Does this sound like eustachian tube dysfunctin or swimmers ear? help!

Posted , 5 users are following.


Hoping someone on this forum has gone through something similar or is able to provide advice. This was longer than intended, so a big THANK YOU to anyone who reads the entire novel.

I'm on day 5 of my left ear feeling blocked - as if it needs to pop - but to no avail. I've tried pinching my nose and swallowing, yawning, chewing gum, taking a steam, massaging my face. Still blocked. It feels full, like there is pressure on it, but it doesn't hurt, no discharge, no fever, and no sore throat. The only time I feel pain is if I'm chewing on something hard, or after coughing there is a slight dull ache.

I have pretty bad seasonal allergies every year - sneezing 20+ times in a row, non stop runny nose - you get the picture. Because of other chronic health issues, I don't normally take antihistamines, and opt to just suffer through it.

For the first two days the issue was very slight, not interfering my day to day and I attributed it to sinus pressure. On the morning of the third day, however, I blew my nose (maybe too forcefully?) and immediately I noticed a change in sensation. I can hear out the ear but it's very uncomfortable to speak, as internally, my own voice sounds very amplified in that ear, and has an almost echo-y quality to it.

I had a virtual visit with my GP as due to covid, the office isn't accepting patients. Without being able to actually examine my ear, he suggested both a prescription strength antihistamine + decongestant, along with a 3 day course of neomycin ear drops. I am very cautious about putting anything in my ears as my ears are very important to my line of work, but he said he would only recommend oral antibiotics (my personal preference) if I developed a fever.

So here I am on day 5 and no improvement. My doc seemed to think it was swelling of the eustachian tube due to allergies but that treating the outer ear would prevent an infection. My biggest concern is that maybe through all the sneezing and nose blowing I ruptured or tore my eardrum and the drops are going to cause permanent damage, but I don't know how to tell if that's the case having not been examined.

At this point I'm just very uncomfortable and don't know how long it takes for this sort of thing to resolve, especially since I don't know what's going on! ANY advice is much appreciated. I don't know if I need to give it more time or if I should be looking for an ENT at this point.

0 likes, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Sammie

    I've had ETD for a while now and can certainly empathise with you . I also have a degree of sensoneural hearing loss which makes life interesting!

    Firstly, ETD can take a long time to rectify itself so please be patient. We're talking weeks and months.

    Secondly, it's very unlikely that you damaged your ear drum by blowing your nose so i should definitely stop worrying about that. If your ear drum had ruptured you would definitely know about it!

    The sound of your own voice etc sounds a little like patuous Eustachian Tube syndrome where the ET stays open.

    However, I find the sound of my voice very disconcerting with 'regular' ETD, but over time I've got used to it.

    I've tried many things to improve my condition - steroid nasal sprays, saline drops, steam inhilation etc but none of them really work for me.

    I can say that it does improve with time and though it's easier said than done, try not to obsess about it and try to keep off web sites trying to find a miracle cure!

    I have found that if I don't focus on it it doesn't bother me so much. The chances are that it will rectify itself anyway with time.

    I really hope your condition improves quickly and keep on keeping the faith.

    All the very best


  • Posted

    pinch your nose and blow a bit. ....until you get relief. i think when you blew nose, eardrum got retracted inside. so just blow while pinching nose. it might open ET.

    • Posted

      Thanks for the replies. I had considered that maybe the eardrum got retracted, adding to my aversion to the drops. As I'm on day two, i figure i will finish the course and see if by some chance it helps (is it safe to use drops with a retracted drum?). I've tried pinching my nose and blowing but that didn't work either. Is a retraction something that will eventually work itself out or are there risks with it being unresolved? My doctor will be back in office on the 15th but I'm not sure how much longer i can deal with this. Today I'm starting to feel a lot of pain in my jaw, likely from trying to resolve this and making it worse.

  • Posted

    Dear Sammie & James,Very sorry to see that you've joined the club. I've had the condition you both describe for over 4 years,with slight varying differences.It does sound like swimmers ear,but we are unable to blow it out,but do find that very gentle blowing does help ,but not very much.Like you I've got a slightly runny nose & it's started to affect my hearing,clarity wise. I've had 2 MRI which show nothing at all & the doctors response is that to quote them "it could be just in your mind" When the pressure is at it's worst I just have to lie down until it subsides. I find flashing or very bright lights & excessive noise to be intolerable.What the doctors seem unable to grasp is the difference between pain & pressure.I have no actual pain,but the pressure continues to blight my life.

    When I see the pain & poverty of others I certainly don't need some well meaning person to point out to me how lucky I am.

  • Posted

    BTW, I did have swimmer's ear, and while it's gone now, the clicking is not. Will this go away?

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