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Ear Tubes, Cpap and Ear Drainage
mulezicman posted:
Back in the early 90's my ENT Doctor, which I have a lot of faith in, performed sinus surgery. For a couple of years all my ear problems had disappeared. Then my ears started clogging up and I had a terrible time hearing. So I returned and asked if tubes would help. So he placed tubes in my ears. Ahhhhh what a great feeling having no pressure and could hear much better. After they fell out, I had no problems until about 2-3 years ago. My ears would block, stop up, pressure, however you want to describe it. I didn't have much pain, but more so discomfort, and aggravation of not being able to hear very well. So I returned to my ENT and he placed tubes in my ears again. Ahhhhhhh what a great feeling, so the tubes do the trick in relieving the pressure and discomfort. During this time frame, I had discovered I had sleep apnea. I started using the cpap machine religiously. I can not sleep with out it. But now I am experiencing a lot of drainage in both ears. One ear more so than the other. I asked my sleep Dr if my ears would whistle while I sleep due to the tubes. She kind of brushed it off with a laugh. But the drainage is constant. I never used Q tips that much over the years, but now I keep a bowl full in the bathroom. The fluid is sometimes milky, sometimes pinkish, sometimes bloody. Its a thick gel most of the time. I do stain up a lot of pillow cases. Every night actually. During the day my ears do drain, especially if I have a cold, which I rarely get due to the tubes. Now, with the congestion and the drainage I constantly get the washing machine sounds in my ear. I do hear my heart beating in my ear most of the time. I can feel when fluid is being pushed out my ear during the day, and eventually get a clear fluid run down my neck. My Cpap machine is set on 15. Is this amount of drainage common with people with tubes? Is the pressure from the CPap machine causing the heavy drainage? Are there any alternatives? I am very tired without the cpap machine and can't live without the tubes.....and I can't see giving up either one. Any suggestions....................
Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Chronic otorrhea (ear drainage) is annoying, but without those tubes draining the ear, you would be having even more painful pressure and hearing changes. My concern would be WHY are you having this drainage? This is something that I can't answer via the Internet.

Yes, your CPAP is blowing air up your eustachian tubes, into your middle ear, and blowing that fluid out of your tubes. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since you don't want that fluid in there anyway, but I can understand your issue.

Your ENT should focus on the reason for the drainage (otorrhea). Perhaps there is more that can be done to deal with this underlying problem.
mulezicman responded:
Thank you Dr Moser for your response. Yes, you are so correct. Before I had the tubes placed, it was very annoying. Hearing was probably at 40% if that. Now drainage is more in the left ear than the right. But I think that is from favoring my left side while sleeping. Easier to blow down and out than up and out.

I tried to see my ENT yesterday, but his schedule was full so I was able to see the PA in their office. He took one look, prescribed Cirprodex 4 drops in each ear twice a day and Allerx pills one in the morning and one in the evening. I have a appt to see my ENT in ten days. He spoke about placing permanent tubes in my ears. I am not clear on the difference, maybe longer in length? I did catch that mean cold that has been going around our area and that is not helping matters. Feeling very poorly. Hopefully the meds will make the cold symptons go away.

The drainage has been there long before the cold. So the tubes are doing their job. I too wonder what is causing it. When I ask , he kinds of shrugs his shoulders. Way back when he did sinus surgery, he said he went up in there and cleaned it out a little. Did not have problems for quite a while after that. He told me I was pretty compact up Maybe I ought to mention that. It may be worth a look up in there. He has done scans.
Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Have you had a CT scan of your mastoid sinuses? These are the ones behind your ears....the ones that are connected to the middle ear space. Ask your ENT about this....
mulezicman responded:
Thank you again for your response. He did have a scan performed after my first visit. I am not really sure what area he was looking at, but he did say he could get a much better look as to what was going on. Nothing stuck out that would make him think what was causing it. I am curious to see what the next visit will bring. The PA I saw earlier this week said my tubes had grainulized, what ever that means. Other issues I recently had diagnosed was Glaucoma and Diabetes. I am currently on High Cholesterol meds and recently had a stress test which came back with no major blockages. My heart doctor put me on high blood pressure meds, blood pressure has always been good, but she said it would help my kidneys. Also on drops for the Glaucoma. Its tough getting I went from taking no medications to a huge hand full daily. I wonder sometimes if all this medicine I am taking is causing some of my issues side effect wise. I smoked for about 10 years and quit the day I found out I had diabetes(Dec 5th) and I have not wanted a cigarette since. I guess the diabetes shocked me into quitting and it worked, thank goodness. I am taking metformin twice daily and my sugar has been running around 130 in the mornings/fasting.
Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Yes, the older we become, the more complicated our health issues can become. Many people take handsfuls of pills to control their various problems, but at least you have issues that can be managed.....your diabetes is in nice control. Good for you. And, congratuations on stopping smoking.

Who knows, you may even get healthier as the years progress.
loosemolar responded:
I have exactly the same problem!
loosemolar responded:
I have had the same problem. Otorrhea through myringotomy tubes caused by the CPAP machine used for sleep apnea. Repeated bouts of otitis media and the need for Ciprodex eardrops for five days at a time. I have tried many approaches to mitigate this problem. The only thing that seems to help is sleeping with the problem ear facing up--e.g., sleeping with the unaffected ear on the pillow, and, placing a plug in the ear (or ears) made from carefully rolled up soft tissue paper (like Kleenex) so it blocks the ear canal and prevents the flow of air out through the ear when using the CPAP. I adjust the mask straps so that they hold the ear plugs in place.
Since I have been doing this, I no longer find my ear canal filled with fluid in the morning, and no longer have to blot the canal dry with tissue and Q-tips,
Irrigation with distilled white vinegar diluted half and half with distilled water, every other day, helps keep the auditory canal fungus free and reduces the wax buildup.
Dry the canal by wrapping clean tissue around a swab so as not to allow it to go too deeply into the ear and thus avoid impacting wax against the ear drum.

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