Thursday, 24 March 2011

Blocked Ear? Muffled Hearing? Tinnitus? Ringing? Rumbling noise? Pain, Pressure or Fullness Feeling?

These are classic symptoms of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD)  If you have searched this blog down, then I guess that you may be suffering from some of these problems or symptoms? The symptoms could indicate any number of ear disorders including ETD.  Millions of people suffer this condition from a short term temporary bout to a long term or very rarely even a permanent condition.  I have written this blog because I have had suffered this for 5 years on and off.  Hopefully my experience will help you in some way to deal with this problem.  I have spent countless hours during sleepless nights looking up Google entries on Eustachian Tube and Tinnitus related problems in the hope that there is some magic instant cure for this.  Unfortunately there is no such thing.  However there are a number of things that you can do which may help to speed up your recovery and get back to normality as quickly as possible.  I have also included a few links to help you find some of the things that I found useful and some that didn't work for me but may for you. If outside the UK you can still find these items via Amazon or just Google them, or even on Ebay these items can be found .

So what are we talking about here?  If you lose your hearing in one or even both ears, perhaps in the middle of the night, it comes as quite a shock and can cause panic and great distress.  You may also have a pressured blocked feeling in your ear and a loud noise such as a hissing, roaring or ringing sound or a mixture.  It is very unpleasant to say the least!  Whatever you do, please don't panic.  Stay calm and try to keep in mind that in the vast majority of these cases it will go eventually! It just might take some time.

I will be as brief as I can but my story with this disorder is as follows. I have suffered two severe bouts of ETD, one after the flu in 2010 lasting 6 weeks before it finally passed and secondly for a 6 month period again following a virus from January until July 2011. During that time it came and went, usually in cycles of 3-5 days with severe disorder followed by the same period of easing off, before starting up again.  I visited my GP a number of times and was finally referred to the ENT after 3 months, however this was only as a routine case, meaning a further wait of 2 months before I could be seen by someone who might know what they are talking about.  I had an MRI which showed no abnormalities.  By this time it had eased off and my hearing had returned to normal. When I eventually returned for my follow up the Consultant ENT doctor told me I was suffering from Tinnitus! Well thank you very much as I would never had guessed that! Even to this date now (4 years after the blocked ear cleared) I am left with creaking and popping ear tubes and worse still an intermittent low level humming, buzzing or rumble noise in my left ear. This sounds like a misfiring car engine running on the driveway outside or sometimes a mini Darth Vader inside my ear waving his light sabre around.  I have now learnt to live with this largely, but sometimes when it peaks it can affect the quality of life quite severely. I have read many times about the brain's perception of noise and that sometimes it can focus in on internal ear noise making it sound worse than perhaps what it actually is. Certainly keeping yourself busy and active reduces its affects. Therefore I have suffered this worse than some people but not as bad as some unfortunate souls have had to put up with.

ETD occurs when your tubes that run between your middle ear cavity and your throat stop working properly usually resulting in a build up of fluid (mucus) under your ear drum.   It does this because your Eustachian tube is obstructed either by an allergy, an infection, a virus or sometimes a change in shape or function.  Often this will follow a cold or throat infection, but can also occur in isolation. Your Eustachian tubes connect your throat to your middle ear and provide the only air into the space behind your eardrum.  These tubes open when you swallow, yawn or during eating.  When they open, they let air in to maintain the pressure indie the ear and also let out any mucus originating from the ear and tube, therefore it is essential that they operate properly. Common symptoms include:
  • Painful pressure or fullness feeling felt inside the ear (like being underwater)
  • Hearing reduced, soft, muffled or even tinny.
  • Tinnitus heard at various levels.  This can be a roar, whooshing and or a 'tuning fork' type ringing sound. Rumbling, droning, cracking, popping, humming.. the list of descriptive sounds goes on and on. It varies from person to person.
Most adults will suffer Eustachian Tube Dysfunction to some extent during their lives.  Thankfully most will only get this in a mild form and the symptoms will be minor and short lived. The unlucky ones (me for one!) can get this in a severe form and cause absolute misery for days, weeks and sometimes months and for the real unlucky people dare I say years!  Children also get this with the condition known as 'Glue Ear' and this is very common.  Treatment will often involve grommets being fitted in the eardrum to release the fluid.  This blog however is aimed at adults dealing with this unpleasant condition.

The cavity to the right of the ear drum fills with fluid.
Click to enlarge.

So what can and should be done?  Firstly see your doctor.  This because the cause of this could be an infection.  Your doctor will examine your ear drum to see if it inflamed or push inwards because of reduced inner ear pressure. If that is the case, you may be prescribed anti-biotics, although often these can have limited effect with inner ear problems.  You may be prescribed nasal spray or decongestants (see below)  Initially you will not be referred to an ENT or it would be very unlikely. My experience and reading that of others is that the extent of a GP in dealing with this is limited to the above treatments.  It may be that this will work for you and your ears clear within a short time.  The point I want to make at this point is that this condition will not react quickly to treatments. It is easy to get upset when nothing changes despite days or weeks of taking nasal spray or decongestant, but please condition yourself to accept that it will take time to resolve.  Yes its horrible, but keep focused on that point because it is important in the long haul of getting this resolved.

Described below are some self help measures which you may want to consider.  In themselves these are not a cure, but collectively may help your body deal with this problem and eventually clear your middle ear of the fluid that is causing the problem. I tried all of these things and to be perfectly honest I am unsure if anything was particularly effective or totally useless.  There is nothing that will instantly relieve these symptoms.  If anything will work it takes time, days even weeks to finally start to get things moving again.  Patience is required unfortunately, which is little comfort when your ear is blocked, you feel inner ear pressure, loud noise and you cannot sleep!

Get those tubes open again.  You need to open your Eustachian tubes as often as you can to get air into the middle ear cavity and also allow excess mucus to find it's way out. When you achieve this you will hear and feel them pop or crack (this is good!) You can do this by swallowing hard or falsely yawning, pushing your jaw forward hard.  Use the 'Valsalva movement', which is done by pinching your nose and blowing quite hard with your mouth closed, filling your cheeks until both tubes pop open. It can take a while, but keep going. Hold them open for a few seconds, release and then swallow.  Do this 4 or 5 times a day at least. You might think this is not working, but keep at it as the ET's need to be re-trained to open up again.

Anti-inflamatories.  I believe that these drugs can help.  A common cause of the ET not working is inflammation in or around the ET's and by reducing this you can help things to get back to normal. It's worth a try, but keep going as it can take days to take effect. Be careful about the maximum period to take these, however complete a full course before stopping unless you need to stop.

Chew gum. Do this as much as you can and preferably use a menthol gum.  The chewing action will help the tubes to open naturally and the menthol will assist as well. Again, don't just use a packet and think that's rubbish!  Keep going for weeks and don't stop until you are sure it is doing nothing which could be sometime.

Use steam and lots of it. Using steam will help to free up mucus and open the tubes up. Do this as often as you can.  If you have access to a steam room, then use this and sit in there for an hour. If you don't like most people go and use a free trial at a health club telling them that you might join and use theirs! Using Olbas Oil with a nasal steamer is very good.  A facial sauna machine is a good substitute as this will keep the steam hot for longer than a normal fill inhaler. This is a good one to consider HERE  Whilst breathing in, open the ET's by yawning. Using a bowl with a towel over your head is OK as well but it cools quite quickly. I buy my Olbas mail order HERE

Heat pad.  Use a hot water bottle wrapped in a thin towel and hold it tight against your ear as hot as you can stand it.  The heat will radiate through to the middle ear and will help to free up that stubborn mucus. Try this for at least 2 weeks.

Nasal sprays.  These can be useful to start to free up the sinuses and ET's.  Saline spray is safe and some say quite effective.  Others include decongestant and steroid sprays, however take care not to over use these as this can cause a re-bound affect and end up prolonging the problem and not helping it. In other words your tubes get so dry that they will not be allowed to function and more mucus is produced to deal with that problem.

Sleep upright.  Don't lay flat because the fluid will shift into places that will not help.  Prop yourself as high as you can, which will naturally allow the fluid to drain. The problem ear should be upper most in my experience, but please try either way and compare if there is any difference for you.

