Clogged ears, tinnitus, and crackling when swallow

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hello All,

I have been suffering for about three weeks now with my ears feeling like they are stuffed up or full, tinnitus, and every time I swallow my ears sound like they are crackling. The stuffed up feeling moves from ear to ear but mainly stays in the left. That also happens with the tinnitus. it's very loud in the left ear but will move to the right or both at the same time. I have been able to pop my right ear once and it helped with my hearing. I have had random periods of runny nose or stuffed up. Does anyone have any suggestions on what could be causing this? I have been to an ENT who did an MRI and basically told me he has no clue why my hearing went down. I have been on prednisone for two weeks with no change in my symptoms. Any help is appreciated!

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23 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello again ShellBell,  I've replied to your comment regarding Tinnitus.  I'm so sorry you've joined the club with us all who suffer Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD).

    It's sounds to me as though you have allergies, again the same as me.  Try taking a daily Antihistamine (Citrizine) to see if they help.  Strange how the Prednisolone haven't helped to get rid of the mucus that's obviously blocking your tubes.  When it's prescribed for me I'm given a 20 reducing course which unblocks my left ear and clears up all the inflammation too.....maybe the course you were given wasn't long enough.  When ears are clogged that badly you need more.  If the prescription is given again and a longer course it must be reduced over days.  I tell everyone this on the Forum and not too sure whether they ask for them or not.  Some people let me know how they are getting on and others don't, which is fine.  I just hope they don't bother as they are better.

    I had a course of Prednisolone in April....worked wonders for me.  I then used a 6 weeks course of Flixonase Nasule Drops.  After those I reverted back onto my usual Flixonase Aqueous Nasal spray.  Just 4 days of being back on the spray my left ear blocked badly.  It crackled and I could hear squelching too, so I put myself back on the Nasule drops and within a day the ear cleared.  My smell and tasted returned too and at present all is well.  I'm only using them every other day and that seems to be working for me.  I've suffered ETD for years and years and back in 1994 due to this I contracted Bacterial Meningitis where the mucus turned nasty crossing the blood/brain barrier and caused the Pneumococcal Meningitis....such a dreadful time.  If the blocking of your ear turns into an earache, get yourself put on antibiotics, just to safeguard yourself.

    Blocked ears is the most awful thing to suffer !!

    Do you have sinus issues too ?  As I find that Post Nasal Drip can cause ETD.

    Do let me know how you get on.  What country do you live in as Rebecca on this Forum lives in the States and unfortunately, you cant get the Flixonase Nasule Drops over there.  However, they can be purchased on-line.  I googled it for her and our Lloyds Parmacy in England supplies them and not too expensive either.  Just hope a prescription isn't required to buy them.

    Keep me posted

    Regards Anne

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    • Posted

      Hello Anne,

      i was given a three week course of prednisone. I am on my last few days of it with no improvement. I was able to get my right ear to pop a little yesterday but of course is clogged again today. I am seeing a new ENT on Monday so hopefully he will have some new suggestions for me. I don’t really have bad allergies but I will get them every now and then. I am in the United States. I haven’t actually been diagnosed with ETD yet but doctor friend of mine says he thinks that’s what I have. I will hopefully find out Monday. 

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    • Posted

      Prednisone seems to help mine too.  If it's allergy related it should help at least some.  

      I take azelastine nasal spray, flonase (2x daily) and zyrtec.  They only help a little since my allergy symptoms are pretty much limited to my ears.  I am taking allergy shots to try to eliminate my allergies and in turn fix my ears.  

      My ears were clogged up more than open from January - April and of course I had the popping, crackling, pulling, clicking.  They slowly improved and eventually got to the point they were only mildly annoying.  I'm having a TMJ flare up now and they are driving me nuts.  

      Do you have any pain or pulling in front of your ears?  or any pain behind the ear?  

      I haven't tried this but my naturopathic doctor told me to do a eustachian tube massage (you tube has videos) with castor oil.  Apparently it's an anti-inflammatory.  Might be worth a shot.  She also has me taking Curcumin 375 mg. twice per day for inflammation (supposed to replace ibuprofen but I have to take a while for it to "kick in" and then stop the other).  

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    • Posted

      I am now on Flonase and zyrtec so hopefully that will give me some relief from the clogged feeling in my ears.

      If my ears get pretty stuffed up they ache a little bit but luckily they have been too painful. My biggest problem right now is the constant ringing. If I can get that to settle down I would be much happier.

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    • Posted


      They told you for sure, without a doubt, that your ringing was causes by ETD and not something else?

      I have ETD symptoms too. I'm taking Azelastine for it but my ENTs claim my tinnitus is not related to ETD, but mild hearing loss or hidden hearing loss. 

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    • Posted


      No, my doctor hasn't told me that the ringing is caused by ETD. He told me that it could be a result of mild hearing loss or the allergy problems I have been having.

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