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Compulsive ear popping- it's getting crazy!

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Old 01-31-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 60
JenPlus2 HB User
Compulsive ear popping- it's getting crazy!

Hi guys,
I have been having some issues with an ear problem, which began last year and has occurred intermittently since. I got a cold last year that ended up messing up the normal function of my Eustachian tubes. I suffered with this annoying problem for 6 mos, tried EVERYTHING ENTs gave me, and when all else failed, ended up getting a newer surgery done to open the Eustachian tubes up from inside the nasopharynx (not like children's ear tubes). Anyhow, this procedure was successful to some extent- I felt no ear pressure for about 2 full months, ignored my allergies (which are extensive according to the test) and at the height of Chicago ragweed season in September, I awoke to a 'clogged' ear. Here comes the possible OCD part... When I woke up this way I immediately popped my ears with valsalva and despite them both popping like normal, the pressure sensation remained. Off to the ent. Nothing wrong visibly. Sent for a hearing test and Eustachian tube test, all normal. Throughout this I'm becoming completely obsessed with my ear pressure feeling. My mind couldn't stop thinking about them being blocked like they were before, so I felt the need to constantly check to make sure they were open still by popping. I did this for 2 months straight, and finally the pressure gradually disappeared. I assumed it was due to the first frost out here and thought I was stupid for letting allergies drive me into that state. The problem is that the ear pressure returned again 3 wks ago for no reason, saw the ent, had the tests, everything ok except for my allergic inflammation in my nose. I'm becoming obsessed with the ears again, constantly checking their openness with popping. I'm doing this at work guys, and I work in retail management. Customers have no idea why I'm playing with my nose like someone with a drug problem. It's embarrassing but I can't stop doing it. I feel like I won't be able to stop till the pressure goes away (or God forbid, doesn't and then ill be popping forever).
I have anxiety disorder, but this isn't causing my physical symptoms. It's when my symptoms come on that I experience anxiety, remembering my blocked ears that lasted for 6 months last year and terrified that it could happen again. So then I must keep checking the ears for openness. I could easily take up a scuba diving hobby it's getting so out of control.
My psychiatrist only Rx's klonopin, since I've had trouble tolerating ssri's. he agrees that the physical symptoms aren't a manifestation of anxiety and is unsure if this ear popping thing is ocd. He will not give me any other meds because they give me extreme headaches, and at this point, since this ear problem is of unknown origin, doesn't want to cause me any other head issues until we solve the ear puzzle. I try to go as long as I can without popping, try to tell myself it doesn't change the pressure feeling, but I cave after awhile and do it anyway because I feel like they will clog up if I don't pop them. This is (forgive me) nuts! Is this sounding like a version of ocd? I'm seeing a psychotherapist on Saturday morning to try to help me stop this. It's driving me crazy!

Last edited by JenPlus2; 01-31-2013 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Typo

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