Clogged ear for 5 month - lots of exams that show nothing

Posted , 73 users are following.

Hi everyone, 

I must say that I thought about writing down a post here, but I didn't do it till now. 

It's been almost 5 month since my misery had started, meaning, the ear pressure, to be specific, it's only on the right ear. 

It all started one day, with lymph node that got swollen next to my tragus, at that day, I visited the ER since I was afraid it was something that might be dangerous. 

The ENT gave me some antibiotics and some nasal drops, he also mentioned that it will take some time until the swollen lymph node will decrease and vanish. 

Few days after this issue, my ear got clogged. only the right one.. 

To make a long story short, I visited almost 10 ENTs, Neurologist, Orthopedist, TMJ (Mouth and dental doctor), few Dentists and other alternative therapists - such as accupatre and chiropractor.

Took tons of medicines - including few types of antibiotics, nasal drops (steroids and other), pain killers, anti-inflammation medicines etc. 

Did a lot of exams - Head CT, Head MRI, tympanometry, audio test, ultrasound exam, X-Ray to my neck and spine, FOL (optical fiber) test and other tests that I can't remember. 

All of the exams didn't have any conclusion to what was the issue, all the exams came out fine! - meaning, I'm stuck with it. 

I must say, 

I'm 30 years old, vegetarian, eat healthy, working out, working in non-physical job and pretty much having no other issues. 

I'm reaching out for your assistance, 

Anyone had experienced it also? Can you assist me with finding what is the root cause of it? 

I feel like my life turned 180 degrees, from being a friendly guy and leaving happy life, I turned out to be grumpy, unhappy and most of all, exhausted of this situation. 

Hopefully I'll find an answer here, 



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259 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, can you explain your symtoms with a lot of detail. Does the ear feel full (as if there is pressure in it) or blocked (as it feels when you go up in a plane or have a cold.) Can you pop your ear? If you can, does popping your ear relieve the feeling of pressure/fullness and does it improve your hearing? Does your breathing or voice sound louder and echoey in the right ear? Does anything relieve the pressure/fullness? Does opening your mouth wide, moving your jaw to the left or to the right with your mouth both open and closed, stop the pressure/fullness? Does going up in lifts make you dizzy or is there anything that causes dizziness? Have you had your hearing checked? Do you suffer with any difference in hearing between your left and right ear? Did the tympanometry show normal middle ear pressure and movement? If you put your head between your knees, does the pressure or the sound of your voice change? Is there any change in your symptoms laying down compared to standing up?

    Often when we have a blocked ear with a cold it makes it harder to hear but other than a feeling of pressure, it is not a big deal. What makes your symptoms so bad that you have seen so many specialists? Is it emotional ie you are worried it is something serious that they are missing or is it the discomfort of the pressure?

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  • Posted

    I forgot to ask, has anyone looked in your ear to make sure there is no wax or a coating of wax (which can be hard to see when it is clear and doesn't obscure your ear drum)?

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    • Posted

      Hi Olizzieo,

      Thanks for your answer.

      My ear seems to have pressure in it, I can't pop my ear (or I can say that I can but it's for only one second), it makes no difference on my hearing, but, it seems like it got more air inside (meaning, some sense of relief and not blocked, but for only one second), moving my jaw does nothing, and I got my ears checked (tympanometry and BERA tests), putting my head between my knees does nothing as well, also, no dizziness.

      The only thing that really helps is if I support my neck and laying down, also, if I cover my ears and put small pressure, it also helps (I guess it is distracting me..), if I wiggle my finger in my ear it also creates some relief.

      The thing is, that it is frustrating me and it's always there. I got no idea how to solve it and what I can do in order to eliminate this feeling.

      I can’t lift much since it causes my ear to explode, I can’t fly since I’m so scared it will become worse, I can’t rest for one minute without this sense of pressure in my ear.. It is literally makes me insane.

      I'm going to chiropractor but I see there is no difference as for now... 

      Any idea?

      Thanks once again,


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    • Posted

      Oh, BTW - my ear is clear, no wax per the ENTs I had visited.

      I had took some drops to clear wax just to be on the safe side, did this candle thing to suck the wax, washed my ear etc.. So I guess nothing is there.

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    • Posted

      Do you have copies of your audiogram and tympanometry results? I would like to have a look at them. I think you can private message them to me or maybe post them here? Do you clean your ears daily or weekly with cotton buds? Candles don't remove wax and the makers in Australia have had to take that claim off the packaging. The "ear wax" that you see in the candle is the same as when you hold the candles and burn them in your hand. When was the last time someone looked in your ear?

      How does lifting something cause your ear to explode? Can you describe that in detail? Is it pressure or sound explosion? 

      If you put pressure on your jugular veins - under your ear where you can feel your pulse, does it change the pressure in your ear?

      Has the swelling in the lymph node completely gone?

      Have you tried putting wax softener in your ear and asking the doctor to wash it out? 

      Could you ask an ENT if the tensor tympani muscle could be the cause of the sensation of pressure? It's the only other thing I can think of. I don't know if they will test for this or how they would test for it.

