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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes bubbling sensation in the right ear?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Arnab Banerjee

Critical Care Specialist

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 1288 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 21 Nov 2016 in Internal Doctor Category
Question: This is annoying! When I go to sleep at night it's fine; but after a few hours I find that if I'm lying on my left side I get woken up by "popping" sounds or "bubbling" in my right ear. It sounds like bubbles are going through liquid and then popping when they come to the surface. I have to turn over and sleep on the other side (but inevitably turn over once I'm asleep and get woken up again). 

I saw the doctor who said my ears looked clean. I tried some proprietary ear cleaner and it helps a little but not a lot. 

Whether it's related or not I don't know, but I find that if I use a cotton bud to clean my right ear it causes a tickling in the back of my throat and if I use a cotton bud for the left ear it makes my eyes water and can be very painful in my ear. 
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Answered by Dr. Arnab Banerjee 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
need detailed middle & inner ear examination by ENT specialist..

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX Welcome back to HCM,
I've gone through your query and understand your concern,

Your symptoms seems to be related to partial opening and closure of the Eustachian tube (a small tube connecting our middle ear to the throat), all those popping and bubbling sounds can be due to improper opening and closure of the tube, sometimes there can be nasal secretion in the common passage, or some nerve endings, which, due to those external manipulation by cotton buds, gets irritated causing all those symptoms (makes your eyes water and painful sensation inside the ear)..

You must not apply any more ear drops or ear buds until proper diagnosis is made, as it can further damage the ear canal and introduce infection and even damage the precious 'Ear-drum or Tympanic Membrane'.

Since you haven't mentioned anything about any ringing noise / dizziness/ pain/ fever so I'm assuming they are not present , which is good sign..

Although you saw the doctor who said your ear looked clean, still it's much more than just looking apparently clean, and warrants proper detailed examination..

You need to schedule an appointment with an Experienced ENT specialist in the first place to get yourself properly evaluated under direct vision to rule out any inflammation and infection in the first place (Otoscopy as well as nasal examination) and few relevant investigations (tympanometry, audiological tests and/ X-ray of the para-nasal sinuses etc.)..management will be primarily based on the findings..

Meanwhile, start taking steam inhalation twice daily (after getting up in morning and prior to bedtime) for next few days and observe how you stay..stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of water..avoid cold-drinks and dairy products for the time being, also avoid smoking (if you do)..

You can also try usual home remedies like swallowing frequently, try Valsalva Maneuver (just check out a tutorial video in you tube prior to trying) and observe how you stay..

Do let me know how you stay in the due course

Take Care
Kind Regards

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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