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What causes fullness/pressure in the ear triggered by certain physical movements?

After getting the hearing exam, the result was good, no hearing loss, except slight hearing loss in the low frequency in the right ear, but it's not considered even noticeable for most humans according to the doctor so it's almost considered no hearing loss. But the doctor said he doesn't know what's the reason for my symptoms, also he said that in ear time, my symptoms are relatively new, and it could take more time for them to go away, and then he decided to order an MRI of the brain, which came back negative. Remaining tests he ordered is allergy test and tinnitus audio calibration test, and then a follow up with him. He also prescribed me medication: Flonase nasal spray, Amoxicillin antibiotics and Prednisolone 10 mg. I did try the the antibiotics and Flonase but it didn't really make the symptoms disappear. I haven't tried the Prednisolone 10 mg, as I'm concerned that's what made my symptoms worse in the first place.

Meanwhile, I started to notice the patterns of my symptoms: For example, when I bent my head or moved too quickly or kneeled down or if I would talk too loud or for a long time, it would get triggered, and I would feel like it's getting full or pressure in my ear, and it would take some time for it to subside or it would stay this way until I would go to sleep, and only the next day I would feel normal again when I would wake up. Usually if I would go to sleep with the symptoms activated, the tinnitus sound would be more noticeable (a low frequency hissing sound), but if I have no symptoms, there would be barely any tinnitus sound. Also, I noticed when I would drive with my car through mountain roads (go down or up the mountain), when my ear get elevation pressure, when I would swallow to open the ear, it would only feel like it's opening on the left ear, but not the right ear, and then the pressure feeling of fullness would persist until I go to sleep. Starting to Google it, I found that this might be related to my Eustachian tube that connects to my middle ear. I found some associated products that helped me cope commuting to work through mountain road elevations buying a product called EarPlanes, which I was able to avoid getting my ear getting filled too much, although it doesn't work 100% and sometimes, if the road is too bumpy or has sudden stops, it could triggers my symptoms. I also bought a product called Eustachi, which is supposed to unclog the Eustachian tube, which I used only once, I could feel the unclog air, but after that, it actually felt like the air got trapped in my right ear, and the tinnitus sound would return after not having it for couple of days at night.

Note that during the day I don't hear the tinnitus sound.

So my final questions are:
1. Does anyone have an idea what could be causing my symptoms?

2. What are the chances this is something spontaneous that happened unrelated to the sequence of events that lead to the persistence of these symptoms?

3. Could any of the following lead to the symptoms or "injury" I have now:
Hairpiece from the haircut a day before got somehow trapped in the middle ear after the ear irrigation (is that even possible given that the eardrum is considered air and water tight?)
Wearing the mask on during the ear irrigation
Using Debrox for a week twice a day, or the water bulb to rinse my ear with water that came with it
Taking Prednisolone 4 mg for a week
The suction tool used lightly to clean my right ear at the first ENT doc office
4. Could this be Eustachian tube dysfunction caused by the reasons mentioned in question 3? And if so, how can it be officially diagnosed, should I ask for an endoscopy through my nose so they can look at the Eustachian tube opening to see if it's functioning correctly when I swallow or when they push the air?

5. If it is number 4, should I consider getting Eustachian tube balloon surgery to fix the Eustachian tube or ear drum hole surgery to depressurize my ear? Also, what about the incision-less surgery where they can access the middle ear bypassing the ear drum from the side and clean it out?

6. Are the options in number 5 too extreme for my symptoms and duration of my condition?

7. Any suggestions what additional tests to get and what potential treatments I can try to help with my condition?

Thanks for your help!
2 Responses
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Avatar universal
Background:

Hello,

I'm in my early 30s, usually healthy, no allergies as far I know. Sometimes in the past, I would get ear wax blockage which I went to the doctor/urgent care for ear irrigation to clean without any problems.

After a year long of lockdown, I felt like my ears were accumulating lots of wax, which I would mostly ignore, sometimes it would block my ear a little but then it would open by itself a couple of days later.

