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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Suggest treatment for recurrent ear infection and tinnitus

Answered by
Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1954

Answered : 4232 Questions

Posted on Tue, 29 May 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Hey doctor,

About 4 or so years ago I developed an ear infection in my right ear which I caught off of my mum who had just come back from overseas in Bali and I live in Australia. When I had that ear infection I had to go on about 3 or 4 different antibiotics to actually clear it up and I feel as if they never quite did the job.

The same ear infection seems to come back at least once a year along with a cold and my eustachian tubes seem to block up completely to the point where I can not hear our of my right year and i'd have to sometimes use antibiotic ear drops for it depending on if it was in my middle or outer ear but it seems to usually be the middle ear infected.

I seem to have developed some permanent ringing in my right ear (tinnitus) as well from the initial infection that seems to come and go or at least go down to the point I don't notice it, but colds usually seem to trigger it and it would lasts from weeks to months after the initial trigger before going back down to a less noticeable ringing tone.

Is there much I can really do for this or is it something I will have to live with can that bacteria possibly never have been destroyed by the AB's and it keeps coming back when my immune system is fighting other things like a cold and could that mean over time it would cause more and more damage to my right ear or is it something to do with my Eustachian tubes not regulating pressure properly?

My mums brother also had a similar problem in his late 20's and had to have adult grommets would that be worth looking into or would the risk outweigh the benefits or would there be anyways to possibly clear out that bacteria naturally?

Another thing I forgot to mention is that my right ear also seems to generate a lot of earwax compared to my left and sometimes gets blocked because of that and I have had it cleaned a few times with ear syringing.

I also do wear ear plus as I shoot live music events about 3-4 times a month and I have custom fitted ones.
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Steam inhalation would be the mainstay of treatment.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for asking on HealthcareMagic.

I have gone through your query and understand your concerns. You have developed tinnuitus. Certain viral infections can give rise to such presentations as you have described. Catching cold often causes the thickened mucus to block the Eustachian tubes, the thin tube on each side connecting between the inner throat and the middle ear. The purpose of these tubes is to equalize the air pressure inside the middle ear cavity. Mucus block of these tubes leads to pressure imbalance leading to indirectly affecting the vestibulocochlear apparatus. Steam inhalation should help as water in form of vapor will reach deep inside. It would help in diluting the mucus, thus providing relief. The issue is not related to clearing off the bacteria from the middle ear cavity. The issue is to keep the middle ear pressure maintained by letting the Eustachian tubes remain open. Steam inhalation (through nose and mouth) is the best way to ensure that. An audiometry needs to be done to understand the exact nature of the problem.

The organ of hearing lies in our inner ear (vestibulocochlear apparatus) and is also associated with the sense of balance. Vestibulocochlear stabilizing agents like cinnarizine or betahistine might be needed. Please discuss with your treating physician whether they would be right for you.

Let me know if I could help further.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 6 hours later
Is it common to develop tinnitus at a young age by cause a viral ear infection that becomes permanent and is really anything you can do to cure it? It seems to be something that comes and goes for me and I have learned to just not worry about it and channel it out is that a bad thing to do that or is their a way to cure it? My ear isn't blocked at the moment it is fine but it was about a week ago when I had my cold I can now hear fine out of it I just have the ringing in my ear again that is more prominent, but mainly only when I am going to bed or in a quite room if there is sound going I don't even notice it.
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Usually lasts for a couple of weeks

Detailed Answer:
Although not very common, it is a known entity caused by certain viruses and known to occur at young age. It is usually not permanent and usually lasts for a couple of weeks. Management is supportive, as suggested in the last communication (irrespective of whether you have a ear block)..

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D

The User accepted the expert's answer

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