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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suggest treatment for plugged ears and tinnitus

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Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 1391 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 29 May 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: For as long as I can remember, maybe 1, 2 or 3 times a year, my left ear would kind of half pop - almost feeling like a pressure release. Then it would slightly ring. Then, everything had a different less full tone. Kind of like listening to FM and then to an old time AM radio. It would always go back to totally normal in a few hours or so. It has done this for decades. Since it always went back to normal after a short while, I never really thought that much about it. No cold or flu. No allergies. No congestion. No loud noise. No trauma. It just does it out of the blue for no reason maybe 1, 2 or 3 times a year.

This time, the same thing happened. But it apparently did not go back to normal. At first, like always, I didn’t think much about it. But, a few days later, I had symptoms that never happened before. I noticed that my ear felt full - like I had water in my ear. The left ear feels plugged causing preexisting very minor tinnitus to be louder - like if you had very minor tinnitus and stuck your finger in your ear. The finger would make the tinnitus a little louder until you pulled your finger out of your ear.

When I touched my ear to try to wiggle out any what I thought may be water, it felt like I had pressure pain right at the base of the tragus. So, I assumed it was an ear infection. I saw an urgent care doctor and there is no swelling, redness or infection. But, he gave me antibiotic drops anyway.

The pain to the touch of the tragus was gone even before I saw the doctor about 5 hours after first experiencing it. I have no idea why the tragus pain came and went in just a few hours without any medical attention. But, the following symptoms remain for over a week now:

Ear feels plugged.
Very mild tinnitus I have always had is now slightly louder - like sticking your finger in your ear.
Hypersensitive to loud sound. My dog barking at the table or the phone ringing makes me cringe. The bass on the car radio now feels annoying. I notice a bass thumping that I never really took note of before. I can only listen to low volume music with no bass. When I used the blue tooth speaker phone in my car and called someone, my right ear heard a normal phone ring. My left ear heard a loud and annoying ring that kind of made my ear drum rattle and vibrate with feedback. The speakerphone ring made my ear feel like when you put wax paper over a cardboard paper towel roll and buzz your lips on it like a home made kazoo that kids make.
No loss of hearing. I still hear things at regular volume and clarity. My ear just feels plugged up as I hear it. The tone of the sound may be slightly higher than normal.

Things that have not worked:
Trying to pop my ears by plugging my nose and blowing or chewing gum.
Alcohol drops.
Ciprodex drops for ear infection.
Pseudoephedrine.
Fluticasone Propionate nose spray.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal 9 hours later
Brief Answer:
Eustachian tube blockage with external ear infection

Detailed Answer:
Hi
Welcome to HealthcareMagic and thanks for putting up the query
The symptoms of ear popping in the ears is due to eustachian tube blockage caused by either nasal or throat infection. The blowing into the ears to release the pressure can further aggravate the symptoms. you should avoid that. Take a combination of levocetrizine plus phenylepherine twice daily and xylometazoline nasal drops three times a day. Take steam inhalation and chew a gum that will help to decongest the tube and relieve symptoms. Get a x-ray paranasal sinuses done to rule out any nasal pathology.
The pain in the tragus is suggestive of external ear infection caused by either water entering into the ear or some infection introduced into the ear while scratching the ear. Apply an antibiotic ointment with a ear bud and plug the ear while you take a bath to keep the ear dry.
Avoid any air travel or swimming.
All the medicines I have prescribed will be available only on prescription.
Any further questions are always welcome
Take care
Thanks and regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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