Crackling and Fluid In My Ear

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Hi, can anyone help me with this?

More than 25 years ago I had an acute ear infection which completely blocked my ears with fluid. A second course of antibiotics eventually cured that and sudafed reduced the blockage but it has never gone away and is now getting worse.

I can't confirm any loss of hearing though I suspect it may be dulled. I have permanent crackling in both ears when I swallow and production of fluid in the left, which drains down the eustacian tube into the back of my throat. It is increasingly irritating and I am constantly trying to suck the stuff down but can never eliminate it. Symptoms are worst in winter but used to almost dissappear in protracted 30C + of heat.

I've seen several doctors about this over the years, yet learned nothing and have no diagnosis let alone a cure.

Any ideas?

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  • Posted

    Hi Rufus, Has the Doc ever said anything about a perforated eardrum? I think the sound of crackling caused by the pressure change in the ear that you get when you swallow (just like when people suck sweet on an Airplane to stop the Ears popping). The fact that you have you feel the fluid going down the back of your throat suggests to me that the infection has never really gone. It is Drying out when you have hot weather, but as you say, with winter cold and damp, it makes it worse again. Do you wear heaphones a lot of the time? As these seal off the ear, the cannal starts to become humid and warm, promoting the infection giving it ideal settings to grow. What meds did you get? Was it penicillin? Do you remember the first time you noticed a problem? Did the Doctor take a swab? Sorry about all the questions, just trying to pin point what it could be. Al
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    • Posted

      Hi pistal, thanks for your time and trouble. Both the docs ruled out any perforation, the first suggested a gromit, the next refused as they said the ear drums were not discoloured by contact with fluid. 

      It was a really bad infection, very painful and I could hardly hear anything for several days. I don't recall the names but the first antibiotic I was given didn't work. The second did, quite quickly, and subsequently I've followed a good few courses of antibiotics in the 25 or so years since this started, two of them hospital grade. The fluid is like colourless, odourless mucous and doesn't seem to be the result of infection, but perhaps over production.

      It's not so much a problem started as it never completely went away, my ears never dried up. Ear phones certainly do exacerbate the problem a little, but I don't really use them much.  No swab was ever taken, no. Hope that helps.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Rufus, This is a tricky one. You mentioned your eustacian tube, If there is a lot of fluid, perhaps it's blocked? It's a puzzle where you are getting all this extra fluid from. Do you suffer with hayfever or pet allergies or may be even colds. Sinus problems could play a big part, especially as you mentioned sudafed was having some results. Do you get any relief when you try Valsalva (where you try to pop you ears)? I believe there is even machines that you can buy online called "Ear Poppers" that some swear by to help blocked  eustacian tubes, but we don't know if they are blocked and these machines seem expensive (just had a look). From your writting, I take it you are in the UK? Have you ever tried ear candles? I har perferations in both Ears and they are constantly getting infected, am waiting for the first of two op dates to come through, but the reason I ask about the swab is because I had alot of fluid build up in the Left Ear, they put me on drops, then tablets, back to drops, it wasn't untill the swab they found it could only be treated with one type of medication. Its obviouse that there is something wrong that causes you to take the meds numerous times in a span over 25 years. I take it that one of your Docs have referred you to ENT?

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    • Posted

      Hi again. yes, I'm in the UK. The reason I think it's overproduction of fluid is that the eustation tube is anything BUT blocked. There's never a shortage of fluid draining into my throat, except when it was very, very hot. Opening up the tube by any method increases the flow but doesn't stop production. Maybe I just need an NHS funded life time convalesence in Cuba or Puerto Rico smile

      No hayfever and no pets, but an allergy is something I've never explored. The condition is so much residual from the infection I've never considered any other possibility. 

      I've had meds for numerous unrelated reasons over the years but given that they do not slect their target, antibiotics prescribed for one condition will necessarily affect another. So I rule out infection. besides, there is no pain and neither doctor or a nurse who once syringed my ears identified any infection.

       No, I've not been referred to an ENT specialist. The last doc I saw a few years ago just said I have to put up with it.

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    • Posted

      Just put up with it?? lol, great advert for the NHS, should be their slogan! Yeah I wonder if the give out perscriptions for Holidays? I seem to remember someone getting a funded Holiday because of depression in the News a while back. wink I would say you really need to push to go to ENT because this is really bothering you. At least there they have the means to clear it and have a propper look, you will probably get a hearing test too, As you know, it's hard to tell how your hearing has been affected as you have nothing to compare it with. I hope you get an appointment, and I hope your nearest ENT is not Portsmouth.

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  • Posted

    Hi rufus

    I had a really bad flu that ended with a middle ear infection.  2 rounds of antibiotics and 2 rounds of penicilin didn't help the deathness, popping, crackle, etc.

    Yesterday my doc put a musical tuning fork ( I don't know what note) on the centre of my forehead.  I could hear it as clear as a bell with my death ear and hardly at all with the other ear.  Within seconds I was swallowing yucky stuff.  My ears continued to drain for the next 8 hours with 2 major mouthfuls and 2 significant dizzy spells.

    Today my ears aren't completely better but they are 80% improved.  I have ordered my own tuning fork and will treat myself when it turns up next week.

    I hope this helps and wish my doc had tried it weeks ago.

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