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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Took antibiotic for ear infection. Crackling sound when swallowing with blocked ear. Any advice?

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Dr. Naveen Kumar

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 2364 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 16 Jan 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: I have had an ear infection I have had a course of antibiotic tablets and also have used an antibiotic spray for 7 days. I visited a nurse to have my ear cleaned on Monday but she didn't not think it was right to do this and said to return in a week if no change. My hearing did improve slightly yesterday but now completely blocked again there is a crackling noise when I swallow or yawn any advice would be appreciated I don't have pain in the ear but ear is completely blocked
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Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later
Hi

Thanks for the query

The symptoms you have described could be the features of upper due to blockage of the Eustachian tube following URTI.

Transient memory loss in elderly following alcohol consumption is normal and nothing to be alarmed about.

Do not worry! Follow my instructions you will be alright.

Hi

Thanks for posting the query

The symptoms described by you are the features of acute otitis media secondary to the upper respiratory tract infection. Whenever there is an attack of cold or flu, the mucosa of the nose and the throat gets congested leading to blockage of the Eustachian tube (the tube connecting nose and the ear). The blockage of the tube induces negative pressure inside the middle ear causing earache and ear block.

The crackling noise heard during yawning and swallowing is because of the opening & closing of the Eustachian tube.

The aim should be to treat the cause. You need to follow the below measures in order to get relief from these problems.

1. Drink plenty of warm water –this helps in improving the blood supply and hence reduces the edema around the Eustachian tube.
2. Avoid smoking/chilled beverages/alcohol/coffee till you recover completely – all these will cause dryness of the mucosa and impair the normal ciliary movements in the nose and Eustachian tube.
3. Use saline nasal spray to open up the Eustachian tube, followed by steam inhalation 3-4 times a day – the former and the latter will help in relieving the edema around the Eustachian tube and thus help in opening up the clogged ears and tinnitus.
4. A mucolytic such as bromhexine or ambroxol will help in thinning out the nasal secretions and the secretions in the middle ear.
5. If the symptoms persist consult a good ENT specialist for a complete evaluation and management.
6. Do not get your ears cleaned till the infection subsides completely.

Hope I have answered your queries; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Naveen Kumar 9 minutes later
My ear infection was diagnosed as otitis externa possibly caused by dermatitis I haven't had an upper respiratory infection I believe It might be debris in the ear causing the blockage any advice please to help I am not in pain but have not been sleeping well and feeling slightly nauseous
doctor
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 43 minutes later
Hi

Thanks for writing back

My sincere apologies for overlapping of the two different answers because of the system error. Yours is the second one.

I presumed it to be otitis media, since you mentioned you used an antibiotic spray. Usually, drops are used inside the ear.

If you feel there is no pain and only the ear block, then it could be an impacted ear wax. Yes, impacted cerumen can give rise to otitis externa. At present you can use wax solvents for 3-4 days and get the ears cleaned immediately after.

The crackling noise happens when the air passes around the cerumen inside the canal following movements of the temporomandibular joint.

My suggestion to you is to get examined by your doctor after using the wax solvents.

Hope this answers your query. Please revert back to me if you have any further queries.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Naveen Kumar 3 minutes later
One last question my ear is now throbbing slightly and I am hearing my pulse loudly is this a sign the infection has returned or just due to blockage?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 3 hours later
Hi

Welcome back

The throbbing pain goes in favor of middle ear infection. The pulsations are transferred from the engorged and congested vessels in the middle ear onto the middle ear fluid and the eardrum.

It is unusual for the impacted cerumen to cause the throbbing pain.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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