Use a distraction to relieve the tinnitus (Noise Therapy) If you need to spend the night sat in front of the TV to drop off to sleep then do whatever it takes.  Relaxing music through headphones or a pillow speaker can work, as can 'white noise' which can cancel out the ringing or loud hissing sounds often suffered with this.  You can download these files or purchase them.  Experiment with various tones as some will work and others will not.  Try this site  For not a lot of money you can get a small sound machine to take your mind off the noise and mask the sound. This one is sold by Homedics.  There is a good MP3 download here of tinnitus distraction sound and music HERE  A fan left on during the night is very good but point it away if it is cold or you will freeze! Long term distraction has been a joy for me in re-training my brain to not notice my tinnitus so much.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  These are stimulants and will enhance any tinnitus that you have. The temptation may be to lose yourself with drink. This will not be productive. Now is a good time to try herbal and green teas.  Drink other hot fluids such as diluted fruit juices with honey which can act as natural decongestants and help with keeping your body hydrated.

Excess salt in your diet can aggravate this condition many believe and has been directly linked with tinnitus. I am fairly convinced that excess salt enhances my 'T'  although I cant be 100%.

Oral decongestants - you decide? The jury is out on these.  Some advice will say use them.  My doctor said treatments such as Sudafed are a complete waste of time to deal with this.  Yes they may dry up mucus but don't forget that we actually want this stuff to clear by running out, not drying to hard deposits in the ear. This can cause the ear to produce yet more mucus to shift the dried up deposits in what is referred to as a 'rebound affect'.  I did use them initially, however I will not the next time if this comes back as I am convinced that prolonged use of these did me more harm than good.  Piriton I found very good at drying up the mucus, however this caused my ear to block again and also caused the tinnitus to worsen.

Nasal irrigation - Many will suggest this as being helpful.  The Neti Pot is the most popular.  I used the SinusRinse system by Neilmed  which is easier than a Netipot and did seem to help. I would say for a small outlay it is worth a try, particularly if your sinuses are blocked as well. Amazon sell this HERE along with many other websites.  If you are going to use this give it at least 2-3 weeks before giving it up as a dead duck.

Look after yourself.  Eat well and ensure you are getting what you need to stay strong.  High dose vitamin C is viewed by many as good to help battle this.  Dairy food is thought by many to be one of the biggest causes of excess mucus.  Little evidence exists to say that it is that I can find, but for me avoiding this when your body is trying to shift it is probably a sensible sacrifice to make.  Certain food groups are thought to be inflammatory which may be triggering this problem.  Look at these foods and restrict inflammatory foods. Fresh garlic, ginger and fresh pineapple are excellent natural decongestants.  Gentle exercise may help, particularly in the fresh air, but avoid strenuous aerobic activity as again this creates more of the stuff you are trying to shift. Keep well hydrated by drinking you daily consumption.  Use this consumption calculator HERE

Devices may help.  There are a number of devices available aimed at relieving this problem.  The Earpopper may help if you are unable to open your tubes up yourself.  Earpopper  The Eardoc produces high level vibrations through the ear which is claimed will open up the tubes and allow the fluid to drain. Eardoc  Any other device which can produce vibrations to the ear may help to get things moving.  I have used both of these devices and found neither to be effective, but they might work for you.

Clean Air.  I noticed that going out in the fresh air would often help relieve symptoms, so you might conclude that being able to live indoors and particularly sleep with clean air free of dust and other allergens may help you deal with this.  I obtained an air purifier Ioniser which I left on before before going to bed and kept running through the night. The air certainly felt fresher and with the added bonus that the fan noise would take my mind off the tinnitus.  This is a good model to consider at a reasonable price. HERE

Homeopathy.  There are some natural medicines available that may help.  Just search 'Ear Problem Homeopathic' to see what is recommended.  Kali Bich is thought to be particularly effective at helping with ear, nose and throat disorders. Echinacia is worth considering also but only take this for 2 weeks max.

Think positive.  It is very easy at 3am with no sleep and an ear that feels like it's going to explode, to feel that the world is ending and that you will be cursed with this forever.  You must keep positive and believe in yourself that will  eventually go.  Virtually all cases of this will clear up, unless you have a rare complication which will not allow this.  If you have this for a prolonged period, you must pester your doctor and demand to see a specialist.  This is because he/she is the only person to see if there is an underlying cause which needs other measures. Medical interventions are limited to solve this and the exact causes of this illness are still unknown.  As a last resort grommet's can be installed in the ear drum, but for many reasons this should be carefully considered.  In the US there is a new baloon surgery surgery treatment where the Eustachian tubes are opened up manually.

This condition can make you feel quite lonely and isolated because nobody else can see anything wrong with you and when you describe the symptoms you often get the feeling that although appearing to sympathise with you, what they are really thinking is 'yeah whatever, get over it'. Many a time I have become quite frustrated asking myself 'why me, why have I got this and nobody else appears to even know what this is let alone suffer it themselves?' Be assured that there are millions of other sufferers, you just don't know where they are. As of November 2015 this one blog alone has been looked at by over 106,000 people!

In summary, what I suspect helped me the most to unblock my ear was regular inhalation of steam using Olbas Oil, taking Ibuprofen to reduce internal swelling and getting air into the middle ear.  I can't be sure, but these remedies appeared to relieve the symptoms. Once you are over the worst of it, if you have continued problems with noise in the ear you can help yourself by simply looking after yourself. If you need to use any masking or distracting techniques that work for you.  Above everything else stay strong and tell yourself that you will deal with this problem eventually as the vast majority do.  You will get upset, miserable and possibly even quite depressed. It will feel like the condition has taken over your life and there is no escape. There will be light at the end of this tunnel, however for some the tunnel is fairly short but for others it seems like it is dark for a very long time.

I am not medically trained and these thoughts are only my own based purely on my experience and reading about this horrible condition.   Please take time to add your comments and experience below. Good luck.

Regards Dave.

Useful links
References; Ear problems, deafness, noise in ear, clogged ear, tinnitus, ear wax, ear drum, hearing problem, muffled sound, disorder, decease, illness, nose, sinus, blocked ear, mucus, etd, tinnitus, earpopper, eardoc, ear fullness, otex, olive oil, ent, otitis media effusion, advice, discomfort, pain, hurting, hissing, ringing, help, advice, advise, rumble, rumbling, crackling, popping, meniere's, treatment, cure, deaf, buzzing,


  1. Dave, I just wanted to say thank you so much for writing this out. I got ETD for the first time last month, and it was the craziest I have ever felt in my entire life. I must be a lot more impatient than you, because mine lasted about a week and I was already feeling suicidal. No appetite, unable to work, and couldn't think about anything but the ear condition. A heavy dose of Flonase and a mixture of anti-histamines and decongestant helped me, though I got heart palpitations and anxiety.

    All was well for about a month, and then I stupidly thought that since I was feeling fine, I could stop the Flonase. As of yesterday, the condition is back in full force. I had an ENT appointment last time around , but cancelled as the ear started getting better, and now I will likely have to wait at least a few weeks to sees someone.

    Anyways, I'm sorry for the ramble. I just wanted to let you know that I am following all your tips, and just spent some time in a hot tub & sauna, which seems like it's helping a little. Another tip to add - the only time I feel sane is when I have headphones on. Not the ear buds but the big, noise-canceling ones. Listening to music and watching Netflix on them balances out the stuffiness to both ears, and helps the miserable days go by faster.

    I can completely relate to how you were feeling, and I hope it never comes back for you. No one deserves to feel like this. Thanks again for posting this!

    1. Thanks so much Dave for this. I come back to this site again and again and each time I do feel reassured. I have had this ETD issue for the last three years and every now and then like now it get worse. I can hardly hear at the moment, muffled hearing everything and now to top if off ringing right now in my ear. I've had an MRI and they found no anomalies thankfully but I just cannot understand why this syndrome seems to go on and on. It just gets you down. I had a cold a few weeks ago and the knock on affects have been huge. Bouts of no hearing at all, then partial then noise etc. You know the scenario. Just makes you think you are the only one in the world suffering from this. But then each time I read your page, I feel better and not so alone.

