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Valsalva maneuver to help reduce ear pain - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2308 Questions
User :   my boyfriend is unable to 'pop' his ears in normal life and when he experiences a change in pressure, ie on a flight. He has been told by the doctor that he has lazy ear drums and that there is really nothing that can be done and it is just something that can be lived with as it is not causing any harm. However, he constantly feels the need to release the pressure but is unable to which is painful, uncomfortable and depressing. Is there anything else he can do? Are there any procedures that can help him? Thanks for your help
Doctor :   hi
User :   hi
User :   thanks!
Doctor :   let me read your query
Doctor :   yes, he can be helped by a exercise called valsalva maneuver
User :   ok, what would that do, how would it help and how would we get access to it? we are happy to go private as we have BUPA
Doctor :   Valsalva manoeuvre is performed by moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually done by closing one's mouth and pinching one's nose shut.
Doctor :   this is not a major surgical procedure
Doctor :   this is just what you can do sitting in a chair
User :   will this permanently solve the problem?
Doctor :   this procedure , when done, will open up the auditory tube, and he will have relief
Doctor :   yes the symptoms will reduce
Doctor :   but it will recurr, and he just needs to do it as an exercise
User :   is this somethig that is done by a doctor?
User :   to start with?
Doctor :   no, a doctor is not needed
Doctor :   just ask your brother to sit on a chair
User :   how does he do it? as he is unable to pop his ears himself
Doctor :   and take a deep breath
Doctor :   then close his nostrils with his fingers and then his mouth
Doctor :   and then try to blow out the air
Doctor :   this will force the air out through the inner ear canal, called auditory tube and opens it up
User :   this is what he has tried on many occasions over the last year since this has been a problem and he is unable to do it, no matter how hard he blows it will not pop
Doctor :   relieving the discomfort
Doctor :   In that case, he might need a revision surgery or a tympanostomy tube to be placed in the ear membrane
Doctor :   and this will help to keep the auditory tube open,
User :   what does this involve? and how do we go about arranging it as his doctor has not offered him any treatments
Doctor :   he might benefit by consulting a ENT doctor, who can then plan the procedure
User :   what does this procedure involve?
Doctor :   here, a small tube is placed in the ear drum, to allow free movement of the air
User :   is this major surgery? what does it entail?
Doctor :   this free air movement will dry up the middle ear and then help to keep the ear canal open
Doctor :   this is a very small procedure, and might take less than 1 hour
User :   so not surgery that would require any kind of recovery time/time off work etc?
Doctor :   yes that is right
Doctor :   no time off needed
User :   so do we go to his doctors and ask for an ENT doctor and then mention the procedure?
Doctor :   yes , that is right
User :   does the procedure have a name or do we just mention the tympanostomy tube?
Doctor :   tympanostomy tube placement procedure
Doctor :   is the name
User :   can you tell me anymore about the procedure? how do they get the tube in there? is it throught the ear? is it under anaesthetic? local?
Doctor :   yes, a endoscope like instrument is used to magnify the ear drum and with instruments a small nick (1-2mm) is made in the ear drum
Doctor :   and then the tube is maneuvered within the incision
Doctor :   and then placed to allow aeration between the outer ear and the middle ear cavity
User :   and are there any adverse side effects like possible loss of hearing or anything?
Doctor :   no
Doctor :   no side effects like that
User :   ok thanks for your help - is there anything else I should know about it?
Doctor :   i have disscussed the time taken, the detailed procedure and about the benefits as well
Doctor :   that covers all of it
User :   oh actually - do you have any idea what this would costs if we went private?
Doctor :   might be about 1500 to 3000 USD
Doctor :   OR 2000 POUNDS
User :   ok thanks very much. kind regards
Doctor :   YOU are most welcome
Doctor :   take care and have a good day
User :   thanks!
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