Aural Fullness and Muffled Hearing in Left Ear for Nearly a Year.. Affecting Me Mentally Now :(

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Hi all,

I am writing on here as I wanted to get a second opinion out of my frustration of not receiving any diagnosis from the NHS yet.

I’m 26 years old, female, very healthy, exercise three to four times per week and don’t smoke.

I've had a blocked ear since April 2021. Symptoms started appearing a month after I moved to London (March 2020). I had a very full ear and realised I couldn’t hear out of it as well as the other, so I jumped to the conclusion it would most likely be wax. I decided to book a Microsuction appointment to get it removed. After the process I felt fine, but the lady who performed it noted I didn’t have a great amount of wax in there, or not enough to warrant this aural fullness I was feeling. I had this performed in the afternoon (April time), and that evening I started getting very loud fleeting tinnitus and greater fullness in that ear, I then felt dizzy and looked extremely pale so went straight to bed. The next day it felt even more full and ever since then I’ve had it looked at by two ENT doctors (both of which have been extremely condescending to me), both of which said it was not eustachian tube dysfunction as no fluid was visible behind my ear drum and I had a tympanometry test done to prove it all looked ‘normal’. Additionally, I’ve also had two MRI scans which have come back as normal which is very frustrating as I know something isn’t quite right. From all this frustration, I went to get a full hearing test done – and the results showed it is a mild conductive hearing loss in that ear. I can’t help to think something is wrong with this tube in my bad ear, as I’ve noticed when I go on the underground through a small tunnel or go up/down hills in the car this ear closes up very easily, and I have to do the Valsalva maneuver to hear better again. Along with this I have had sinus pain mainly on that same side, constant tinnitus in my bad ear, on and off mild tinnitus in my good ear too, and also sometimes I get a stuffy nose in the morning (but no congestion). More of my symptoms also include:

•A taste of blood in my mouth sometimes

•Constant post nasal drip (at least I think it is) on that side. I feel like something is on that side of my throat every time I swallow.

•Sometimes a funny smell in my nose – that smell you get when you have a sinus infection

•When I sniff hard through my nose, the corner of my eye (on the side of my bad ear) sort of sucks in a tiny bit, which makes me think it’s a structural problem

•Air also travels very easily through the corner of my eye on that side too when I blow my nose

•I also tend to have a constantly dry nose

•When I wake up after sleeping on my bad ear it feels more full

•When I do the Valsalva maneuver my eardrum doesn’t move as well in my bad ear compared to my good one

This makes me think maybe this tube is able to open, but is slightly swollen or something and there is a pressure problem which is causing me not to hear as well? I know I suffer from allergies as I have allergy induced eczema and asthma, but haven’t been tested as to what I’m allergic too. But I’m starting to get very frustrated and I’m losing all hope... Please, if you have an idea of what this could be or have had it yourself before, share your experiences in the hope that I have a greater understanding of what this is 😦

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  • Edited

    Hi, for the past 2 years (February 2020) I’ve been having this issue where my ears are stuffed up and clogged up. I have this sensation of pressure similar to when defending in an airplane or underwater where the pressure makes it feel like ears are closing in. Constantly have that sensation. It started with the left ear and fast forward 2 years later, i have it in both ears.

    Many different ENTs and Otolaryngologists have not been able to figure this out. I've talked to the otolaryngologists at columbia presbetarian hospital (top in the nation). none of the tests are showing anything including CT scan, MRI of eustachian tube and MRI of TMJ, ear pressure tests, etc.

    I just came back home from a hearing test and pressure test Columbia hospital where they had me drink water during the test to see.

    I can say that taking prednisone for 1 week helped but I stopped yesterday and the pressure is coming back.

    I cant understand why if something is wrong, it's not showing up in any of their tests. My ears feel so clogged as i sit here and write this however the pressure test i just took an hour ago at columbia hospital didnt show anything abnormal. I'm baffled...

    For past 2 years I’ve been taking Sudafed, cortisone nasal sprays, mucinex, and my ears haven’t opened yet. This pressure is causing me to feel claustrophobic and giving me intense anxiety.

    One interesting thing I noticed was last week I traveled and during flight when we hit over 10K feet altitude, both ears opened up for a brief few seconds. Was the 1st time in 2 years.

    I’m currently asking my doctor at Columbia to look into doing a balloon dilation however they dont have any test data to even show i have Eustachian tube dysfunction.

    My advice is the alot of the doctors dont really understand this issue and you really have to push and advocate for yourself. After 2 years and multiple ENT's unfortunately im no closer to the answer

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