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Long-term Ear Pain
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Kamicha posted:
Greetings.

I have had ear pain in my left (right, if you are facing me) ear for approximately 3 years now. I also have deviated septum that tends toward my left nostril. My sinuses are stuffy most of the year round, and only recently have I begun to breath normally most of the day thanks to a generic form of Zyrtec; nonetheless, breathing through my nose is still hindered through the left nostril. Over the course of the past three years, I have tried several different sinus medications and have taken several different kinds of antibiotics (none specifically for ear infections). I have also occasionally complained to different doctors whenever I remember to (I have grown use to the pain, you see).

I used to take extremely long showers until I begun psychotherapy for OCD (I regularly took at least two showers a day, often three, each one at least thirty minutes long, often more than an hour). Since I have cut showering down to only once every two days, I have noticed no improvement in the ear pain.

I also suspected that the pain may be due to sleeping on my right side all the time (this stemmed from an obsession that sleeping on the right side allowed gravity to pack wax down into my left ear, resulting in ear pain or an infection), so I began to slept on my left side for the next two years to balance out the trend. Since I began therapy, I just sleep on my back since its probably something else; however, I have noticed that lying on my left side seems to alleviate some of the pain.

Anyway, the pain continues to this day. I am also a SCUBA Diver and always have problems clearing my left ear on descent, but I think (it may just be my imagination) that the pain always improves upon resurfacing. The next two days are often met with only minor pain and only a slight feeling of stuffiness.

Finally, one doctor remarked that my left eardrum appeared reddish and swollen. If I remember correctly, she subsequently prescribed me something; it didn't help. Later, another doctor said my eardrum looked normal. It's enough to make you want to give up.

Any ideas?
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
It has been three years, so perhaps it is time for your to see an ENT specialist to have a higher-level examination than you have been getting at the primary care level. There is a good chance that your ear pain is due to a dysfunctional Eustachian tube on the left, but that is just a guess/idea, since I have no way of blindly making a diagnosis over the Internet. Of course, there could be other reasons.
 
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Kamicha replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thanks, Doc. ENT it is.
 
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Kamicha replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Figured you should know: you were spot on. Eustachian tube is "contracted," I believe.

Treatment begins soon.

Take care, Doc.


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