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Ear pressure/pain after running
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RunningGirl09 posted:
Hello, I have been running now for about 17 years, and the last 3 or so years I have noticed a feeling of extreme pressure in both my ears towards the end of my run (about 3 miles per day) and after my run. I usually stop running b/c it is quite overwhelming. By the time I get home I usually have like a loud roaring noise in my ears, so loud I literally can't hear anything else, and I am practically deaf until the sound goes away. So I just try not to freak out and hop in the shower to go about my day. However, on the days when the pain is really bad, I get extremely dizzy, and feel like I will pass out if I don't lay down immediately. I will literally dive out of shower sometimes to lay down for fear of passing out in the shower. I have never actually passed out, but the dizziness is intense, Its horrible!!! I just went to an ENT doctor, and he was stumped saying he never heard of this... Which made me nervous since he specializes in ENT diseases/problems, but I have a hearing test scheduled for Monday. I also read some info that high blood pressure may be a factor, however, I'm 26 years old and my BP is 110/60 regularly. Please help with any information or advice. I'd hate to have to stop running, but I am terrified that the roaring/hearing loss will be permanent.
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
This is not as uncommon as you think....You may have Exercise-Induced ETD (Eustachian Tube Dysfunction)

Exercise increases blood supply to all parts of the body. Along with this increased proliferation of blood, comes tissue engorgement...this is why your skin becomes red or flushed. When the tissue engorgement is around your eustachian tubes -- those tiny ventilation tubes that run from your middle ear space (the area on the other side of your eardrum) to the back of your throat -- it may cause the tubes to temporarily malfunction.

If the eustachian tubes clog, your ears may feel full and stuffy, your hearing could be a bit muffled, like they need to "pop". If the e-tubes lock in the "open" position (they are normally closed and only open briefly when we swallow), you may hear your own voice or an echo.

As long as this exercise-induced eustachian tube dysfunction resolves after you cool down, there may be no need to be concerned.

Since you are having other issues involving your ears, there may be other things going on, too...so, please keep working with the ENT until this mystery is solved.
 
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StriveToThrive responded:
Thank you for providing this service, your time and expertise.

I have developed tinnitus in my right ear. It stops when, and only when I plug my nose and blow so have begun to suspect the tinnitus is related to a pressure imbalance in my ear. The tinnitus has persisted for at least a few months. I try to ignore it which ironically makes recalling exactly when it started and how it progressed a bit more difficult.

At first I thought it was the sort related to a tight jaw which I had experienced a little when I was younger so I thought "I just need to relax, must have been straining". But it didn't go away although I repeatedly and deliberately made sure my jaw was relaxed - which had always worked quickly when I'd experienced transient tinnitus years ago.

However, around the same time the persistent tinnitus started a few months ago I had experienced ETD numerous times after a strenuous yoga class in a hot humid room. The ETD persisted for a half hour or so after the class. I have also felt the class room was too hot for me on occasion so I now just rest and stop doing postures now if I feel too hot. I don't get the ETD anymore but I believe the tinnitus started around the same time and since tinnitus stops when I plug my nose and blow (also a eustachian tube involved phenomenon?) perhaps I can find a functional link and a treatment.

Do you have any ideas on things I can try to get rid of the tinnitus? Could it have been started in relation to the ETD? I am almost willing to start holding my nose and blowing 24/7 to get rid of the high pitch tone that sounds like the sound on the American Broadcasting System's emergency tests.

Other potential factors I've considered and generally ruled out: I do not have systemic high blood pressure, in fact it is lower than average. I do not have any noticeable signs of infection (could infection be mild and so not be noticeable?). My balance is very good. I have not had exposure to loud noises. (I love quiet and so the tinnitus is particularly annoying). I am 47 and last year had my hearing checked (before loosing my health insurance coverage). My hearing was fine and I think it still is so I am hoping this isn't age related tinnitus associated with hearing loss. I was using progesterone cream which I have since read can cause lesions on mice cochlea. I have been off of the progesterone cream now for over a month but no change in the tinnitus. I am not on any medications though for sleep problems I did take ativan (not for last month though) and trazodone (50 milligrams only for a week months ago) and oxazepam (10 mg). I switched to melatonin and my sleep problems are gone so I don't take those meds. I read that abruptly stopping ativan or oxazepam could cause tinnitus but nothing about if it would be reversable, how long it would take or moreover how (should I start taking it again and taper off?). I also read that trazodone could cause tinnitus but I took it for only a short time. I don't find that asprin makes my tinnitus worse though I've read it could. I have no allergies and have not had a flu or cold in years. I did have some sinus headaches that turned out to be perimenopause related migraines which I take maxalt for once or twice a month.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
If I had a way of curing tinnitus, I would start with myself....I have it, too. It is estimated that over 35 million people in the United States have tinnitus. We are two of them....

Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom ? a symptom of many common medical problems, such as ear infections, wax impactions, noise exposure eustachian tube dysfunction, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, or even a side effect of certain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, caffeine, or birth control pills. Tinnitus may also be a symptom of more serious illnesses like high blood pressure, anxiety/depression, diabetes, thyroid disorders, M?ni?re?s disease, blood vessel disorders, or tumors. Finding a cause of tinnitus can be simple, or it may require extensive diagnostic tests, like an MRI or CAT scan. In many cases, a cause is never found ? a fact that frustrates many tinnitus sufferers and their medical providers.

Even if a cause is not found, there is still hope for successful treatment aimed at quieting the noise and controlling the anxiety. Not all techniques work for everyone. Usually, it is a combination of therapies, used over time, that offer the best hope. Quieting the ringing will require a lifelong commitment to lifestyle changes, cooperative medical care, and most importantly ? a positive and optimistic attitude.

