Horrible ear problem

Posted , 37 users are following.

I have had this problem with my ears for about 8-9 years now (I'm 16) - I never thought much of it and it never bothered me that much when I was younger but it's starting to become more of a problem now.

Basically, I feel like I constantly have pressure in my ears. If I take a very deep breath abruptly through my nose, I can do what feels like 'sucking' the 'pressure' (?) deeper into my inner ear, and if I yawn or hold my nose and blow, I can do the opposite. I have become pretty good at controlling this, however when I yawn without meaning to it can be quite annoying - as it is not only uncomfortable, but it also changes the volume of everything I hear. 'sucked in' = quiet, muffled noise... 'pushed out' = unusually loud noise. I find it more comfortable to keep this pressure 'sucked in' so this is what I do the majority of the time.

The trouble is, unlike other people who can pop their ears after flights etc. to equalise the pressure, I don't seem to be able to do this. I hold my nose and blow as hard as I can, but this 'pressure' reaches a point where it is pushed out (away from the inside of my head) and will physically not go any further. I'm not sure if it is literally not possible for me to push any harder or whether it is the fear of damaging my ear drum or something inside my ear that is stopping me from pushing it. When I push out the pressure, I hear clicks and strange sounds that sound like they are underwater.

As I mentioned, this didn't bother me much when I was younger, but now I have realised that it is making me quite an introverted person - it amplifies the sound of my voice and makes it sound really low (when I listen to recordings it's not as low) and muffles the sound of other people talking so I often don't hear what other people are saying to me and have to ask them to repeat multiple times. The combination of not liking the amplified sound of my own voice and the fact that I have muffled hearing of external sounds makes me not want to talk to people very much and so I have become really shy and I will avoid saying a lot when people ask me questions.

I have visited a specialist about this, however he simply suggested that it was due to the structure of my skull and eustachian tubes not being completely right and this causing an imbalance of pressure which I cannot correct, but he told me that I would probably grow out of it, and prescribed some nasal drops to relieve the discomfort. I have had this problem for nearing 10 years now, so I don't feel like I am going to grow out of it, and the nasal drops didn't help. One thing he did tell me from a test he ran was that my ear drums are apparently quite tight and more 'sucked in' than they should be. So is this the eardrum that I can feel moving every time I try to adjust the pressure?

I don't know what to do, my parents spent £300 on a specialist appointment, just to be prescribed some nose drops and the problem is really starting to affect me, both in my social life and studies, since the muffled sound makes it so hard to concentrate on what teachers are saying.

If anyone knows anything (i.e. what this problem could be, is it common, are there any treatments) then please help; I am willing to do anything.

Thanks in advance

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  • Posted

    Hi charlotte1, 

    I have had the same problem now for over 10 years.   I too hold my nose and pressurize slowly to avoid blowing out my eardrum, and I hear a soggy pop, with the purpose of opening my eustachian tube to help drain my middle ear.   Otitus Media.   But that is only treating a symptom, like blowing your nose to clear it, it just fills up again.   I have read a lot and spent many hours to solve my pain.  I even had a surgical operation under anesthesia to clean out my right nostril.  The surgeon found no problems.   It was disappointing.   Over the years, the pain has dissipated, yet a recent minor cold has come and gone and left me with sinusitus buildup, pressure, and minor pain in my right ear yet again.  When I swallow, I can sense the build up in my throat.   I am trying an Allergy Avoidance Diet to stop my nasal flow.   I just started yesterday.   I hope that it works.    The diet restricts allergens:  dairy, soy, corn, eggs, wheat, nuts, shellfish, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and cirtrus, all the good stuff.    The Allergy Diet allows lamb, pears, apples, rice, most vegetables, most beans and legumes, non-gluten grains (millet, quinoa, and amaranth).  Sweeteners maple syrup or brown rice syrup.

    Beverages rice milk, pear nectar, chamomile tea, and water.

    Given your age, you may outgrow a small drainage tube opening.   Low grade long term antibiotics may help if you can find the right dr that will allow it.  But it may return.  I am hoping for a long term fix.

    Good luck.

    Mike

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  • Posted

    charlotte1

    For some time when I was about your age, I had a similar issue with my ears/eustachian tube etc.  Mine started when I stopped smoking; and was horrible. I went to an Allergy Specialist who only wanted to do 'patch test' to see what I was allergic to and give me multiple shots in my butt. That almost crippled me. I found a little OLD ENT Dr. who was approx. 80 yrs. Old - went into his office (very old) and couldn't understand a word the man said, but at this point, he couldn't have done anything worse than the allergist had done to me.  What he did was: my eustachian tube was plugged up - and he put his thumb into my mouth and pressed REALLY hard (hurt but didn't care if it cured me) in the back of my upper mouth where it begins to get soft (past the bone/cartledge) and it popped a mess of mucus out and told me to 'snort' salt water for several days. He did this to me twice and I have been great for years.  Occasionally, I will get stopped up ears (hearing myself talk again) and I do the salt water trick and it washes out that mucus AND I take Sudafed Decongests (not antihistamine) - tiny red tablets while I feel the stopped up ears. It cures it again!

