Eustachian Tube Dysfunction or Otosclerosis. Please help!

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Hi. I have posted here before and someone suggested that I have ETD, judging by my symptoms. I then googled ETD and all of my symtpoms match (constantly blocked ears, severe pain during landing on a plane, a need to swallow in order to hear, random pain in ears and surrounding bones etc.). It all started around 3 years ago after an ear infection and has made my life very uncomfortable. I also have constant mucus build up in my nose and throat, which suggests an allergy. When I eat spicy food, especially raw chilli, my nose drains and my ears pop, which results in me regaining a perfect hearing.

I went to see a private ENT the other day and he diagnosed me with Otosclerosis. He performed an audiometry, which showed that I have a sudden drop in hearing at the mid frequency range in both ears. Right ear goes down to 30 dB at 1.5k Hz and gradually increases from 30 dB to 10 dB between 2k and 6k (perfect at the lows and very tops). Left ear is at 15 dB from 125-500 Hz, 40 dB at 1.5k-3k Hz and 15 dB at 4k-6k Hz (never perfect, but best at very top, and better at the lows). The doctor didn't perform any further tests and automatically concluded that I have Otosclerosis.

However, I know it doesn't fully add up. 1.) Otosclerosis does not normally cause any pain, and I often experience pain in both ears. 2.) The doctor did not explain or examine the mucus build up in my nose. 3.) He did not explain the severe sudden pain during a landing on a plane. 4.) He said that the improvement in my hearing when eating spicy foods is related to the increased blood flow to my brain, which results in higher levels of oxygen near my hearing nerve, which in turn makes me hear a bit better (but did not take into consideration that it causes my nose to fully drain). 5.) My ears feel stuffy, again, NOT a symptom of otosclerosis. 6.) Apparently, otosclerosis causes diminished hearing at lower frequnces rather than the mid and the high range?

I am not denying that I have Otosclerosis, however, I am almost convinced that I also have ETD. I have been checked by 3 doctors in the past 3 years and none of them diagnosed or even considered ETD. I am getting increasingly frustrated, as I feel that I am simply being overlooked and that I am not receiving the appropriate professional care that I am paying lots of money for. I am planning another visit to a different ENT, but before I do, any help would be very appreciated, as I am very concerned about my health right now.

Thank you!

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Alina, have you thought about going to a reputable accupuncturist ?  Being that you have improved hearing whenever you eat spicy foods, that wwould indicate it's not a structural problem inside the ear.  I want to preface by admitting I am no expert or authority on this subject, but I just would like to point out an alternative or something you might use in conjunction to what mainstrem medicene offers since not many physicians will. Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi Alina, what a mess!!!! Can you phone around and find an ENT that specialises in ETD? Balloon dilation of the eustachian tube is proving to be successful in many patients. Ask if the ENT that specialises in ETD performs balloon dilation. What country and city do you live in? In Australia balloon dilation is fairly new but in America there are more and more ENT's that are offering this treatment. Good luck. You know you are correct about ETD whether you also have otosclerosis or not. Good luck!!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Alina,

    There is another fairly rare condition that has many of the symptoms of ETD and Otosclerosis called Superior Canal Dehiscence.  Some people that are diagnosed with Otosclerosis have had Superior Canal Dehiscence.  You may want to read up a bit on this condition to see if your symtpoms match up.  Have you experienced any dizziness?  People with Superior Canal Dehiscence, often have audiometry that looks similar to that of Otosclerosis where results show reduced air conducted hearing at low freq.  This condition also often has ear fullness called aural fulness that feels like a blocked ear.  This would not explain the pain.  It also would not really explain the airplane landing pain.  I agree, that the airplane symtom matches better with ETD.  

    I would recommend to keep working with Drs.  It can take a few different Drs and visits to get the correct diagnosis. However, it is important to get the right diagnosis.

    Hope you get some answers.

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  • Posted

    Hi, i have or more so had ETD quite bad following a virus. Often ear issues start with the common cold sore herpes virus- when it goes dormant it actually resides in the middle ear awaiting a virus with similar baterium to pass through the body to kick start the herpes virus again. I am using sound therapy- retrains the slack inner ear vestibular muscle. Also, certain foods trigger amplified tinnitus and amplified pressure and pain in the ears. They have a small list on the vestibular assosiation page just google it. But for me it was dairy, soy and gluten- taken them out snd feel much better. As for the sinuses- that's an imflamitory response in the body. Again for my sinuses it was dairy and gluten but also figs set it off to. Worth looking into.

    Best of luck with it.


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