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Family Physician

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What causes dizziness while experiencing clogged feeling in the ears?

Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2851 Questions

Posted on Wed, 30 May 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Hello Doctor,
I have a concern. A few days ago I have noticed that my left ear feels plugged and at sometimes I can feel a heartbeat in that ear. I also noticed at sometimes, I feel lightheaded, which comes and goes. It has been like this for about three days now and I'm concerned because when I Google my symptoms, the following conditions come up:

Ménière's disease, Pulsatile Tinnitus, tumor, etc.
Any thoughts ?
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Googling symptoms can sometimes help provide information if you already know your diagnosis but when trying to self diagnose, usually it just frightens people because it won't say what is most likely.

The most common cause for what you are describing is eustachian tube dysfunction and possibly serous otitis. Eustachian tube dysfunction can happen when there is drainage in the throat due to allergies or a cold and it causes pressure changes and sometimes (clear, uninfected) fluid behind the ear drum. This causes a number of symptoms. The plugged feeling is due to the ear drum not moving well because it is sucked inward somewhat from the pressure abnormality in the eustachian tube, or from fluid behind the ear drum. Hearing one's heart beat is not uncommon and it may be somewhat amplified.

If it is annoying of doesn't go away, then I recommend going in to a doctor who can look at the ear drum and check it's movement with an air puff that can be done through the otoscope.

Any sound you hear that isn't coming from the outside world is called tinnitus.

Ménière's disease can cause dizziness and balance problems, and loss of hearing. It would not be something to diagnose by looking up but rather by seeing an ENT specialist in person. It would require an exam. If you have a cold though, or fluid in the ear, that can cause light headedness too.

I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information or clarification.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 42 minutes later
Thank you. I did have the flu over a week ago. I also used a q tip and accidentally went to far. Do you think any of these two could have caused it ? Also what do you think about the light dizziness associated with the ear symptom ?
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 8 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Fluid behind the ear drum can continue for some time after a respiratory illness has resolved. That may be what is going on.

If you think you may have punctured your ear drum with the qtip from accidentally jabbing it, then you must go to get it checked.

If there is fluid behind the ear drum it can cause symptoms of dizziness.

If the dizziness worsens then do go in to get it checked, but most likely this is a residual symptom from the previous infection.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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