Antianxiety medications, like Valium or Xanax, as well as a wide range of antidepressant medications are very helpful for tinnitus-sufferers. Other medications, such as diuretics (water pills), muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants medications, and antihistamines are also used and individually prescribed by your doctor.

Biofeedback, relaxation training, counseling, and individualized psychotherapy helps manage stress and help you change your body?s reaction to the tinnitus. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) combines counseling with special background sounds designed to help people suppress the sounds of their tinnitus.

Special hearing aids, electronic masking devices, or both, are often used when other methods have failed to achieve control. Cochlear implants and cochlear stimulation devices are being investigated for severe, intractable tinnitus cases. Surgical injections of lidocaine directly into the inner ear structure are also being used in some individual cases.

Alternative treatments such as hypnosis, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, vitamin/mineral supplements, herbal remedies (including Ginkgo biloba) may have some promise, but there is little, if any, meaningful research as to their individual effectiveness. Ginkgo biloba is said to improve blood flow and nerve function, but should be used with caution if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinners. There are some ongoing studies to determine if Gingko biloba is safe and effective for tinnitus. It is recommended that all tinnitus-sufferers explore alternative options carefully, with the cooperation of their medical providers.

Certain lifestyle changes are very important for those that have tinnitus. Caffeine is one of the most common aggravators of tinnitus and should be very limited. Coffee, teas, caffeinated colas, and chocolate all contain significant amounts of caffeine capable of constricting blood flow to the ear. Nicotine found in tobacco also constricts blood flow and can aggravate tinnitus, so efforts should be made to stop tobacco in all forms. A low-salt diet is also recommended by many medical providers, so hide that salt shaker and watch the sodium content of foods that you eat.

You are very knowledgeable about your tinnitus, but you may need to see an expert to work with you. Many university ENT departments have tinnitus clinics. Any chance there is one in your area?
 
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rsbryant replied to Rod_Moser_PA_PhD's response:
I have had tinnitus ,ear ,neck L. arm pain for 2 years i did hit a deer going 70mph 2 yrs ago totaled car no injury x-ray negative(was misread) just muscular pain. have a very stressed nurse job,went to ENT put me on antibiotics and oral steroids Have hearing loss bilateral MRI negative. sent me to a neurologist he put me through physical therapy and muscle relaxers for 5 months then he did a nerve study on my cervical spine and L. arm result positive. sent to a spinal surgeon replaced budging disc and added plate and screws to C5-C6 spinal degeneration. My surgery was a success for 3 weeks no tinnitus or ear pain.Went to TMJ doctor happy to hear no TMJ but suggests a mouth guard have it on order but now tinnitus came back again worse with dizziness ear pain sounds like a waterfall.PT says my jaw and facial muscles very tight back on Flexeril. Now looking for botox injections at trigger points or steriod or something to relax the muscle that's constricting the nerve to my hearing. I'm I on the right track?
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to rsbryant's response:
That is difficult to say, since I do not know the medical details of your case. Since there are HUNDREDS of causes of tinnitus, it is often very, very difficult to track down the one (or more) causes of anyone's tinnitus. It is possible that you do have more than one possible cause....

I really don't have the information to comment on your treatment, but it does appear that your team of doctors are trying.
 
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rsbryant replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Dr. Moser
thank you for your response.I forgot to mention the neck surgeon told me I had this bulging disc and degeneration of my cervical spine back in 2008 xray the accident of hit a deer did not cause the problem it had happened before that. He told me the ringing in my ears and hearing loss might be from another cause , I went back to the TMJ doctor and he wants me to use a mouth guard to see if that helps also doing physical therapy on my tight muscles on my neck and jaw areas. It seems when I am under physical/mental stress in pain and during sleep I unconsciously grit my teeth and tighten my muscles. But your right all doctors have said they don't know what causes tinnitus. You don't need to respond. thank you
my doctors are trying. rsbryant
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to rsbryant's response:
Try the physical therapy for the TMJ....maybe it will help, but cervical disk disease can be problematic as well.

Have you had an MRI of your neck?
 
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nlemmer replied to Rod_Moser_PA_PhD's response:
I think you might be just the doctor I am looking for! When ever I run outside or in cold/windy environments my ears hurt. This then leads to my chest burning and head pounding. It was 70 degrees out during my run today and these symptoms still happen. I know you said it could be Exercise-Induced ETD and I've had sensitive ears my whole life but my chest and head pains are confusing me. I am a 23 year old female with average weight and height. Any idea what it could be? Or ways I can prevent it from happening? My Mom suggested covering my ears and I will try that next but I don't think my chest and head will stop hurting by doing that. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to nlemmer's response:
Your mother made a good suggestion....many people have very senstive outer ears and cold weather or wind can set them off. Cover them well, but be wary of your diminished hearing. I don't want you hit by a car!

The chest and head pain when you run is totally unrelated, so I suggest that you see your medical provider so you can be properly examined. It may be a good idea for you to have an "exercise test" where you run on a treadmill as your heart and breathing is carefully monitored.
 
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An_234105 responded:
I had the same problem and what completely helped me was swimmers ear. Your hearing test will turn out perfect & you won't have to stop running!
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to An_234105's response:
Swimmer's ear helped you? Can you please elaborate? How can a disease help you with exercise induced ETD?
 
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BwittySL responded:
I'm 17 years old and I run every morning. I experience this too. That is what brought me to this website.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to BwittySL's response:
Read the string of comments....try some of those suggestions. Keep running.
 
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wishiwerehiking responded:
My 16 year old son has been experiencing ear problems similiar to this after track races. He has had this problem for 4 years now. He gets very dizzy at times, his has a sore throat at times, and cannot hear well after track races. His ears are also painful at times. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this or help lessen the side effects of it? We have not been to a ENT doctor. I was'nt sure that it would help.


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