    I know this sound gross but it works - at this point, you may try the salt water in the nose to see if this works.

    Good luck and hope you feel better!

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  • Posted

    Hi Charlotte,

    Did you have any success in resolving your problem?

    I am 25 and have the exact same problem as you. I always thought I just haf bad hearing but now realise its not normal to have this 'sucked in' pressure and it was that that was making my hearing bad.

    I am trying to leave them 'pushed out' but I find it really irritating and find they easily get 'sucked in' when I sniff. Hopefully this will change by leaving them 'pushed out' for longer periods,

    Kind regards,

    Joe

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    • Posted

      Hello Joe, 

      just wondering how it has gone for you leaving your ears pushed out? I'm 22 and have had this problem for as long as i can remember. I went running today which is a lot of breathing and a lot of my ears opening up, so I was trying to do a little research and found this. I've always thought if I just got used to my ears being open everything would be easier but it just feels too funny and everything is too loud. Just checking to see if you had any luck.

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    • Posted

      Hello Evan,

      I'm sorry you have to live with this too.  I am 52 years old and have lived with this since I was 7 years old. I remember when it first happened after  bad ear infection and I learned to suck the air in to relieve the tunnel and loudness.  I never understood why people wanted to pop their ears because it is so annoying for me.  I have had to learn to be "sly" to suck the air back in as I was made fun of as a child and I didnt know how to explain it. Sometimes I have to leave them out when I'm in a situation where I will be noticed. I hate the tunnel effect but have learned that my voice really does not change.  Currently I have a sinus problem.  The thing I so dread because equalizing everything takes much longer.  And unfortunately one of my children has this same problem.  She had ear infections when she was very little.  Luckily I was able to understand what her problem was and explain what to do.  No one else gets it.  I tried to explain to my boyfriend of 5 years what is wrong with my ears and he looks at me like im nuts and says Oh mine get plugged up too!  I just dont' tell people.  Glad to see that my daughter and  have company but sorry it happens to others.  Do you get the ringing in the ears as well?

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    • Posted

      You know come to think of it I constantly had ear infections as a kid growing up, I guess that might be the cause of it? Seems like every month I had some terrible earache. I wish I remembered the time where It first happened to me. Yeah it's always hard explaining to people the feeling, no one gets it. Even doctors I feel like...I have also started to have ringing in my ears randomly over the past year, never had that before. Just randomly happens and freaks me out. Also on the sucking the air back in thing I just don't care anymore I just always make a fist and bring it up like I'm about to sneeze or cough and just suck quietly. Thankfully it's so natural now I don't even think about the sucking back in anymore. Thanks for the reply!
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    • Posted

      Evan,

      I was doing some more research.  Look up patulous estachian tubes.  It sure sounds like what is wrong with us.  There are treatments, one of which we already do  "sniffing."  Finally after 40 something years I think I may have an answer.  

       

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    • Posted

      I also have this constant tunnel feeling everytime I yawn and doctors never have any idea what I was talking about. But I think it is either pET like you said or eustachian tube dysfunction. I get the occassional slicking sound when I suck the pressure back in.
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    • Posted

      Come to think of it. I remember having an extremely bad ear ache as a kid... I wonder if that is what caused all of us to have this issue... I really wish there was a cure
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  • Posted

    I think that this might be Patulous Eustachian Tubes (PET) Look more into this and see if it matches your symptoms ... PET is when your Eustachian tube, which normally only opens for a second to equalize pressure, is stuck open
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  • Posted

    Just came on here as I never came up with a short term way of coping with this horrible ear thing. I've had this since I was very young since having grommets put in and wen the opening closing thing happens I get head aches but just lived with it but today I was to hot and bothered to cope so came on here I just tried that thing what somebody on here said about pressing in the roof of ur mouth and it worked the opening an closing went yay. ☺️ But I still have I lingering head ache 😔 But I'll cope !! Thanks for the advice helped a lot 👍🏻.
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  • Posted

    Hi Charlotte, I have the same thing. It's horrible and no ear doctor has ever been able to help me. If you've found out any solutions, please let me know!

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  • Posted

    I've had this problem since I was a kid too, currently 17. What I've found lately is that I'm annoyed with sucking in the pressure after I yawn because it affects my hearing by almost half, so for the past week I've been yawning and just letting the pressure go without sucking in again.

    Its very aggitating at first because of the volume change but you'll forget it after a minute or so, your brain'll just adjust everything for you like it does when a baby is first born. By doing this, you even out the pressure in your head as it is outside, and you'll hear better. Honestly doctors have never helped me. I just had to figure this out on my own.

    Whether everyone is like this I don't know, but it feels way better to release the pressure once and yawn without it popping every time, than to have to keep sucking in. When we suck in I think it bends our eardrums inwards (the doctor told me mine were like that), and I think it's more of an issue to suck in than it is to fix once you think about.

    Please try this. It'll be weird at first but you'll better.

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