Ear Pressure, Dizziness/Woozy feeling and imbalance. ETD ?

Posted , 24 users are following.


My problems started exactly one year ago. I started having this woozy feeling which is somewhat hard to describe. Its like my head is heavy.Its almost constantly there, and i can always feel it in the background, its like a mild wooziness in the frontal part of my head. around the same time i also developed ear blockage that wouldnt seem to go away, ive tried countless medications for that. 

Ive always had spring allergies so i thought it had come early that year, and visited my ENT who started me on corticosteroid sprays and a mucolytic, but the problem just persisted and wouldnt go away. ear pressure(mainly in left ear) + dizziness + a sensitiviy to loud sounds + imbalance when walking(feels strange) although i must mention i never fell down or anything. I would wake up in the morning and sounds would feel just annoying in my ear( doors closing/ knives+forks dropping on plates .. etc). 

Fast forward to this day, and i have visited over 6 different ENT specialists and 1 Neurology specialist. I had done a CT, MRI, an EEG and some bloodwork. All came back normal. I have tried countless medications, from antibiotics to corticosteroid sprays to Betacerc and finally anti anxiety medication. Ive been on anti anxiety medication for 2 weeks now, still cant tell if my symptoms are getting better .. 

To summarize : 

1 year of dizziness, ear pressure , sensitivity to sound , and feeling of dysequilibrium. final diagnosis is Anxiety. 

Could it be ETD ? i have no negative pressure value in my ear upo examination( normal tympanometry result) and no retracted tympanic membare on otoscopy. Does that rule out ETD ? or could the Eustachian tube be blocked without having signs on examination ? 

This past year was not easy, this has had a huge impact on my life and its my first time posting here. I would love to hear everyones opinion, each and every reply is highly appreciated.  

Thank you

PS: I thought i must mention, im a medical student in my final year. so specific medical info is highly appreciated too smile.

0 likes, 61 replies

61 Replies

Prev Next
  • Posted


    No I don't have a diagnosis as yet but have yet another consultants appointment in February.

    I'm guessing they'll say Menniers again as it seems the easy option! Other consultants have disagreed!

    I haven't found anything on the net that states the fullness /pressure in the ear is a permanent condition rather that its comes just before a vertigo attack in menniers. Mine has been continuous now for a year!

    Any one have any thoughts on this?


    • Posted

      Hi Carmen, can you give me a very detailed account of your symptoms, any tests you have had - particularly hearing test, tympanometry and speech discrimination. Do you have an asymmetry in hearing or speech discrimination? Have you had an MRI? Does anything relieve your symptoms?
    • Posted

      Hi Carmen,

      Based on my research, ear fullness also called Aural Fulliness is a common symptom of many vestibular disorders.  You mentioned meniere's.  Have you had vertigo (room spinning) attacks lasting longer than a couple of minutes?  This is common symptom of Meniere's disease.  

    • Posted


      Yes I've had vertigo that's lasted 4-5 hours but "one off's" and I've had Two which were Twelve months appart. My consultant diagnosed migraine with vertigo as there is a family history . He dismissed menniers because of my age. I'm 61 and was told you can't develop menniers after the age of 50.

      I've had a MRI scan which came back normal and have seen a neurologist who "suspects" migraine but not sure as I rarely get headaches or other common related symptoms .

      I've had the balance test too also passed with flying colours.

      I've had tinitus for Thirty years which has been quite mild however since the fullness in my left ear started last year it's much louder with a different tone alongside the one I already had. Also my hearing deteriorated in that ear.

      For Eight months the hearing loss and fullness was intermittent lasting a few days or weeks and my hearing returned to normal. However since June last year it's been continously full again with hearing loss .

      The latest has been ive been given a hearing aid . Whilst this has had no positive affect on my fullness and tinitus it's obviously improved my hearing and the fullness isn't so apparent which has taken the focus off of it. So more comfortable and I don't feel so off balance.

      So that's my story so far!

      My apointment with the consultant has now been pushed back till March so have to see what happens next!