    2. Hi Digby 5, You are not alone mate! I know that feeling where you think why me? why not you, or you? Sometimes you almost wish some others could experience a day of the same just so you can say, there you go, not nice is it?! I would go back to the doc and get referred up again to a specialist and put pressure on them to keep looking at options such as the balloon dilation that is coming in. You may get put up as a test patient. I have problems now 3 years in to this but my hearing is fine just low level noises which makes sleeping difficult but I try to consul myself by telling myself there are always other people suffering more more than me in the world somewhere! Just try to keep positive and tell yourself that you will beat this one day. Chances are that you will or at least get it to a frequency level that you can cope with. Good luck. Dave.

    3. Hi Dave, yes I too want to thank you for sharing this with us...i have exactly the same symptoms as you, identical in fact.....and I think I shall be permanently stuck with tinnitus now due to the severe is a comfort to know that there are others out there suffering with this horrible condition too, and knowing that I'm not alone..

    4. Hi Dave
      you have done excellent service to patients like us. It is reassuring to know that it is not only me suffering with this disorder.Doctors in India only suggest hearing aids. I do not find them of help. I had once taken 60 mg. dosage of steroids. It helped for one and half years. Should I take it again? Thanking you
      Anil Kumar Agrawal.

  2. Yelena, Thanks for your comments. Yes it is horrible and mine keeps returning, however not quite so bad each time as the last, so I hope in the end it will go, although I fear that this is something that I along with countless others will just have to learn to live with and manage. I hope yours is better now!
    Regards Dave.

  3. Many thanks for this site,from a fellow sufferer. Like many, I imagine, my faith in conventional medicine is being sorely tested as after 2 months, there's no discernible improvement. So, I'll try some of the other options you list.


  4. Hearing loss is one from the ear ringing causes. Around the age of 60 years old, some people may have hearing loss and this cause tinnitus. Head injury, brain injury, ear injury, and nerves or ear linking injury can cause ear ringing. Construction equipment, rock concert, loud music can cause ear ringing but only when it does not over a long period of time.

  5. Dave, How much ibuprofen were you taking that seemed to produce results? I've had ETD for about 6 months. I've had chronic nasal congestion issues most of my life. But I do remember that when I had a back problem, I was prescribed a high dose (800mg X3 per day) of ibuprophen, and after a week or so of being on it my congestion completely cleared. However at the time I didn't feel the stomach issues brought on by this amount justified the decrease in nasal congestion. I'm wondering if I could get by with less?

  6. Don, I was only taking the normal daily amount of 2 tablets 2 or 3 times a day. It seemed to ease off whatever was causing the problem. When I stopped it flared up again. Regards Dave

  7. hi
    my doc has just diagnosed me with etd. When I press & pull fowards on the side of my face (by the flap on the outer ear, the tragus I think it's called), it clears the symptoms of dulled hearing and pressure in the ear, but only as long as I stay in that position. Sounds unlike etd to me as surely that can't be clearing any blockage on the other side of the ear drum? Any thoughts, does this temporary solution work for you? Thanks

  8. Kev, That cant be unblocking the middle ear cavity but it may be having some effect on your hearing as when I move my ears back by pushing jaw back my tinnitis gets worse whilst doing that and then reverts back again when I stop, so there must be some connection with the outer ear and any problem within. In doing what you are doing you are probably reducing the pressure slightly within that cavity and when you release again it goes back. Not sure how long you have been suffering but it will go of its own accord eventually but its a long job!

  9. Hi Dave

    Thank you for the post. I've been suffering from the same symptoms you mentioned here for the last 4 days and I feel that every day it just get worse. I notice that tinnitus and muffle sound become more noticeable when I wake up in the morning and then start to relieve until night.

    I tried most of the procedures you mentioned here, nothing seemed to work until now and I'm fearing the worst. I can't imagine myself cursed with this nasty condition for the rest of my life.

  10. Geniusnsm, 4 days is nothing to worry about even though its horrible to put up with for any length of time. I suffered for 6 months before it finally subsided. Mine was the opposite to yours - a bit better in the morning but worse at night. Keep going with the inhaling 3 or 4 times a day. It will go, it could be weeks or longer but keep positive.
    Good luck.

  11. Hello all, I too have had this for 2 months, I havn't been diagnosed yet bit Im pretty sure it's edt. I have a lot of pressure in my nose and head too though which makes me feel very unwell.And the tinittus is just unbearable :( It has caused me to have depression as I find it hard to think about anything else and feel like my life is on hold. Ive got an ent appointment next week so Im hoping they may be able to help me. Im really trying with the self help measures you mentioned, so thanks for a positive post on this horrible illness, its good to know people have recovered. Hope we all get some releif soon!

  12. Sooze, You are not alone with this. Please update us with the result of the ENT visit. Good luck.

  13. Hello and thanks for starting this very informative and reassuring blog. It really is a comfort reading about other people’s experiences.
    I've been diagnosed with ETD and have been suffering with it for about 6 weeks. Although I haven't suffered from the tinnitus (I can't imagine how awful this must be) I have found the experience extremely distressing.
    In case it's of use to anyone reading this or if anyone else can offer any more advice I thought I'd write about my experience of this condition.
    I was feeling a bit under the weather, when on a Saturday afternoon - when I wasn't really doing very much - I suffered a panic attack (I’d never had one before). It was terrifying, but after speaking to a great nurse on NHS direct I managed to calm down.
    However I was left with a residual feeling of unreality and painful and blocked ears. On the Monday I went to a Walk-in Centre were I was brushed off by the doctor who refused to look at my ears and told me to take up yoga to deal with my stress and anxiety.
    When I went to my GP I was sent for blood tests, mistakenly given medication for labyrinthitis, before eventually being referred to an ENT doctor.
    My ear pressure was tested and it wasn’t working properly and I was diagnosed with ETD, and it was also discovered that the tube linking my right nostril to ear leans to one side too much. The doctor said the feelings of unreality and being in a dream can indeed be caused by ETD and that if a person is quite highly strung ETD can also cause panic attacks/anxiety. I’ve been on flixonase and steaming for a few weeks and am getting better. I’ve also been using saline solution and was for a couple of weeks also on otrivine – although I came it off the latter yesterday.
    The ENT doctor also said that this may be linked to an existing problem I have with my jaw TMJ:
    I’m seeing a Doctor about this tomorrow.
    I am definitely feeling better and the steam in particular helps lots. Today I’ve been trying sniffing a tissue doused with olbas oil at work which seems to work quite well too. The feelings of anxiety come and go and I guess I will have to get this looked at if they don’t go once my TMJ and ETD issues are resolved.
    Anyway I hope everyone on this blog is feeling better and it’d be great to find out more about other people’s experiences. I’d be particularly interested to find out if anyone else has suffered from panic attacks?
    All the best

  14. Thank you to everyone who has posted. My problem began on the night of Nov. 4th, 2011, when I came home from being out on the town...I walked in my front door and, I remember the moment well, it was as if a vacuum sucked air into my ear and plugged it up. I am rarely, if ever, sick, and maybe every few years have one cold, but earlier in the week I'd felt miserable and had no energy for four days--I couldn't even get out of bed. I had no fever or cold, not even a sore throat, so having this happen to my left ear didn't make sense to me. I had no hearing in that ear. The next afternoon, I came down with a cold that lasted two days. However, the hearing loss lasted about nine or ten days, and I mean I heard barely a thing. I thought it would subside and I'd regain my hearing, but nothing changed. Eventually I went to a general physician who prescribed Sudafed. That did nothing. I then went to an ENT who said there was no fluid in the middle ear. I had an audiogram which showed that I had a mild hearing loss in both ears, but a significant loss in the high frequencies in the left ear, the ear that now had muffled hearing...a feeling of fullness and pressure in it. He ordered an MRI which showed there was no problems, and he said confirmed that there was no fluid in the ears. I was about to go on an overseas flight and was worried about the pain in that ear, as I'd experienced forty years ago (but obviously I never forgot it), and even though the doctor told me that I would not have pain, I didn't want to take any chances so I asked that he insert a tube in that ear, which he did, and I didn't have any pain on the flight. I probably wouldn't have had it anyway, but I didn't want to take any chances.