My story starts 2 months ago, when I pushed a little wax further in the right ear, which wasn't intentional (a day before I got a haircut, not sure if it matters). I tried to unblock it by using the shower head water to rinse out my ear, but that just made it even more blocked. I decided to go to the urgent care nearby. I was wearing the face mask inside the room in the urgent care for the entire procedure.

First the doctor came, looked inside my ear with an otoscope, then a medical assistant came and put ear drops in my right ear for 15 minutes, to let the wax dissolve. Then the medical assistant brought the water syringe to flush out my right ear. The initial round of flushing, first few times, I felt like my ear was getting unblocked and opening up, but in subsequent times/flushes I felt like it was actually getting a little blocked again. After finishing two rounds of flushing, I haven't felt like they fully unblocked my ear. The doctor then looked inside my ear again using an otoscope, and it was a little painful when the doctor shoved the otoscope inside my ear. The doctor said that I have still some ear wax left, and I need to do a better cleaning with using ear wax drops that they sell over the counter.

Knowing that they haven't fully unblocked my ear, I decided to schedule an appointment to an ENT specialist so they can clean the remaining wax in my ear. The ENT office I found had a strange request, asking me to use Debrox ear drops for a week before my appointment with him, and use 2-3 drops two times a day, so it will be easier for them to unblock my ear. After finish using Debrox drops, I would tilt my head to opposite direction to let the fluid out of my ear, and would use the water bulb that came with it to rinse out the fluid/ear canal. Sometimes it would fill my ear with water and feel like it would get blocked in the canal, but then it would unblock after a while. Closer toward with my appointment with the ENT, and after using the Debrox drops for a week, I noticed during the night there were some hissing sounds in my right ear, which I just thought was related to either the recent ear irrigation or drops usage/water rinsing, to which I wouldn't pay too much attention.

When I had my appointment with the ENT, his medical assistant cleaned my left ear. In the right ear, she looked, and said that I did a good job with the Debrox, and said that she just going to use a little ear suction device to get out any remaining wax. After that I felt like my ears were much more sharp, and the ENT doctor who looked inside my ears said that everything looks good including my eardrum. I asked him about the sound I was hearing a little the other night, and he simply said that it's possible due to the recent ear irrigation procedures that I had and it should go away.

The following week, I started to notice more and more the hissing sound in my right ear during the night. I emailed the ENT doc, asking for any advice, he said to try Flonase nasal spray over the counter also Zyrtec antihistamine. I didn't know why the doctor suggested something like nasal spray or allergy medication when I didn't feel like I had any stuffed nose or allergy, and how is it even related to the ear?

A few days later, after not using that, I sent him another email asking about any alternatives as I was getting worried about the sound during the night (especially after lying down and then waking up during the night), and even a little sensation of pain inside the ear in one of the days. He then suggested to prescribe me a steroid medication called Prednisolone 10 mg, after reading online about potential hearing loss and other side effects using the drug and expressing my concern, he then prescribed me the lower dose of 4 mg called Metropack. After taking that for a week, I didn't feel like it was helping, and if anything, I started to feel additional symptoms, such as ear fullness, pressure inside the ear, and tingling inside the ear too, in addition to the hissing/sea shell sound during night.

I didn't want to go back to the same ENT for a follow up, given he hasn't resolved my issue, and it was just getting worse. I went to another ENT for a second opinion, who looked at my ear, didn't see any evidence that my ear drum has any damage or noticeable issues, decided to order an audio exam to evaluate if my hissing sound — which is also called tinnitus — is associated with a hearing loss (as it usually is).
Helpful - 0
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi!  So, I've had your symptoms. For me, it turned out to be inner ear issues. I had Eustachian tube dysfunction.  They do different things to help with this.  One is reverse ear pops.  This did work for me (hold nose, blow gently. Your ears will pop. Continue doing this several times).  There are other methods as well.  I thought I was having hearing issues and went to the doctor as well.  Did everything you've done.  I also developed tinnitis. (boy is that annoying) and then vertigo with nausea.  There is a virus also that causes this called labyrinthitis.  this was ruled out for me due to the chronic situation of my symptoms. Here is information on Eustachian tube dysfunction.  let me know what you think of the info.
Helpful - 0
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