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So I’ve been dealing with an issue for over a year now where my ears constantly pop (as if you’re in an airplane). There is pain in my ears associated with the popping, and both occur constantly, all day, every day, nonstop. The popping started back in October 2016 and has been going on every single day since (I suspect it was from a flight I took a few months prior, but to be honest, it’s just a hunch. This whole thing really came out of nowhere). From what I’ve gathered and due to symptoms, it seems to be Eustachian Tubular Dysfunction, but after meetings with ENT specialists and unsuccessful cure attempts, my doubts continue to linger. It’s also been brought up that it could be TMJ, but due to the ear popping and pain, I would not think that would be the case. The popping is something I can deal with; the pain, however, is very bothersome and makes life quite miserable no matter what I do (it’s quite painful at times).
· Ear popping: multiple times a minute (15, give or take. Fluctuates. Regardless, the point is that it’s A LOT). Typically, what happens is the right ear pops immediately followed by the left ear popping.
· Constant ear pain: the best way to describe it is a stinging pressure. It’s as if something is inside my ears is trying to escape out of my eardrums. If I had to guess, the pain is mostly associated in my left ear (and if I had to guess even further, I want to say that my left Eustachian tube is blocked/pinched somehow, causing all of this). But either way, both ears experience pain and are equally discomforting.
· Throat pain: this is a bit odd, but I also feel pain/pressure in the very back of the throat. It’s hard to describe, but it somehow feels related to it all and is in sync with this.
· No liquid/puss: There is no liquid buildup of any sort behind my eardrums, as observed by the ENT specialists. This has made tracking down the true cause quite difficult.
· Depression: I’m typically a very happy dude. I know my mindset is all there, but this is finding ways to impede my emotions and lifestyle, and has succeeded in doing so.
· Flonase/nasal spray
o Also have used a corticosteroid & antihistamine spray multiple times
· Neti pot: of all the remedies, this seems to be on the best track of working. But still leads to a dead end
· Valsalva Maneuver (hold nose, then blow through nose): I’ve done this hundreds of times, but it’s also recommended not to do. I’ve not done it hard enough to rupture an eardrum/cause more damage, so no worries there
· Toynbee Maneuver (hold nose, close mouth, swallow): I have done this with water (also salt water)
· Earpopper: This is an FDA approved item that is basically a mechanized Valsalva Maneuver.
· ENT: I’ve seen over 6 specialists, each with different approaches and guesses (one told me it would resolve itself within 1-2 months. You can imagine the frustration). After meeting with each person multiple times, they are baffled as what to do next
o One recommended an allergy test, I have yet to follow through with this
· CT Scan: I think this is what was done. It was performed at the ENT building.
· Myringotomy (small incision made into eardrum): performed on my left ear. No change in symptoms
o Also considered getting tubes put in, but didn’t think it would be effective
I’m just desperate to figure out a cure. I truly think it’s something simple and we just have yet to discover the cause and relieve it. This constant pain makes the simplest of tasks very difficult for I have to really concentrate and motivate myself to push through the pain and keep moving on. If anybody at all can relate to this, or they think they have an idea of what may be happening here, I beg you to reach out with your suggestions. I’m all ears! Pun intended
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