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Had an ear infection and have constant popping in ears. Fluid behind eardrum. Anxious. What do you suggest?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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I have recently had an ear infection and now IM left with a constant popping/crackling sound in my ears every time i yawn or swallow. Though it goes away when i eat or drink. My GP says it is fluid behind my eardrum that will eventually go. But it is making me very anxious. Any suggestions?
Posted Tue, 12 Nov 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 41 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Eardrum exam, Tympanogram, Medication

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for your query.

1. This is a common symptom due to Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD). The Eustachian Tube which connects the ear to the nose opens while swallowing and yawning. The floe of air and secretions causes these popping / crackling sounds.

2. If these sounds are constant and if you want to rule out any build-up of fluid behind the ear drum, get an eardrum examination done and a simple audiometry tests done. An Impedance Audiogram (Tympanogram) will settle the issue regarding ETD and any fluid behind the ear drum.

3. Based on whether the test results show a severe or mild pressure differential in the middle ear, the treatment may vary from observation to medication. Medication would include anti-allergic decongestants, mucolytic, anti-inflammatory agents and steam inhalation.

4. In most cases this will help the ear to heal. Hence there is no cause for worry. In a few instances, the fluid thickens to a glue like consistency and may require a very simple procedure known as a myringotomy and grommet insertion.

5. You may upload your ear drum examination findings and test results for further advice.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had an ear infection and have constant popping in ears. Fluid behind eardrum. Anxious. What do you suggest? 8 minutes later
Many thanks for that speedy response. I have been told it will resolve itself in due course. But will go back to GP if it doesn't improve
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
As below:

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for writing back.

1. Improvement may take a few days.

2. Medication will definitely help speed up the process and prevent the fluid from thickening. Steam inhalation is a good household remedy.

Wish you a speedy recovery,

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had an ear infection and have constant popping in ears. Fluid behind eardrum. Anxious. What do you suggest? 10 hours later
Thankyou for your advice. I was pescribed 2 courses of anti biotics initially for the infection. I am now self medicating with sudafed and regular steam inhalations as i still have a heavy cold.

i have been told that it could take weeks, possibly months for the ear clicking to go. Is this normal? My hearing has on the most part, returned to normal

many thanks
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
As below:

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for writing back.

1. I would recommend an anti-allergic and mucolytic medication in addition.

2. Yes it would take a few weeks for recovery with treatment. Without treatment, it may take longer.

3. Almost complete recovery of hearing is a good sign. I do recommend the audiometry tests which are simple, reliable and can guide further treatment.

Wishing you good health.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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