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Includes Expert Content
Ear Frustration!
chantal14 posted:
Years ago, like 11, I injusred myself in a unusual way. I thought my ear wasn't draining so I tried to stretch my mouth wide open. It seemed like my jaw cracked and for about two weeks my jaw hurt when I chewed and throat hurt to swallow. My right ear instantly became very sensitive to noise. As the throat and jaw issues healed my right ear was never the same. Loud noises made it pop, crack and sometimes go into a spasm like condition. It feels like air moving in and out of the ear. Almost in a rhythem of popping. This has been going on for years and is starting to drive me crazy. During the day it doesn't bother me much, but at night as soon as I lay my head down it almost always starts. It must be the position of the head. Every time I have had it checked by an MD they say the ear looks normal. A visit to the ENT didn't result in any advice. Finally after at least 8 different doctors my new primary suggested eustachian tube dysfunction. After looking it it up I found Patulous Eustachian Tube, which seems to fit my symptoms. Is there any hope for treatment that could fix this condition. It is chronic and very disturbing. It affects my sleep on a nightly basis as it seems to be at it worst during the night. I would be greatful for any advice/help.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
Patulous Eustachian Tubes (PET)
There are two tiny ventilation and drainage tubes that run from our middle ear space (the area behind the eardrum) to the back of our throats (near the adenoids) called the eustachian tubes. The main purpose of these ventilation tubes is to make sure the middle ear space is filled with AIR at the same atmospheric pressure as the outside atmosphere. These hair-like tubes are normally CLOSED, and only open briefly when we swallow. However, sometimes the tubes remain OPEN. When this happens, air will freely flow into the middle ear space — along with the sounds of your breathing or talking, creating an echo effect. This is called PET — Patulous Eustachian Tubes.
Many times, PET will be self-limiting — going away as fast as it came, but sometime you will need some expert medical intervention. PET is not easy to treat, so you may need to see an ENT. One method (as strange is it sounds) is to use a specially compounded prescription nasal spray that contains estrogen. The use of this spray will sometime fix this annoying problem.

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