  • Posted

    Update :

    I visited an otology consultant yesterday. I was put through many tests (ETF, tympanometry, audiogram,ecog .. etc). Results said i have a partial ETD in my left ear, plus some other results which lead to a diagnosis of Menier's Disease.

    Although im still not 100% convinced with the diagnosis, im happy that there are findings now and tests dont come back normal. Ive clearly explained to the doctor that my dizziness is NOT vertigo. And it doesnt come in attacks/episodes , and that i also dont have tinnitus nor hearing loss. He said regardless, menier's doesnt always have the typical triad of symptoms and that this could be simply called atypical Menier's. He put me on a diuretic, a steroid decongestant and an oral decongestant. He advised me to start a low sodium/caffeine diet and asked to see me next week.

    Could menier really come with my clinical picture ? Ear pressure + sensitivity to sound + continuous imbalance/dizziness.

    Best regards

    • Posted

      I am so glad you have got some answers. You can always take your results to a few other ENT's for second and third opinions. I regularly see clients who have been diagnosed with Meniere's or atypical Meniere's. When they go and get other opinions they are often diagnosed differently. I think the main thing to do is to trust this ENT for now. Try what he says and see if it helps. If he is correct, it should make some difference. I see clients that are diagnosed with Menieres that don't have the typical symptoms. Not sure if they are misdiagnosed or don't have the typical symptoms???? There are lots of grey areas which is shown by the varied opinions of some brilliant ENTs. Please let us know how the treatment goes. I hope you see changes quickly!!

    • Posted

      Hi M992,

      I understand your reservation about your diagnosis.  Getting a proper diagnosis for a vestibular condition can be a process.  It can take going through several treatments and Drs.  I tend to agree that your symptoms don't match well with Menier's since you don't have episodes and have fairly constant dizziness symptoms.  It also doesn't seem to explain your sensitivity to noise.  However, you probably need to follow the process and give the Drs advise a try.  If it helps then great, if it doesn't I would still suggest pushing for the temporal bone CT scan.  I think SCDS is a much better fit of your symptoms.   It is definately more rare.  However, it can be tested for to rule it out or in.  FYI,  many people with SCDS have been thorugh incorrect diagnosis several times as part of the process.   People with minor SCDS symptoms often have to go through treatments for alergies, MAV, and Menier's, before getting the right testing and diagnosis.  I suggest being patient but not giving up until you find a treatment that works or a conclusive diagnosis.   FYI, my understanding about Mienier's is that hearing loss develops over time and is more prominant long term.  

    • Posted

      Maybe ask the ENT why they don't think it is SSCD/SCDS. That way you will learn a bit more about why they do think it is Menieres.

    • Posted

      Im definitely going to take that CT, i did mention it to the doctor last time and he said he just wants to try and stick with the treatment he prescribed first and if things didnt get better he does have it in mind.

      May i ask how your symptoms started and whats the main conplaint that had you visiting doctors in the first place ?

    • Posted

      Thanks for your words man, appreciate it.

      So far im doing bad actually, the treatment is simply not working. I didnt mention he also put me through 2 chair trestment sessions, where they treat bppv as he said hes suspecting bppv too.

      I have a follow up appointment on sunday and plan on sticking to the treatment for now.

      I will report back. Cheers!

    • Posted

      Did he say why he isn't scanning you for semi circular canal dehiscence?

    • Posted

      Hi M992,

      I have chated with many people who have SCDS and found that symptoms vary quite a bit.  For me, I had a mild dizziness that started from barely noticable.  Eventually, this annoyed me enough that I asked my general Dr. He referred me to Neurologist and got an MRI, ruled out a few conditions.  He requested some more tests, but I didn't follow up.  Then a few years later, I woke up one morning with fullness in my ear and it felt like I had water stuck in my ear.  I could hear myself in my ear when I spoke.  I made an appointment with an ENT a few days later when it didn't get any better.  He did his thing and one test came back very strange.  The tuning fork test.  When placed anywhere on my head, I could hear it loudly in my affected ear.  I was then sent for hearing test that came back totally normal.  He explained that my symptoms might be caused by perilymph fistula. Never mentioned SCDS but suggested I get a CT scan.  Same day I got the scan he called me later with the findings.  I went back for a confirmation test called a VEMP which showed an abnormal result in my affected ear.  Then a few years later, could start to hear heartbeat, eye movements etc.  I also developed the sensitivity to noise like plates, silverware, clapping for a year, but it has mostly gone away for the last few months (glad to not be carrying around ear plugs anymore).

