Crackling in Ears - 7 Months - Diagnosis/Tips?

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My issue started in March, the same week I had to stop flying internationally each week for work (and the same week COVID shut everything down).

The first week I was home I had intense neck pain (neck issue is nothing new, but this was extraordinary). I went to the Dr. and they said I was having a neck spasm and sent me home with muscle relaxants and Naproxen. Neck spasm eased up but in the weeks following I started to notice a lot of crackling in my ears when I would be on conference calls. I thought it might be related to the weather or stress so I didn't worry too much. However, over the last seven months it has gotten considerably worse. At it's worst it is crackling with every word I say and every movement of my head. On those days I don't do much. I can speak a full sentence without hearing it, but as soon as I finish that last word... "cchhhhckhkkk". It is a sticky-crackling noise. It makes it hard to hear someone if they are responding to me immediately. It also makes me cut conversations short, or keep my input to a minimum. My right ear always feels "full", but it does seem like I am able to pop it. It also feels like something is very tight in behind my ear (in my head). When I am at yoga I can feel it when I turn my head up and to the left. But I never have any ear "pain", just feelings of tightness. No balance problems. I have noticed that the cracking is a lot worse when I am at home vs outside or out and about, but as soon as I stay still in an enclosed space it gets worse and worse. It is actually worse when it is quiet, or when my voice is the only noise. I notice it much less in crowded or noisy spaces. This has been driving me insane and I am often so overwhelmed I break down in tears (and weirdly enough, it seems better after a good cry).

It's probably also worth noting that I have flown once since this started, and it didn't seem to be a problem. No pain, and no change afterward. Oh, and I also had some kind of bronchitis in Feb, for which I took antibiotics (about a month before this started happening).

I have tried decongestants, antihistamines, a 5 day course of Prednisone, nasal steroid spray, eliminating most caffeine and dairy, physiotherapy, massage therapy, the muncie technique, and am currently going to a chiropractor (though not an upper cervical specialist). I have seen two ENTS. One was the most horrible doctor and barely listened to a word I said and just said I had to "deal with it". The other sent me for a CT to check for Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (the scan checked out - everything looked fine). They also both checked my hearing (it's fine), and checked for fluid and infection (none). Yesterday my GP reluctantly agreed to send me to an allergist after telling me that any further diagnostics won't be of any help and again that I have to live with it (what kind of Dr. says this???).

I am wondering if anyone else has these same symptoms. What helped some of you? Does this sound like ETD? Could this be something else? Is there hope for this to go away, or do I really need to learn how to "live with it"? What natural remedies could I try? Please help!

0 likes, 2 replies

2 Replies

  • Posted

    i totally understand what you are going thru.. im going thru the same exact thing. ive been to doctors and they have been no help!

  • Posted

    I have the same problem, ears crackle as I speak, usually at the end of words and sentences like you. I first had patulous Eustachian Tube Dysfunction 4 years ago which was related to my anxiety, whenever I became anxious it would come. It was devastating to my confidence, that eventually subsided on its own but now I'm left with this ETD. It makes it so difficult to live a normal life and can be maddening. I've tried the normal steroid, nasal spray, antihistamines, Even this saline water treatment, nothing has seemed to work. I suffer from Rhinitis and it's 100% connected to that, I think my Rhinitis is related to stomach acids, as I find if I don't eat for a while I have less mucus.

    This is a terrible ailment to suffer, any advice would be appreciated

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