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Ears plugged, ringing, wind noise
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JF2740 posted:
Ok, I am going to detail my whole situation.

Friday, Oct. 30 I got these weird rashes on both forearms. Very red. I also got a cold (runny nose)

Saturday, Oct. 31 My arms started to really swell up where the rashes were.

Monday, Nov. 2 I woke up in the morning and my right ear was completely plugged up. My left ear was completely normal.

Tuesday, Nov. 3 I saw my general physician. He said the rashes were a bacterial infection, and this caused an ear infection along with the whole cold. He prescribed me amoxicilin and oral prednisone.

Thursday, Nov. 5 I saw my doctor again for a checkup. My ear was still not budging. The medication helped slightly. The rashes were disappearing, but my right ear was still plugged (it let up a little bit). He told me to take claritin along with my other meds.

Saturday, Nov. 7 Late at night, my right ear was showing great improvement. It seemed as if it was almost like normal. My left ear was still perfectly fine. My cold was more or less gone at this point.

Sunday, Nov. 8 I took a nap at night, when I woke up, both ears were completely plugged and my left ear started making a noise like wind blowing in my ear. I didn't finish my meds at this point, so I don't think that was the reason for my ears getting worse.

Thursday, Nov. 12 I went back to my general physician. He couldn't find anything wrong with my ear. He assumed I had an infection still that was in the inner ear, so he decided to boost the medication and prescribed me augmentin (amoxicillin + other stuff I guess) and methyl prednisolone. My cold was completely gone at this point.

Tuesday, Nov. 17 I started having improvement once again, but this day my prednisolone was finished, and both ears went back to being completely plugged. I am not sure if I went back to being plugged because of my medication finishing or not. I was taking 6-5-4-3-2-1 pills a day like that, so maybe near the tail end of it, it was not helping. My rashes were gone.

I tried taking sudafed with pseudoephedrine since then, but it only offers temporary relief sometimes. Now, my ears go from being completely plugged to semi-unplugged throughout the day (this can change within 5 seconds, but mostly totally plugged). My left ear still has that wind noise that I can only notice in silence, and my right ear has noticeable ringing (more noticeable in silence again). I notice, 9 times out of 10, whenever I wake up, my ears are plugged completely, and after I eat or drink, for at least 10-15min, they are plugged. I don't know if that is a link to the problem.

I also was doing the whole, hold your nose, close your mouth and breath in thing up until my left ear went bad. The reason is that a couple times when I did it my ears went haywire. It was a weird feeling. I did this when my ears were almost perfect because it seemed like when I did that the night before, they cleared up. So I slept on it, and when I woke up I had that wind blowing in my left ear and both were bad (when before only my right ear was messed up). I hope I did not cause permanent damage by this. My ENT preformed a hearing and pressure test, and everything came out completely normal. I am scheduled for an MRI.

Can you offer some of your insight into this? What do you believe can be wrong? I am very frustrated by this because my ears really went bad in a matter of a night. Thank you for your help.
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JF2740 responded:
And by pressure, I mean ear fullness. I just wanted to clarify. Thank you once again.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Although your posting is thorough, it is not the same as a first-hand evaluation. I do not know your "diagnosis" (a bacterial infection is really vague), your examination findings, etc., to really get a handle on your case. With all of these missing pieces, it is really impossible for me to offer you any specific insight. I can "guess" or speculate that you may have an issue with your Eustachian tubes....although your "pressure tests" were normal (Again, I don't know those readings). Hearing "wind" in your ears does not necessarily mean there is a ruptured eardrum; it can mean that your Eustachian tubes are abnormally open (patulous eustachian tubes). Your doctor must be concerned since he is ordering an MRI -- most likely to check you inner ear structure. Most MRIs end up being normal, fortunately, but you still have to take this additional step and "look".

I am sorry that I can't offer you any profound insight into your case. There are many, many possibilities and I am sure your ENT is trying to narrow them down by diagnostic tests.
 
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JF2740 responded:
Do you believe this pressurized (fullness feeling) in my ears is permanent? It's hard to believe that one night I wake up and I have permanent fullness in my ears. I know you probably cannot determine this, but what are the odds that it is permanent? Is it rare or common? Thank you for your help, you do a great job here.
 
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JF2740 responded:
My doctor also told me to take advil 600 mg 3 times a day saying that this would help if it were a jaw problem (with the plugged up feeling). Do you know how this could help? I thought advil was just pain relief. I don't really have pain.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
You are correct...I have no way of determining if your symptoms will be permanent, or even your "odds". I wish that I could offer you the insight that you need, but I just do not have a way of delving into your case -- by examining you -- to do so. Perhaps, even if I did examine you and have those details, I still may not be able to predict outcome. Humans are like that...their bodies create their own rules.

As far as ibruprofen is concerned....try it. Your doctor feels it may help with inflammation, so it may be worth a few weeks or month of a clinical trial.
 
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JF2740 responded:
Thanks for the responses! One more question, if you do not mind. I was curious if the whole, hold your nose and close and mouth and blow in through your nose is dangerous? Could this have made my condition worse? Thank you.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
That self-insufflation procedure is usually safe (if done correctly). If done too agressively, it has the potential of rupturing your eardrum, and changing the pressure in the middle ear. When you have ear pressure that is not equalized with the outside atmosphere, your ears can feel plugged and yes, you can have tinnitus.

Could this have made your condition worse? Yes, it has that potential.
 
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JF2740 responded:
That is what I'm afraid of because one time I did I felt like I did it too hard. But I know for sure it did not cause my ear drum to rupture, but yes my ear pressure is now worse. Do you think it would have a permanent effect from that type of thing?

My doctor says everything seems normal from the looks and tests, but I still have this feeling (and tinnitus). Would this normally go away or can we not really say? That would bother me because then, there would be no other cause to find.

My general doctor told me to do it 100 times a day (I did not do it that often), so I thought it was harmless...
 
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JF2740 responded:
By my above post, I meant in terms of doing that self-inflating or whatnot. If this caused my ear pressure to go out of whack, would that normally go back to normal?

If any damage occurred outside of changing the pressure, would I be right to assume that the ENT would see it, and that there would be a noticeable decrease in my hearing?

Once again, thank you for all the help.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
You can't SEE ear pressure variations, but the ENT can get a hint if your eardrum is bulging or retracted (sucked in). A tympanogram (a device that measures pressure) or visually watching the eardrum when air is blow against it (pneumatic otoscopy -- the little bulb syringe that is attached to the otoscope) can offer a more objective answer.

Most middle ears will eventually self-equalize -- or at least they are supposed to, over time. If not improved in a few months (yes, months!), you may be candiate for tubes (pressure equalization tubes). In the meantime, one idea would be to stop doing this manuever, since it seems to be making things worse. Just leave your ears alone for a while and see if the body will equalize this pressure for you.
 
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JF2740 responded:
Yes, I stopped doing it once both ears went bad. I will continue to see my ENT, and see what we could make of the situation. About pressure equalization tubes, are the goal of these tubes to cure the problem or to only treat it for a certain amount of time until the tubes need to be replaced?
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Tympanocentesis and tube insertions are used for both....it can cure the pressure equalization problem, permanently, or be a temporary fix until the eustachian tubes are functioning normally again.
 
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JF2740 responded:
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving! Your help is very valuable and well appreciated.
 
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JF2740 responded:
Question: Would loud noises have anything to do with ear pressure? Should I make a note to avoid this? I know I should be safe because of my tinnitus so I don't aggravate that, but is there any link to loud noises causing ear pressure? Can you give me advice on this?


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