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Muffled Hearing
barbarafromwv posted:
I have been having a lot of sinus drainage (mostly clear) for the last week or so and now I am having trouble with my ears. My earing is sort of muffled. My ears will "pop" once in a while but then go back to muffled in a short while. I am not running a fever nor is my throat sore. My throat gets dry a lot so I have been drinking more water. Could this problem with my ears be all part of the sinus problem I have been having?
Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Maybe, Barbara.....sinus drainage and infections can certainly effect your ears.

Based on what you have shared, you may have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD).

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. As tiny as these little tubes are, they tend to do a great job. However, they are prone to becoming ?dysfunctional?. Colds, allergies, environmental irritants, sinus infections, tonsillitis, cigarette smoke, airplane flights, driving in a mountainous area (West Virginia???) , etc. all can the eustachian tubes to malfunction. When this happens, fluid and/or changes in air pressure will occur in the sensitive middle ear space. This will compromise your hearing (stuffy, full feeling), and your ears may feel a need to ?pop.

Most cases of ETD will self-resolve in a week or so. Rarely will ETD will become chronic, but it does happen. In cases of chronic or severe ETD, surgical tubes are often tried. Although controversial, decongestants (like pseudoephedrine) can help, but not all people can medically use them. It is always best to check with your own medical provider first. Prescription nasal corticosteroid sprays have also be used, especially in people with allergies.

Either way, it will take TIME to resolve, so be patient and hang in there. If your symptoms persists longer than a few weeks, or if you are having signs of infection (fever, sore throat, sinus pain, etc.), you need to inform your medical provider.

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