    Meanwhile, I continue to have diminished hearing in that ear and a complete blocked and full feeling. I have tried different types of acupuncture, craniosacral therapy with a physical therapist, myofascial release therapy (kind of like massage but it's not massage, technically), chiropractic, and even ayurvedic massage in India...the only thing I've noticed is that with craniosacral therapy and with one intense adjustment of chiropractic (he told me he could not help with the ear, but this was just a regular adjustment), I noticed what could only be described as very mild post-nasal drip down the back of my throat. Thing is, I'd need to continue these therapies daily if possible, especially the craniosacral therapy. That therapist said that if she didn't effect change after three sessions, that she didn't feel she was helping.

    SO...I'm just learning to live with this annoying plugged ear feeling. The physical therapist who practices craniosacral therapy mentioned something about possible fluid putting pressure on the dura, the nerve covering, or something to that effect which I obviously don't understand well enough. She thought that we should be able to get some movement from that and then my ear would clear, but there was minimal progress.

    If anyone has any other ideas, I'd be glad to consider them. Thank you.

    1. Judi, Sorry to hear about your problem. It is only time that will probably sort this out. Be patient and just keep trying to look after yourself and use lots of steam and Olbas!

    2. Judi,

      Have you recover from ETD? I am also suffering from ETD for around 1 month already...

      God bless

  15. So I just wanted to give a short update from me. I've found steaming with Olbas,using steam rooms ,nasal rinses, ibuprofen and Flixonase have been the most effective treatments - in addition to the valsava movement. A few days ago though I caught a cold which has brought many of the symptoms back.
    Sick of the smell of Olbas (I'd used one of those Olbas nasal sticks too) I thought I'd buy some smelling salts (sold in Boots or indeed here:
    I've only been using them for about a day but I think they're really quite effective at clearing the sinuses in case any sufferers out there want to give them a go...

  16. I have had this for the last few months and it really is depressing. Has anyone here had a myringotomy done?

  17. Thank you for posting Dave. I'm waiting for ENT appointment but my symptoms are as you describe and have been like this for 3 months now... I get a few days relief from craniosacral therapy each week but it's expensive so I'd love to find some other solution. Going to try some more of your ideas. Have your ears remained clear in the last few months or are you still having more episodes? Did you avoid gluten as well as dairy?

    1. Swimchick, Sorry to hear you have this. Mine cleared after about 6 months of coming and going but I have been left with an intermittent rumbling buzzing in the left ear. I think the months of pressure in my ear has done something, hopefully not permanent but I have this now for a year. Not too aware of it during the day but at night it gets worse and in bed it can keep me awake unless I use external noise to fool my brain that it is not there. I have just had tonsillitis so have been expecting the whole saga to start again but thankfully not so far! I did try cutting down on dairy and gluten but not sure if it helped or not. As with all these things it is difficult to identify what is helping. At least if your scan shows nothing you know it is not something serious but very annoying nonetheless. Good luck. Dave.

  18. I have had nasal/sinus/etd problems for years and have self-treated with steam, decongestants etc. My GP always reminds me to use the Valsalva technique and has asked me "are you sure you blow hard enough?". However, a couple of months ago, because of sheer frustration, I used the valsalva and blew very hard - I do mean very very hard. From that point the ETD has actually been much worse with severe pressure inside my right ear and worse of all acute tinnitus. I feel I have done some damage by blowing so hard and have in fact made things considerably worse. Please dont make the same mistake. I did hear of an alternative which I thought was a joke but which has helped slightly in relieving symptoms - drop your head forward, pinch your nose and say the letter K repeatedly. I have an ENT appointment next week so I'm obviously hoping for a solution to this hell.

  19. Howard, By blowing too hard you may have pushed whatever crap is inside your ear further in. It will probably ease back so don't get too depressed. When I Valsalvered I often thought it was worse afterwards but long term I am convinced it helps. Please don't expect your ENT to have answers. Hopefully they will but mine were hopeless telling me I have.. wait for it.. Tinnitus! No advice , no solutions.

  20. Thank you for your post it is kind of giving me hope. Here is my story and i will try to be short. In april during easter holidays i ended up suffering from the worst cold i had ever had. by the third week it started to ease up but i was left with an itchy ear and a feeling that it was slightly blocked.On thursday of the third week i decided to use a cotton bud to try relieve my symptoms. On the friday i decided to go to a club whilst in the the club my ear decided to crackle and pop i remember thinking of all the times my ear decides to unblock why now. When i came home that night i had the loudest ringing i became so panicked. The weekend went by i didnt notice the ringing in the day but only at night and the blocked feeling became worse, i felt like i was under water. I saw my gp asap on monday who just sent me away really saying that it was due to my cold. Saw a 2nd gp who prescribed me antibiotics said i had and inner ear infection. Then i saw an a+e doctor eho said i had and outer ear infection. Then i saw another a+e doctor who said it could bre an iron deficiency as i had a severe panic attack and my blood pressure was low.

    Finally i saw and ENT and thought i would get some answers. I had a hearing test and results showed i had no hearing loss however my left ear (the ear that was fine) the pressure wasnt equalizing so well. The ent looked into both ears and determined in the ear i was feeling discomfort actually had waxed pushed down as a result of me using a cotton bud and had be sitting there for months keeping my ear moist which kept me with a constant infection. He vacumed it out which was quite painful and did the same with the unaffected ear which wasnt painful. He determined that i had ETD and it would clear up in time.

    6 Months on and i still have tinnitus. The blocked feeling as gone however wen i do the valsalva movement my right ear clogs up and then slowly unclogs but i dont feel it does this fully. I get crackling sometimes aswell.

    I am so frustrated i am only 22 i have just started uni and i am stiff scared of going anywhere or do anything where it might be loud for fear for making my tinnitus worse which is my biggest fear. Can anyone tell me whether they think i should be as concerned with going out? how much will earplugs work?? can the tinnitus get even worse if its caused by ETD and not hearing loss.When will this go??

    please any comments would help. And sorry for rambling xx

    1. Shanz, Sorry to hear of your troubles. If you still have this condition, I wouldnt worry about going out the only problem is that noise will temporarily worsen your tinnitus but it shouldn't cause any long lasting damage unless of course you are exposing yourself to dangerous levels of noise. Earplugs will work and you should buy some good quality plugs. You will still find when you come home at night into a quiet room the noise will be very uncomfortable. You need to manage that with noise therapy eg a white noise machine or fan etc. It should go eventually. The human body is superb at mending itself but it may take time. I still suffer noises in my ear off an on 2 years after the flu that triggered this off but I am hopeful that one day it will be a thing of the past. The most important thing to bear in mind is that tinnitus in many cases is aggravated by what we consume. So stop caffeine, sugar, salt,reduce alcohol and sweeteners and increase non inflammatory foods such as fruit, veg, walnuts, almonds,garlic, ginger, pineapple etc. Cut out processed foods. This can only help in the long term. Good luck

  21. Hi Dave, thanks for posting a website about this disturbing condition. I've been suffering from this for slightly over a month, off and on, and I am struggling to find any info about this on the internet. Your post has been the most helpful so far, so thanks for that. I have a question for you though, can a doctor detect fluid in your ear just by looking at it? I went private to see an ENT quickly as it was driving me crazy and my symptoms disappeared just before I went, so I was 100% normal when I saw him. Audiogram and tympanometry were normal, so does this mean I do not have fluid in the middle ear? Now symptoms have returned. It seems to wax and wane on a daily basis. Does ETD always mean there is fluid in the middle ear?
    How did you know you were getting better, were there longer periods when you didn't have a problem? This is driving me crazy and it feels like it is getting worse from when it initially started and I am naturally very worried. The valsalva sometimes works in unclogging the ear but other times, it just makes a squishy sound and the ear still isn't unclogged. I'm going up the wall. I don't know whether to see an ENT again or self-prescribe some decongestants to see if it helps. Do you feel your sinuses are clogged? I don't feel as if mine are, I can breathe easily, but I was still given a nasal spray by the ENT.

