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tranquilsea's avatar

Inner ear problem?

Asked by tranquilsea (17756points) April 12th, 2010

About ten years ago we moved from sea level to 3438ft above sea level. Soon after we moved I started having ear problems in only my left ear. I would hear a pop in that ear and then any time I would speak it sounded like I was shouting in that ear, but I could hear other people just fine. After a few hours my hearing would return to normal. It happens sporadically but it is very annoying when it does happen.

I’ve always been able to clear my ears if they are under pressure from an altitude change, no need to chew gum or anything as it seems like I can move a muscle in my inner ear that takes care of it.

Does anyone have any idea what this may be?

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7 Answers

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Do you hear a sound accompanied with the problems in that ear? If so, perhaps tinnitus?

tranquilsea's avatar

Just the pop, like a tiny balloon was popping. No other annoying noise as described by people who cope with tinnitus.

wtfrickinfrack's avatar

My mom had an inner ear infection one time.. she had zero balance and even the slightest movement caused the most intense vomiting I’ve ever seen! Of course I’m not a doctor of any sort, but I would assume that if it were an inner ear problem – maybe you’d be having recurrent nausea/dizziness?

hearkat's avatar

Hello, I am an Audiologist.

The ear canal up to the ear drum is called the External Ear canal. The ear drum and the air-filled space behind it are called the Middle Ear. The Inner Ear consists of the hearing and balance sensory organs.

Since you do not mention balance problems or dizzy spells, and have denied hearing any sound other than the popping of the pressure change, as well as any significant hearing loss, it is not likely to be an inner ear issue.

Although you are typically able to equalize the pressure in your middle ear space, apparently your Left ear doesn’t clear as easily. This could be exacerbated by inflammation or congestion in the upper respiratory system due to allergies or viruses or bacteria. In addition, our bodies do change over time, so a Eustachian tube that once could be opened at will may not later in life.

The best way to have your specific symptoms assessed and treated is to consult a physician. Typically, nasal sprays or other antihistamines and/or decongestants are used to help the Eustachian tube remain open. Many who prefer natural remedies do well with saline rinses for the sinuses, such as a neti pot, that helps the upper respiratory system stay clear and healthy.

tranquilsea's avatar

@hearkat Thank you for the response. Putting two and two together I think it is due to a raging sinus infection. Right in around the time I first started experiencing this I went to the dentist and had a panorama x-ray done of my teeth. The dentist asked me if I experiences headaches, which I really hadn’t. He showed me where my sinuses where quite infected, but honestly if I had not seen the x-ray I wouldn’t have believed it.

I have been to the doctor a few times about this and I was pretty much dismissed. One doctor told me I must have an immature Eustachian tube but that didn’t make any sense because I have not suffered from this all through my life…only recently.

When I finally got a new doctor…from Denmark…he encouraged me to do the nasal wash. I was happy about that as every other doctor wanted to treat the sinus infection with ever increasing doses of antibiotics at longer intervals. I wasn’t a fan of that treatment.

I think the sinus infection gave me ear infections at times when it was really bad. I do do the sinus wash every morning and at night…not the neti pot, but a squeeze bottle. That is the only thing that has minimized the sinus infection…although it is not gone.

Again, thank you for putting two and two together for me. This goes to show that just because things are correlated they often aren’t causated.

hearkat's avatar

@tranquilsea: If the sinus congestion has been a long-term problem, it could take a couple months of consistent care for you to feel close to “normal”... especially using the saline rinse. And even when you do feel “normal” you may want to make the rinse a routine part of your life – perhaps not as frequently as you use it now, though – your Doctor is the best person to advise you on a schedule. Also, now you know what symptoms to be mindful of, so if/when they act up, you know you can up the frequency of the rinse.

I’m glad that I was able to help it make sense to you (that’s what Fluther is for!), and I am glad to hear that your situation is improving!

tranquilsea's avatar

@hearkat I’ve actually been using the sinus rinse for a few years now. Every once and a while life gets busy and I stop, only to have the infection come back. I’m going to err on the side caution and use it regularly for now.

It’s interesting that after a few doctor’s dismiss what is going on…you nailed it. Again, thank you :-)

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