Techniques to unclog the ears

Posted , 4 users are following.

Background: My girlfriend attempted suicide via Atenolol and Aspirin but thankfully failed. She woke up with tinnitus which lasted about a month, but now has gone away. 

Now it's 7 months later and she's complaining of "clogged ears". We did get a cat about a month ago, so maybe it's allergies

She can unclog her ears any time she wants by doing one of two things:

1) Putting her head between her knees while sitting. It immediately unclogs her ears. Once she sits back up, it will stay unclogged until she swallows; at that point, her ears get re-clogged.

2) Pinching her nose and swallowing. This also unclogs her ears and they remain unclogged indefinitely until she swallows normally (without pinching the nose). Her ears then become clogged again. 

Today I just picked up some Clariton for her. She took one pill about 5 hours ago, but so far no effects. 

Anyone have similar symptoms or any idea what could be causing this? And of course if anyone has any solutions, that would be great. I'm considering buying a neti pot tonight. 

0 likes, 8 replies

8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello John,

    Sorry to read that your girlfriend is suffering, just like many more of us on this


    Sadly there seems no cure for Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.  I've suffered

    over 30 yrs.  Mine is due to Sinusitis, Rhinitis and Allergies.

    I take a daily Citrizine and use Flixonase Nasule Drops.  My ears have been

    clear since April with only the occasional blocking which I can usually sort

    out through pinching nostrils together and blowing.  Mine got so bad back

    in April this year I had a perforated left eardrum with severe blocking.

    I was prescribed a 20 reducing course of Prednisolone Steroid Tablets

    that worked for me....even reducing my Tinnitus to a low pitched whistle.

    If your girlfriend doesn't suffer the same conditions it's hard to know why

    her ears have suddenly blocked for no reason.  The cat could most certainly

    be the problem though as they are for me other things.

    If you're in the US I don't think you're able to get the Flixonase Nasule Drops,

    however, I know you'll be able to get the Flixonase Aqueous Nasal Spray.

    Because I've used that for so many years it no longer works for me, but the

    Nasules do.

    Be careful of using the Neti Pot while her ears are blocked.....usually these

    nasal rinses are only good for cleaning the nose of any allergens, but I don't

    think will actually help to unblock her ears.

    Get her to do a Steam inhalation, with boiling water in a bowl and towel over her head

    for at least 20 minutes....then try and pop them....sometimes works for me

    and the tubes work again.

    It's such an awful condition to suffer and I wish her well and hope she finds

    something that works for her.

    Google Eustachian Tube Dysfunction to see if there is anything else that

    could potentially help.




    • Posted

      Hi Anne thanks for the reply. Upon more research, it seems her eustacian tubes are actually too open, not closed. Seems like patulous eustacian tube dysfunction. since the "clogged" feeling resolves with her head between her knees. and yes, very little treatments for this. gonna avoid caffeine and try to keep her hydrated (which she's awful at).

    • Posted

      Hello again,

      I think that Patulous is worse than what I suffer....I've experienced that a few times

      and Ican't even pop to open.  Strange how our ears work. 

      The best of luck and be as kind as possible, as it's a really horrible complaint to

      have to put up with.


    • Posted

      Hello John, I have PET.  It can be officially diagnosed by an audiologist if they use the correct testing procedure (be careful and make sure they know what to do before making an appointment).  A good ENT will also know the technique to see the eardrum moving on respiration but again, not all do it properly - I have seen two eminent ENTs here in Melbourne and only the second performed the procedure correctly.  Both agreed, however, with my diagnosis of PET. The critical piece of information for the first ENT was that my symptoms went away when lying down (venous congestion closes the tube).  He suggested I try to put on weight which I did but it made no difference (I have significant other health issues) BUT a young man with whom I had communicated on this forum wrote back some time later, in jubilation, to say that he had managed to put on weight and it had fixed his problem.  I am thinking that if PET is indeed your girlfriend's problem, she may have lost weight when she was so unhappy and maybe weight gain may be her solution.  Just a few kg can make a difference.  I hope this has been helpful.


    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply, Maureen. It definitely sucks. I think it bothers me more than it does her. She has different levels of PET. Do you? Sometimes it's not a loud echo in her head, so it's not very noticeable. Sometimes it's pretty bad. Last night it mysteriously went away for hours. Trying to figure out what we did differently. We did go out in the car for a ride with the windows down, so I'm thinking that possible the air pressure from the car ride had something to do with it. So strange.

    • Posted

      I don't think, John, that I could describe what I have as 'different levels'.  Sometimes, however, I notice it more.  If I am more active, bending to do this and that, it goes into the background to some degree.  The loud respiration is more noticeable if I am sitting or standing still (head not moving perhaps) and strangely I don't seem to notice it when I have a phone to that ear but it will be really noticeable when I stop the conversation.  Talking almost always is loud in my head and singing (my talent and joy) is out of the question.  I have seen on the Internet reports of people who have the problem only when they are very active, jogging or at the gym ...  I have a period of about 40 minutes after I get up every morning when the tube is closed.  I have also found that there is a spot on my neck just below the ear that I can press for temporary relief; I believe that I am pressing the jugular vein so again causing venous congestion.  The second ENT said there was nothing that could be done for me (remember that putting on weight had not helped but I stress that it can help some people).  He reassured me that the constant movement of the ear drum will not cause problems and nor is the open tube likely to cause infections.  It is 'easier' for me in that I am older and have other health issues that are even worse so I have more or less just accepted this though it took me over two years to get to this point and it is certainly not without grief.  Also I could not rest until I got the official diagnosis, tried everything as it were.  Just for interest, the first ENT I saw said this condition is not that rare and that five of his ENT colleagues had it but I suspect that for them, as for others, it was intermittent.

      I have rambled a bit, trying to think of everything I could say that might be of help.  You could try researching this on Google, U-tube etc but do be aware that some people have tried some fixes that have been disastrous.  If I can help any further, please don't hesitate to ask.

      Best wishes, Maureen

    • Posted

      Although I suffer mainly from Eustachian Tube Dysfunction due to tubes sticking together.  I have

      however suffer Patulous on occasions too.   It usually goes as quick as it comes and I've put it

      down to different air pressure that happens.  Trying to pop it doesn't work like it does for ETD.

      So strange why these things suddenly start.  Personally I don't think it has anything to do with

      weight, as mine hasn't differed in years.  Thank goodness it doesn't happen to me often and

      does seem to go quite worse condition than ETD......what we hear is awful.


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