      Over time, has the pressure changed in any way ie got worse? Have you double checked what was written on the MRI? No doubt the ENT has excluded an acoustic neuroma with the MRI, but it's worth reading through the results yourself just to make sure nothing has been missed.

      You didn't mention that your voice echoes in your right ear, does that mean that you don't hear any change in the loudness of your voice?

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    • Posted

      If you are unsure of the effect of flying on your ear, you can test this by going up a lift to the top floor of a very high building or driving to the top of any surrounding hills - if you have any. You can also go diving if you are near water, as the change in pressure from this would be similar, except with diving, you don't have to go any deeper if it becomes too uncomfortable. In a plane you obviously couldn't tell them to stop. If your tympanograms were normal and showed very little negative pressure, then it is highly unlikely that a change in pressure would be a problem as you would be able to pop your ears as the plane ascended or descended. If you are deperate, you could ask an ENT to perforate your ear drum to assess if there is any change in pressure. If there isn't then you know the sensation of pressure isn't coming from your eustachian tube/middle ear. The tympanogram should be able to tell you this though.

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    • Posted

      A patulous eustachian tube (a tube that stays open where it should be closing at times.) Usually you would notice your voice is loud and echoey in your head with a fullness in your ear.
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    • Posted

      Olizzieo, Thanks for all the effort to assist with finding the issue that I have.

      Well as far as for your questions,

      I don't got the audiogram tests, one of the ENT took them and I forgot to take it back. but, I will try to grab a copy. 

      I visited at a ENT proessor (head of ENT at one of the best hospitals in my country) and he also saw nothing in the audiogram.

      I don't clean my ears, just the external ear with a wet towel (since I know it might lead to wax issues).

      as for Wax softners, I had tried it - no success aswell.

      While I'm training at the gym, if I'm lifting heavy - I get this pressure buildup in my ear. I learned that while I'm trying to breath slowly, it decreses the pressure and I could continue training.

      I did also BERA exam (for the typani muscle) - with electrodes and some device that made a lot of noise - it came out fine aswell.

      The pressure had been decreced over time, but it's still there.

      THE ONLY THING THAT ASSISTED is taking some nasal spray (every 3 hours) - but it's not lasting long..

      The nasl spray is called "Alnase", it is made from  phenylephrine HCI, Naphazoline HCI and Mepyramine maleate.

      The relif is really really small, but there is one..

      I did double chacked the MRI and the CT aswell, but nothing there..

      I feel doomed sad

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    • Posted

      You havent mentioned tinnitus. Do you have tinnitus. When you lay down you feel relief it really does point to TMj  or frontal sinus and yeast can get in there. something pressing into the eustatian tube.  I know you went but im thinking  try a maxillary surgeon who specializes in tmj. They make soft thick mouthpiece.  Takes weeks to calm it down. And then a while before the inflammation decreases. They have TENS units you can look into as well for tmj, neck..etc.. 

      i had this was told retracted tube and i have tmj now i have tinnitus lately  so it can get worse. Not saying you will, saying my own experience. Hopefully it does calm and go away. It has for me before. Also a sign of fibromelagia but a rhematoid doctor would diagnose that. Sometimes it comes and goes  as well within a 2-3 month time frame. Mine restarted after the flu and yes it ruins the quality if life big time and causes anxiety and makes a mess. Theres so many possible causes for it. I had grommets twice ten years ago. Your doctor is right they fall out and it all restarts at some point only then you have scarring too, ballon procedure would be done if fluid was involved or something was found.

      i stopped flying for a while myself. I did fly with it but had issues and it became not worth the flight. 

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    • Posted

      I have blocked left ear. Driving me crazy. My voice sounds different. If i massage it. Clears for a bit.  

      I had failed nasal surgery on this side. Have very tiny ear tubes.

      They can't get endoscope up my nose on that side. Or see down ear very far.  I have it suctioned at crystal clear ears.  In march. 

      The pressure is painful and Annoying.  I have had sinusitis (a cold lasts 12 weeks). PND is bad. But I have dry nasal and ear tubes.  I feel like I am always at doctors. $$$. Rhon. Melb. Australia.  Normally this would be gone away.  

      Rhonda Melb. Australia

      Suggestions please

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    • Posted

      i also have all the same problems with my ears and have had all necessary test that show nothing is wrong. been to 7 ENT drs and they find nothing. i have done acupunture as well as chiro. im so frustrated and anxious all the time. Help

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  • Posted

    ForMartha, i am so sorry you are having problems. My experience was that my eustachian tubes became inflammed when i had sinus surgery.  I came out of surgery with both ears clogged. My guess is that yours became inflammed when you had a swollen lymph node. Mine lasted almost 4 yrs.  I was told that if they quit opening and shutting on their own, they seem to "forget" how to function. I had the ballon dilation, and it worked for me. My advice would be to wait it out a little longer and if you are trying to pop it by holding your nose, to stop and see if it will get better on its own.  I believe i was keeping mine irritated by continually trying to pop them open by holding my nose and blowing. I know how frustrating it is, try to stay positive-there are alot of things that may help you. 

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