      I have hear of others that get all the symptoms at once but for me they developed gradually over time.  Some people can remember an event where the dehiscence is triggered and others not. Some people only have dizziness and others only autophony.  This condition mimics many other vestibular conditions making it a difficult diagnosis especially when only some or minor symptoms are present.  I was lucky in that my first ENT was able to make the diagnosis.

    • Posted

      Hi, sorry to bother you, I have been having some of the symptoms you describe for about 6 months now. Saw ENT three weeks ago and she agreed with my GP and says probably ETD but is sending me for an MRI to rule out acoustic neuroma. I don't think I have ETD but do think I may have SSCD. I am going to request a CT scan. May I ask what if any treatment you have had.

    • Posted

      Hi Maria,

      The only good treatment for SCDS is surgery. So far, I have been trying to put this off. I am just trying to live with the symptoms for now. I am researching and looking into options and surgeons in case needed. It is really no bother, if you want to discuss your symptoms. Testing for this condition is very specific. I am happy to try and answer any questions.

    • Posted

      Hi, would you suggest I ask for a CT scan as well as the MRI I'm waiting for? I don't have the symptoms of dizziness only the auditory ones in my left ear, ear fullness, dull hearing (hearing test showed slight hearing loss) pulsate tinnitus and when I move my head I can hear the bones in my neck moving. Five GPs have said I have ETD and the ENT scared me to death (still terrified) when she very casually said it could be a tumour. SCDS in the first condition I have come across that fits perfectly. May I ask how long you've had it and how it affects your life? Thanks so much for the reply.


    • Posted

      Hi Maria, There are several good tests. MRI is not very useful for SCDS but is often ordered to rule out other conditions. The ct scan is a very good test but requires special instructions. It is a high resolution scan of the temporal bones. The next good test is called oVEMP or cVEMP. This test helps to confirm SCDS. A good hearing test is also useful. With SCDS patients normally have bone conduction hearing that is much better than normal. Finally, a simple test can be performed with a tuning fork. Hard to cover all these in one reply. This condition definitely affects me a lot. Hearing my own voice is very annoying. I could go on and on. I am sorry to hear you having similar symptoms. Let's keep in touch. Not sure if there is a way to add you as a friend here. I know it can be difficult to find someone that can relate. I have had this for about 11 years and the auditory symptoms for about 6 years.

    • Posted

      Hi, I am definitely going to speak to my GP about this next week, until I came across the symptoms online it has never been mentioned but fits perfectly. My GP told me that hearing the bones in my next is normal wear and tear. Yeah right. I'll definitely let you know what happens. Thanks again.


    • Posted

      You will probably need to see a different Dr. A GP will not be able to run these test or make this diagnosis. You need to see a

      Ear nose and throat Dr also called Otolaryngologist (good)

      Otologist (better)

      Curious if can hear your eyes move.

    • Posted

      For a few months every time I turned or moved my head it sounded like rice krispies popping and cracking.  It was so loud I just couldn't believe no one around me could hear it.  After 3 1/2 mos. of physical therapy with myofasical release, dry needling, head/neck/shoulder exercises, TMJ treatment, splint therapy, antihistamine and steroid nasal sprays the crackling is finally down to a minimum.  I don't know what helped the most but something finally made it better.  My PT thinks it was tight muscles stretched over the bones.  I was having muscle spasms all over my back,shoulders, neck (front and back), back of head and in my face.  Those are down to a minimum too.  

    • Posted

      Hi there - not sure if you will get this b/c I see the date says 4 years ago but... how do they treat you for the SCDS? Do you find relief at all? Significant relief or just eh? Did you have to have surgery or are they just treating the symptoms? Thank you so much.

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.