    1. Hi, Sorry to hear about your troubles. Sounds a very similar story to mine. Mine lasted 6 months of blocked middle ear until it finally emptied enough for the ear to clear and hearing to return to normal. Although even now 2 years on It sometimes feels slightly different to my other ear with clicking and cracking noises when talking or eating. I also get bouts of a rumbling noise a bit like a bee or wasp inside my ear and it can vibrate so I can feel it as well. ETD can also mean that the pressure is just incorrect without the ear being full of mucus but eventually the result will be the middle ear cavity filling up to some extent. My sinuses are clear like yours. Stick with Valsalva but dont blow too hard just enough to open it up.
      I would keep inhaling olbas steam 3 times a day whilst opening your tubes with false yawning / lowering your jaw. Cut out inflammatory foods and eat those that will help - see above. Also Brufen tablets helped to clear my ears I am convinced of that. Sprays did nothing for me. Most important dont let this ruin your life. Eventually it will go and your body should return to its normal condition. Good luck please post your progress.

    2. Hi Adventure Rider,

      Just to check with u, as i have ETD for around 1 month already.. really feel worse and affecting my life.. =(

      When u are healing/recovering from ETD, does the ear suddenly pop itself after 6 months or what are the signs that the ear ETD is getting better..

    3. artemisworks,

      Have you start to feel better or ETD Cleared after several months?

  22. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for setting up this blog. Here in the US without medical insurance, when I have a health problem, particularly an elusive one like this, it is helpful to talk to other sufferers. Often, the panic and confusion from experiencing an unfamiliar affliction is the worst part, or at least an unnecessarily difficult addition. Also, I find that even if I do go to a clinic, it helps to come with a pre-diagnosis of my own or at least knowing what questions to ask, as doctors here, I find, are often pompous jerks who talk down to you and don't really tell you what you need to know unless you rather assertively guide it out of them.

    Anyway, I think my first sign of my current ear problem was a little over three years ago, in August 2009. I was on a friend's boat, and I dove off the side, about five feet into the water, and emerged with an awful pain in my right ear. It lasted quite a while, though I don't remember how long.

    Since then, whenever I sleep, it seems like I have a perpetual glob of mucus slowly rolling from ear to ear. Whatever side I turn to lie on, by about twenty minutes later, it will have rolled over to sit in that ear. I can blow my nose and temporarily clear it, but it will just regenerate itself within an hour or two.

    For the first two years, this was annoying and uncomfortable (and still is) but not painful, and I didn't notice any ringing. That changed last winter, when I got a cold in late December, and my ears -- for the first time since my early childhood -- felt clogged and painful for months, and I had a lot of difficulty clearing them. Ever since then, my right ear has had a fairly noticeable ringing and a feeling of being off-pressure or slightly snotty. My hearing isn't reduced as far as I can tell, but it's very uncomfortable (and sometimes painful), and I am concerned about the possibility of damage over the long term.

    There are two other things I want to add. One is that about nine months ago, I developed severe tonsillitis on the right (same) side, and just before this, I felt like my ear had drained. I wonder if whatever drained out of my ear caused it. If so, it was some pretty bad brew, and I really don't want that accumulating in my ear anymore! The other is that I occasionally get a sort of inflammation that causes my sinuses (not my throat or anything else) to close up so I can't breathe through my nose properly. I don't know what brings this on, but it can happen more than once a day and last for hours.

  23. Replies
    1. Hi Erlend, Thanks for asking. The ringing has gone now but I have been left with a low level intermittent morse code type hum in the left ear. During the day moving around you don't notice it but anywhere quiet particularly at night it can be a pain. It means using distractions with various means. If it never gets worse I can live with it but long for it to go forever!:-)

  24. Dave: Thank you for this article. I am at my wit's end not knowing what to do next. I have had a clogged, muffled left hear for 1 month now. I woke up on July 3 with my left ear feeling clogged, congested and muffled, as if I had swimmer's ear but without hearing any fluid swishing around when I shook my head. Unfortunately it was the start of 4th of July weekend and my doctor’s office was closed. Finally, saw my general practitioner on July 9. He didn’t see anything inside my ear, no wax buildup, fluid, redness, nothing. He put me on 6 days of steroids and gave me a nasal spray (Nasonex) to use once a day. Sometimes its worse in the evening around the time I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning.

    By July 13, the low pounding rumbling bass noise in my ear (which seems to be more sensitive when low rumbling noises are around me, such as a crowd of people in a restaurant or the TV sounds, etc.) was unbearable with the pressure and clogged feeling getting worse. I started feeling dizzy and when I stood up or just moved my head around, I felt like I had a Bobble Head and I was going to topple over. So, I called my doctor again (on weekend) and asked if I could go to the emergency room or could I go somewhere and have it drained. He told me no and prescribed an antibiotic (Amox) for 10 days.

    On July 17, ear still feels clogged, pounding sound inside of ear, in evening began to get very dizzy standing, head felt off balance, nausea, followed by sweats, this lasted about 3 hours then went to sleep. Next day, July 18 I called my general doctor and told him about what happened and he told me I need to see Ear, Nose, Throat specialist and to call a specific doctor.

    On July 19, I went to a Ear Specialist and they did ear testing, and some type of ultra sound (???) wear the run waves off of both ears to detect if there is fluid in there, no sign of blockage or fluid. They said it may be viral (could take 3 weeks to 3 months to remedy itself). They said I could wait it out or check back and they may do blood tests and x-ray.

    So here we are at August 5 and the clogged ear started to get worse this morning at my office, I stood up and felt dizzy, off balance tried walking and was afraid I would fall over so I just stayed at my desk, then started feeling nauseous. Put a call into the Ear Specialist again. Ugh, I am so sick of this. I had bronchitis back in May (6 weeks before this ear thing happened), I wonder if that had something to do with it? Other than that, I have always been a healthy person and never have the need to see my doctor.

    1. Nicki, Really sorry to read about your problem. Think positive, difficult I know but I am sure your body will overcome this eventually. In the vast majority of cases it does, it just may take a battle to get there. Are you using vapour (Olbas for example) to clear your head. Twice a day minimum. Dave.

    2. Thanks Adventure Rider. Well, I had blood tests and an MRI of my head done last week. Just got the results and MRI and blood tests are normal. I was put on another course of stronger steroids for 12 days which I just finished and did absolutely nothing. So, now back to the Ear specialist to do another hearing test. This will be the 3rd time they put me in that room, to listen to beeps in each ear. I don't know why they are bringing me in again for this, it's a waste of time and money. They already know from the previous 2 times that I have hearing loss in my left ear because of this. I have another appointment this Thursday. The doctor said that I may have "Meniere Disease." I just looked it up and all the symptoms seem to be right on. I almost wish they found a cyst in my ear, at least they could go in and take it out and this whole feeling would stop. But Meniere Disease sounds like there is no cure and how do I alleviate the symptoms? I feel the quality of my life has gone downhill, stopped exercising, gaining weight, and the husband is getting no lovins and this weekend, the clogged, pressure feeling and being dizzy was so bad I spent most of the day on the couch. This is not the life I want to lead. I work a full-time job for lawyers, and now I have to worry that I may not be even able to drive a car to work? This is what I found on Meniere Disease:

      Meniere Disease

      Warning symptoms such as fullness or pressure in one ear may come before an acute episode of the disease, or attacks may occur spontaneously.
      Common symptoms are these:

      - Fluctuating hearing loss with distortion of sounds and difficulty with speech discrimination

      - Ringing in the affected ear (tinnitus)

      - A sense of the room spinning (vertigo)

      - A cold sweat, nausea, and vomiting, or generalized weakness during the attack

      - The episodes are unpredictable and usually last from 1 hour to a few hours, depending on the severity of the disease.

      -Recurrence of the attacks is a cardinal feature of Ménière disease. Typically the attacks are few, but the usual pattern of Ménière disease is increasing frequency and severity of the symptoms. The disease can be very disabling as the frequency and severity of the attacks increases.

      -Early in the disease, the symptoms usually go away in several hours, but hearing loss may take a day or more to return to normal. Hearing loss can become permanent and, due to changes in the middle ear, may lead to intolerance of any loud noises.

    3. Hello!!

      I tried to post a response earlier but it seems to have disappeared so apologies if this ends up being a repeat.

      About 10 years ago, in my early 20s I used to suffer with menieres disease...or at least the symptons of it, doctors seemed to diagnose me with it and dismiss me after that. I went to a specialist but they were useless. It occurred in my early 20s while I was finishing uni and trying to earn some hindsight I think I was stressed and overwhelmed with the amount of debt I had managed to accumulate at such a young age.I was also living in a part of the uk that was always damp and never seemed to stop raining.

