and some pills to relax my sinuses. I also had to fly back, which in retrospect was probably not a good idea. Maybe that's why my right eardrum still won't open? My ENT says it's a mechanical problem.

Before I took the anti-inflammatories and got really sick, I'd never had any problems with my ears except for when I was little - I had constant earaches so I got my adenoids taken out. Since then, I've never had any problems.

Has anyone out there ever had a similar problem? Any advice for me? I've made an appointment with another ENT who is supposed to be the best in town (and much nicer and patient than the other one), and an Osteopath. Should I also go see a Neurotologist?

This feeling of "fullness" and the hissing in my right ear is horrible! I've tried everything to get my right eardrum to open, but nothing works.

Thanks for any help you can give me!

Last edited by csy; 12-25-2011 at 04:15 AM.

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:47 PM   #2
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jenni9033 HB Userjenni9033 HB Userjenni9033 HB Userjenni9033 HB Userjenni9033 HB Userjenni9033 HB Userjenni9033 HB Userjenni9033 HB User
Re: Feeling of "fullness", hissing, eardrum won't open - following bad cold

Hi, it sounds like Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which I have had for just over one year now. Mine started after a flight with a cold ands sinus congestion lead to plugged ears and a middle ear infection. My ears were blocked for 48 days straight. They finally came open with short-term use of Afrin nasal spray (it is not to be used for more than 3 days straight). Anyhow, use of pseudoephedrine plus mucinex pills also helped in the early days. As did the Ear Popper device, which may require a prescription depending on your country's regulations (my husband bought mine over the counter in Canada).

My ears are better than they were, but still trouble me for hours out of every week. The symptoms shift all the time. The tinnitus is also random...and seems worse with excessive caffeine, sodium, msg, or lack of sleep.

I'm being treated for bad allergies as it is believed that this may be the underlying condition causing e tube issues. I have to have months of weekly allergy shots to even begin to see if it will help; it takes a long time for your body to begin to build up a resistance through immunotherapy.

If you search this board, you will find tons of information shared between many ETD sufferers.

Also, one of the top eustachian tube experts is located in Geneva. He is easily found online using google.

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Old 12-31-2011, 09:48 PM   #3
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Re: Feeling of "fullness", hissing, eardrum won't open - following bad cold

hi there,

I immediately clicked on your thread when I read the title, because I can totally relate to your situation. I have had ongoing trouble with my ears over the years (although never as a kid) and every time I get a cold, I get ear trouble. Also to the degree of becoming completely deaf and entering into a very silent world, what an experience that was!!

In fact, i just finished two separate rounds of antibiotics about 2 weeks ago, and i'm hoping i am done with it for this time.

Basically, when I feel my ears are filling up and becoming slightly painful, I have been going to the doctor straight away, because the time that I decided to "wait and see" I ended up doing myself harm because I ruptured an ear drum. So that's the first thing I have learned to do is to jump on it quite speedily, risking being a hypochondriac worry wort and getting to get my ears looked at. So far it has paid off every time.

The other things the doctors recommend is a nasal steroid like flonase, and sudafed (from behind the pharmacy counter- the kind you have to show your drivers license and sign your life away for) and afrin nasal spray ( to be used for three days only and no longer). Also did ear drops once..

My own idea is to drink a lot of water to try and thin out any heavy secretions that may be blocking. And lastly, and this is a tough one is wait, wait, wait, as you already know from personal experience. It seems like it can take weeks for the ears to open, the worse they are, the longer it can take. Oh, one more thing, I also would sleep with me head elevated in the hopes that it would help the fluid drain with gravity instead of leaving my head flat and letting it just sit there. I honestly don't know if that did anything, but i was desperate to try anything.

This last time I went in, the doctor said there was scar tissue from the last time it ruptured and that that was complicating things. She said i need to go 2 full years without any ear trouble before I would not have to worry so much about ear infections. Please keep me informed of how you are doing, am very interested to hear and hoping for your healing.

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Old 12-31-2011, 10:58 PM   #4
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Re: Feeling of "fullness", hissing, eardrum won't open - following bad cold

You may have a plugged Eustachian tube or inner ear infection???? Try using some heat on your ear with a moist towel and see is that improves it.
There is a Mexican folk remedy for plugged up ears that sounds weird, but it has worked for me -- you roll a sheet of newspaper up into a cone and make the small end small enough to put just barely inside your ear so it fills up the space of the external ear canal. Light the big end of the cone on fire and let it burn. You will feel/hear a "pop when the pressure is released. Have someone help you and sit down to do it as you dont want to risk having the cone pushed into your ear drum. You can help hold it steady with one hand with your fingers wrapped lightly around it close to your ear, while it is burning. It should not be a big flame but a slow burn.If this works, you should have some relief by the time it burns half way down. You need to figure out why all the pressure is building up.

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Old 04-29-2013, 07:52 AM   #5
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Birbal HB User
Re: Feeling of "fullness", hissing, eardrum won't open - following bad cold


I had the same problem, first in one ear, then in both. The doctor put my on sudafed 4 tabs 4x daily. This didn't do it, so eventually he had to perform a procedure where he put a small hole in each eardrum and then vaccuumed out the stuff. Not real pleasant, but the end result was being able to hear again!

Here I am 10 years later, and my left ear is doing the same thing. I've been on sudafed, self-medicating in order to try to fix it, but no luck and it's a week later. I'm going to see my GP today, and while there I'll ask for a referral..

Best of luck, but that procedure I had really did the trick.


Last edited by moderator2; 04-29-2013 at 11:04 AM. Reason: too much quote

Old 04-29-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
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Re: Feeling of "fullness", hissing, eardrum won't open - following bad cold

My ear doctor put in permanent tubes in both ears. I had the same feeling all the time, and was constantly popping my ears to no avail. Currently my right tube is clogged and the doctor gave me ear drops to use for ten days. I see him this Wednesday to see if he can clear it out and save the tube. I'll keep you posted. I got the tubes when I was 45.
If you open the door even a little bit - the devil will fling it open. Keep it closed with prayer.

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