      Fed up with the way things were going and the lack of social life I had as a result of the dizzy attacks..I moved home to a dryer part of the uk, and did not suffer again! I was cured of the fullness and the tinnitus. This was such a relief. I blame the dampness in the air and the stress I was experiencing. It took a while for my hearing to return fully. I was careful to avoid swimming, sniffing when I had a cold, and anyone whispering in my bad ear. I even made sure I slept on my good ear so that nothing could get back into my bad ear. It seemed to work. I now live in australia and I would say since ive been here my hearing has been 100%. Im not sure if this helps anyone but hopefully it will provide you with some hope.

      Now I am suffering with fullness and tinnitus again, but no dizzyness. Its been like this for 3 weeks. I think its stress related. Work has been intense involving long hours, and as a result my diet has been very poor. Weekends arent better as I help my fella with building our house. So I think its fair to say that I need to give myself some time out and take care of me for a while.

      Ive also been racking my brains trying to work out whether ive changed anything lately that may be the cause of the problem. Ive had the bass on high in my car, so I turned that down today, changed my pillow so changed that back last night, and the local cafe changed its coffee beans (...ha ha probably gone a bit too far now)...but im also going to try and chill as much as possible and just let things go for a while.. hopefully that will help. Oh and improve my diet and try olbas oil!

      Ive been referred to a specialist but I think that will be a waste of time and money. However I may consider seeing one that suffers with etd, does anyone know of one?

      I will post again if my current condition improves and let you know what I did.

      I wish more could be done on researching this problem.

      I wish you and everyone else a speedy recovery.


  25. Hi all,

    Thanks to Dave for setting this up. I have looked at the posts on and off particularly when I am going through bad patches. Now I said I better tell my story of this torment.

    I have had this problem on and off for almost 6 months. I suffer from sinus on and off and I got bad dose in March and it went but in mid April but my ear became blocked, thought it was wax etc but went to doctor and he said it was Eustachian tube dysfunction and should clear in couple of weeks. Started steaming and nasal sprays etc. 1 week later a buzzing noise started in my ear. Freaked me out completely and was getting no sleep. This noise reduced after few days but still rumbling/ringing in the ear. The ear unblocked after a week but still not right. I had to take a number of weeks off work as I was sleep deprived and depressed. I was at GPs a number of times, got steroids, antihistamines and an MRI. The symptoms eased and life returned to normal but I have been struggling with this on and off. The main issue is with the tinnitus affecting my sleep. I go through periods of days or even 3 - 4 weeks where things are good but then it flares up again. The ear does not feel full now but the tinnitus has reached levels where my sleep is severely affected the last few nights. I do not know what the connection between the tinnitus and ETD is but I hope the tinnitus will recede again and hopefully disappear at some stage. Good luck to all and any advice is greatly welcomed.

    Best tips: Try not panic but I find this hard during bad periods.
    Keep steaming with olbas oil. Use soothing sounds and music to aid sleep. Talk to friends and family during bad periods. Accept it is tehre but keep hope that it will go away at some stage.

    1. What is the latest with your ETD problem? Did it improve?

  26. Hi Adventure Rider,
    Thanks for your Information.
    My left ear blocked for the last 10 days.
    My Doc. gave me a Nasal spray & some Antibiotics to clear my ear.My left ear is fully blocked and i can not hear anything.i have been doing steaming 3-4 times a day & doing everything i could,still no change.Doc. said me the next option is doing 'Grommet'.
    Give me some suggestion ? How long i have to bear this?

  27. Khan, Hang in there! It may take some time but it will clear eventually. The grommitt would sort it of course but that would be a last resort. It could be a few weeks more or even longer but just positive and don't let it get you down.

  28. Dave, how are things, are you completely clear of all symptoms? I'm hoping so....I have been suffering for 7 months, just wondering when you had etd did you find you experience pain at times when music was to loud or certain tones? I was also exposed to loud music when this all seemed to start so I'm wondering it that has anything to do with it. I did a hearing test and it came back perfect so not sure, I also put my head underwater in a hot tub that was full of chemical (yes I know very stupid). This is sooo frustrating and I'm hoping to hear that you have made a full recovery so guys like me will be 100% again one day.

    Thanks for the posts.


    1. Hi Dave, Sorry to hear you are struggling after 7 months. My blocked ear feeling lasted about 6 months on and off and then gradually subsided but I have been left with this low level humming noise which is always around but sometimes a lot worse than other times. Sleeping is the main problem for me without masking. Don't get down about your ear as the money is on it going eventually. It just takes a lot longer for some people. Try to keep the tube open as often as possible with the Valsava blowing and use Olbas twice a day. Good luck.

  29. Hello everyone, before I write more, I just wanted to ask - has anyone heard of or had Balloon Dilation Procedure for Eustachian Tube done? I'll write more about that later .... but first:
    Thank you so much for this blog Adventure Rider! You have done a fantastic job here - I have spent the past 3 years researching ETD and your blog is definitely the best post I have read. Very informative and positive (which we all need!). I am a 31 years old female, from Canada and I have suffered from ear pressure in my right ear for 3 years (unable to clear it from fake yawning and swallowing, except every once in a while I'll randomly swallow and my ear will clear - it's literally the best feeling in the world! Unfortunately the pressure usually builds again quite quickly as I yawn and swallow naturally). The pressure typically starts off ok in the morning, and the more I yawn and swallow during the day the MORE the pressure builds up (so in other words, what clears the pressure (sometimes) also CAUSES the pressure to build! very maddening!). What caused my pressure is completely a mystery. I wasn't sick, I have never had ear problems before and I hadn't been on a recent plane trip. It just sort of happened, as I said, 3 years ago, and never went away.
    Back to my original question: has anyone heard of Balloon Dilation for Eustachian Tube? I am from Canada and saw it featured in the US on an episode of "The Doctors". I actually tracked down the lady who had it done on the TV show and emailed her. She emailed me back and said she had the procedure done 3 years ago and her ears are STILL clear to this day. I researched some more and found the names of the Doctors that invented it: Dr. Brian Weeks in San Diego, Dr. Poe in Boston AND a doctor in Switzerland (I will have to check his name). I attempted to contact all 3 of these doctors, and the doctor in Switzerland (or somebody that works for him) emailed me back. He said the balloon dilation for eustachian tube procedure was a very common procedure in Europe with great results. I was wondering if anybody has heard of it or looked into it, etc.? My main concern is I read that one potential issue with it is the procedure comes close to hitting a major artery ... but from what the doctor in Switzerland said, that has never happened in the hundreds (if not thousands) of patients that have been treated using this procedure.
    Again, thank you for your blog and for everyone's posts!

    1. Hi Shannon, Sorry to hear of your ear troubles. Many reading this will completely understand your frustrations. The balloon dilation you ask about is very new here and was up to last year still in experimental stages. I would guess it depends on your health authority whether they would put you up for treatment as part of the trials or it may very well be available as time moves on. Keep researching and asking questions and you may end up with a result. I would put pressure on your own doctor and health board to find out what the availability is of this for you! Good luck. Dave.

  30. Same Problem with tired of this irritation,some dcotors said nose infection some said block in ear and throat pipe, fedup finally landed to homeopathic medicine and slight reduced and also suffocation if exposed to cold or AC, always irritating with sound of as plastic crushed, suggest any good remedy for this herbal or natural treatment, mail me thank you

    This post is same my symptoms


  31. Hi everyone- I am suffering from this as well for several years. It comes back after my chronic sinitus is at its worst. It stays sometimes for up to two weeks. One thing I want to mention is that you should NOT use decongestants. That is a no-no, as the fluid is built up in a spot where it is trapped, and you are only going to make it worse. What you want to take are expectorants. Like a high dose of guaifenesin twice a day. In conjunction with that, taking an antihistamine like claritin will help bring down the swelling. A nightly netipot with warm water and saline also helps with the clearing process, and will ease the build up at night. If all of this fails, it is likely that the build up has caused an infection and your best bet at this point will be oral steroids, not anti-biotics. I know, it's a whole lot of medications, but it does clear it least until the next sinus fit or cold comes your way.

    1. Thanks for your comments Jules. I am sure other sufferers will find this useful. I hope you are well and improving. Dave.

  32. I have been suffering off and on since Dec.(third winter a row). However since about the end of Feb. my left ear has morphed into not only muffled hearing but a constant rumbling wooshing noise. It is a living nightmare. Have been to ENT he said both ears have some fluid. He put me on steroids and nasal spray. That was 3 weeks ago and I have seen no improvement. I am going to an allergist next week. It's kind of nerve wracking to think it could be something serious like a tumor. I see a lot the posts here have all had MRI's. My doc. did not suggest this for me.Is that something I should push for? Dave,when you got better did it happen gradually? What did your recovery feel like?

  33. I've been following this blog too, and I'm so glad to see you guys posting so recently. I too have had this problem for a while now - blocked ears, muffled, my nose is too, and ringing. It has triggered an anxiety attack which I haven't had for years now - so frustrating. I keep thinking either 'It must be something serious the doctor has missed!' or 'what if it never goes away!' Nothing they give me works. Some days it's slightly better, and I feel less enxious, other days it's worse, and it just gets me DOWN. Sorry you are suffering too, but I feel better knowing you have the same thing. :)

  34. I am sure this is what I have, for a month now. Today all I hear is a whooshing sound in my left ear. I have been taking sudafed and reacting my dr told me to take antihistamine. This does not seem to help at all. I have used the neti pot but then I blow my nose and hear squeaky loud sound so I fear this is bad. Is the neti pot really okay, what if it pushed water i to my ET? I have good and bad days and it helps to keep busy. Today is a bad day.

  35. Dave,
    Thank you, as well as all commenters, for the info. An ENT stated that my ETD results from eardrum damage from a childhood ear infection. We both viewed my eardrums with a camera inserted into my ear canal. He pointed out that healthy eardrums are basically clear. My eardrums had some cloudiness to them. The ENT stated that this cloudiness is the evidence of past ear infections. I am wondering if you or anyone else has come across this situation. Once again, thanks for the info. I will be looking into the steamer and Olbas Oil. A homeopathic healer advised me to place some Frankincense oil in my ear canals. He said it might burn a bit. I have not done this yet and have not researched too much about it, but it may be of some benefit.

  36. I have been suffering from ETD for several weeks following a flight. Symptoms, like many of you, include a fullness of the ear, loud popping sounds every time i swallow, and recently a constant high pitched hissing sound which is driving me crazy. The doctor said i had to give it a few more weeks to clear on its own, if not then try a nasal spray.
    I've been trying to stay positive but when i can really hear the hissing sound it's so hard. Thanks for this post; I am def going to try some of these ideas and see if they help....

  37. Thank you all for posting all your stories..
    I have dealt with ETD for a few months now and I agree with all of you, very annoying. I'm 32 and this is strange since I have always been super healthy. Does anyone wake up in the morning after sleeping really good and feel as If all the symptoms have subsided ??? Then after getting out of bed and standing up maybe going to the bathroom then within a min or so start to feel the effects of ETD slowing come on? My guess is the mucous or whatever fluid that is inside the eustauctian tube slowly makes its way back to the middle ear / behind ear drum giving you that slight muffled sound / water in ear feeling , etc. etc..


  38. I plan on trying the nasal spray steroid using this website as guidance. Has anyone had success ?

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Hi Eddie
    I get same as you I feel ok at night it only when I get up and after about a minute symptoms come back. I had this over 3 months now and it horrible . I am on nasonex for 3 week now not sure if it making much difference

  41. Hi Eddie
    I feel the same. Mornings before getting up it seems that all the symptoms except ringing in the ear are gone.

  42. I feel your discomfort Aileen and Kam :/
    So quick update, after relentless discomfort with my right ear ETD going on for 2 plus months, I was at the beach with the family and got struck with a wave from the ocean striking my right ear drum( I know more pain) I experienced excruciating pain lasting about 5 min. Went back to ENT and turns out I perforated my right eardrum ( small hole) was told keep it dry and should heal on own in four weeks., however, all the symptoms of my ETD went away (it's been 10 days now) and other than minor hearing loss which is par for the perforation ... I was told the hearing will eventually come back once the perforation is healed(I'll confirm with more audio test) . Please don't go perforate your ear drum in an effort to try and fix ETD .. But I'll re post to let u know if my ETD returns once ear drum heals.. Any comments I'll answer .. Anybody experience this ? Hope everyone is doing good!

    1. Hi Eddie:
      Thank you for sharing the good news. Did you have tinnitus too? Is it still there or is it gone now?

    2. Hi Kay
      Let me first add to my recent post that I had an ear infection prior to the beach wave incident so I think that my ear drum was already inflamed and weak which contributed to the perforation. I'm going on over 2 weeks since my ear perforated, I have an appt in two more weeks with my ENT to see how the healing is coming,. I had all the ETD classic symptoms , ear popping, muffled hearing, feels like water in ear, etc.. for about two months but since my ear perforated all of my ETD has subsided except tinnitus which is only in my bad ear.. I've had tinnitus prior to this incident and for a long time which comes and goes.. I am not a doctor and I don't know if this is a coincidence that the perforation somehow infiltrated air to the Eustachian tube to help drain the fluid/mucous which in turn subsided ETD for me-
      Again, since about two days after the perforation, all my ETD symptoms have subsided and it's been ETD free for over two weeks.. I will re post once my perforation in ear drum heals fully cause who knows of ETD will return then?? Will see.. I hope everyone gets rid of this ETD cause it was driving me crazy ..

  43. Hi Dave

    I have pressure fullness and sounds are louder and echoey. Started 4 weeks ago. No cold only thing that happened was the car door was slammed hard while I was in it and it felt uncomfortble straight away and the all these symptoms a few days later.

    Saw ent yesterday said edt tympanogram was normal and he said there is no treatment so hopefully it will just go.

    Life is hell I cannot fu ction and the thought this will never goes is ruining my life. Did yours subside suddenly or slowly and did you have good and bad days before that. Both my ears are bad. Was it 6 months before it completely went apart from the tinnitus or did it improve before that.

    Please any help I am desperate

  44. Could I please ask all the ETD sufferers to make an effort and remember to come back to this blog after recovery from this illness and post their recovery story for the rest of the people who are still struggling. It gives everyone hope and patience until their recovery day.

    I have been suffering for over 3 months from hearing loss and muffled hearing, high pitch tinnitus and fullness in my right ear. My only big question is, will I ever recover from this condition and how long will it take? My doctors have been all useless with no straight answer.

  45. Hi Kay,

    I really agree with you as I have had no response and am desperate. Just want to know if or when it will go.

    Did yours start with an infection and do you have it constantly. Mine is in both ears and I am going mad.

    Do large open spaces bother you sound louder than normal


    1. Hi bourne61 and all other sufferers:
      My ETD started 3.5 month ago. Symptoms were constant LOUD high pitch ringing in one ear, fullness mostly in one ear and sometimes I felt it in both ears, slight dizziness, high pitch hearing loss and also I would hear sounds louder than normal. Every single day I had all these symptoms and I got depressed with no hope of recovery after reading all the negative feedbacks on the internet and also based on the uselessness of my ENT and medicines. I am glad to inform you that the fullness and pressure of my ears are gone now. Sometimes they come back for a short period I mean minutes and then gone for hours and sometimes days. Life is almost back to normal. My hearing has improved a lot and I don't hear sound muffled and the volume is back to almost normal. I see light at the end of the tunnel. The only thing that is still here is the ringing in my right ear. But the volume of that is also lower and most of the time I don't even notice it. I know I am on the road for full recovery. So to all of you, hang in there and be patient, YOU WILL RECOVER. What helped me tremendously was daily meditation and believing in the ability of my body to heal itself.

  46. Hi Kay,

    I hope you will look at this blog again as I am so glad you posted your story. No one else has replied but you have given me hope.

    I am only 6 weeks in but really need to know what caused your symptoms or did they just appear. I am exactly the same except for the fact mine was noise induced and the pressure is my worst symptom.

    It really would mean a lot if you replied and updated to all sufferers

    1. Hi bourne61:
      Mine was caused by noise too. I purchased a kayak from another city and put it on top of my car and I was driving home. The kayak was making a very very loud noise like an airplane. Because I was alone in the car I ignored it. I drove for a couple of hours with this loud noise. The next morning I woke up with ringing in my ear and fullness and dizziness which continued for 3.5 months. I still have mild ringing in my ear but the fullness is gone and the dizziness is gone. However, I notice that the symptoms come back briefly when I am extremely tired or over stressed.

    2. Bourne61:
      Hang in there. It takes time. For the first 3 months it felt like that I am not getting better at all and I was losing hope. Now life is back to normal. Stress and anxiety is your enemy and will prolong the healing process. Try meditation whenever you can. Have faith that your body will heal this horrible illness. You just have to be patient and let your body heal without you prolonging it with anxiety and stress. Best wishes to you and everyone else who is still suffering.

  47. Hi Kay,

    Thank you so much god bless you for replying. You have given me hope that this horrible thing will go. I needed that today as I am very scared and anxious at the minute.

    I am only 7 weeks in but my husband and I are so stressed. We have both been through a lot healthwise over the last few years.

    I would explain more but it is not possible to private message you thru this blog. But thank you again and please continue to check this as I will update. You are fairly unique in that you take the trouble to update with good news. The internet is full of horror stories.


    1. Hi Maria:
      I feel your pain. This horrible illness puts a big toll on the whole family. Make sure you don't burn out your husband by complaining to him all the time as he feels powerless. Try to lift the stress and anxiety off of him and yourself by thinking positive and do the things you love. Don't let the illness stop you from enjoying life. Try to enjoy life while waiting for this to pass. You and your husband have to feed each other positive energy. You will be fine girl. Smile. Your day is coming. Just be patient. It takes time. Best of luck.

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  50. I have had luck with LipoFlavonoid. It's a mixture of vitamins for the inner ear. Worked for me within 30 days.

  51. Michelle, it will go I am better not 100% but ,life is now bearable
    How did this start for you and what are your symptoms

  52. Awesome post and informative content. thanks for share !!! visit more info Youtube Support

  53. Hi All
    I am a fellow sufferer and wanted to share my story. I have had this problem for 3 months now. My symptoms are blocked and full feeling in both ears as well as clicking and crackling sounds at times. I also suffer from tinnitus in my left ear only although i think it may come and go in my right ear as well. I can pop my ears but they almost immediately block back up and it just ends up giving me a headache from trying to clear them all the time.
    I have seen two ENT's. The first said there was nothing wrong with me and the second said i had ETD (tubes are too narrow to function properly).
    At the moment i am trying to stay positive and am using all the great ideas i have found in this blog. I am using Olbas with steam everyday and also a nasal spray and anti inflammatory prescribed by my GP. I have also purchased an ear popper which i find clears my ears much better than i can by myself. This combination seems to be slowly working so i will keep it going for the next few months and hope things keep improving for me.
    I have found an ENT in Sydney, Australia who performs the Balloon dilation procedure so I plan to make an appointment for around March next year and if things haven’t come good by then I might give it a try.
    This is a great blog and I check it daily and use it as motivation to keep pushing on as I am determined to beat this. Keep up the great advice and good luck to all of you with this terrible condition. Don’t let it ruin your life. There is always hope!

  54. Hi
    I just wanted to let everyone know what I have had success with. I have also had muffled hearing, blocked ear, roaring tinnitus alternating with a vibration in my right ear. As well as strange cold sensations etc. I have had this now for about 6 months in 3 or 4 day cycle. It caused me so much stress that I've been off work for a few months. However 3 weeks ago I went to get a manual lymphatic drainage massage and haven't had a blocked fullness feeling in my ear since. I still have the vibration and some tinnitus in my other ear but the ENT consultant mentioned it could be tensor tympani syndrome. This is also made worse by anxiety and after my MRI yesterday was all clear and I can finally try and put everything behind me. That's not to say I don't now have any symptoms but I know there's nothing serious and counselling has helped me refocus on getting on with life. Meditation and yoga has also helped a lot as some yoga positions seem to make my ear feel much better! Keep positive!

  55. Thanks for this blog and comments. I'm nine weeks in and fretting constantly. I want to know when and if this will resolve. I miss the old me.

  56. Please take heart everyone, for a lot of people this resolves. It's just that when we get better we stop reading blogs I think. I have had problems on and off for while now, and I have found that, as Dave says, taking care of myself and eating right has really helped. I cut out dairy, gluten, tea, coffee, caffeine, sugar and took zinc ascorbate, various other vitamins and minerals prescribed by a nutritionist, and fish oils, as well as the ibuprofen which really does help. My problems tend to reappear, but usually when I am overdoing things and eating all the wrong foods. Things can improve a lot so please take heart.

  57. Hi to everyone - this is my first post here, and I just wrote a long and detailed explanation of my experience with the same problem - then had to change my password to post my comment - when I finally managed it my lovingly crafted comment was gone! Arrrgh! For the mo I have given up, but will tell my story later. Suffice to say that at least it's good to know that I'm not, as I thought for many years, alone with this hell. For me the worst symptoms are the unbearable pressure and the terrifying sense of unreality I suffer when I have an 'episode' - it has caused me to be seriously depressed and anxious, and then, of course, the medical profession will go, ahah, no actually you're depressed and hypochondriacal.... However, more recently I have actually had two GPs at least able to see the fluid behind my eardrum, and a sinus x- Ray last year revealed that I now have sinus polyps ... Awaiting ENT appointment, my first in about 30 years ... Will see what happens this time round.... In the meantime, thank you all for being there, and by the way, for those suffering for the first time - although I am currently going through living hell once again with this, it has got better for me many times in the past, so I'm pretty sure it will do for most of you. I will be signing in again here and will let you know my story soon. Take care.

    1. Tessa, I hope that things are improving. If not they will eventually I am sure. Stay strong and resolute about beating this!

  58. Nobody seems to listen to how serious this problem is. Not being able to hear out of that ear is extremely depressing and it's made me cry. I've only had this problem about two weeks. I'm a musician and i need to hear for work so this whole thing really is depressing. I'm really glad, well, thankful, that others are going through the same. I thought i was just crazy and nobody seems to understand. I went to the doctor and they gave me antibiotics. Which, my ear isn't infected. And she told me i have allergies and need flonase. Ive tried ibuprofen, Afrin, dayquil, benadryl, claritin, steam, humidifier etc etc etc etc. I don't know what to do, that valsalva thing didn't work either. Why would that eustachian tube do this? Seems idiotic lol.

  59. I've used foam earplugs from the drugstore before and I like the EarPeace gladys cobb

  60. Omg..this blog is awesome! I have been suffering from this issue for 7 weeks and I cry alot. It is so unbearable. I have seen an ENT...use steroid spray and nasal rinse...its a joke. I have tried literally everytbing possible. Spent hundreds of dollars. What confuses me is somedays are better than others...why? I really am at my wits end. I totally understand being suicidal

    1. Hi, Hang in there. It will be a long job to sort this but it will in the end. Blocked ears can take an age to sort themselves out. Millions of others are suffering with you so you may feel alone but you are not! Keep going with the treatments even if feel they are doing nothing. Good luck.

  61. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Why did you remove my comments?

  62. I have had loud screeching tinnitus in left ear for three years now, It started with pressure in the ears and no effusion. I was in both ears but resolved on it's own in 10 months in the right ear. I cannot take certain meds or it will get worse and I just about have a nevous breakdown. Anyone else get that and how do you handle it?

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  64. Hi
    This thread has made me feel hopeful , I have had tinnitus for 13 years and hardly ever noticed it , 7 weeks ago i had a bit of hayfever which led to ETD as when i tried to pop my ears it made a squeaky noise which anyone sat next to me could hear !! my tinnitus has since been so loud it is really getting me down , ent gave me steroid tablets and anti biotics which i start tomorrow , i have been steaming too but only now and then , i dont have a runny nose but just feel congested , i can now pop my ears without the squeak but T is still loud as ent said i have thick mucus by my eustachian tube , i keep telling myself this will go away and my T will go back to being mild but im so scared it wont and its this loud forever !!! I usually get a flare up when i get a cold but never as long as this , so thanks dave its gave me hope

  65. Just want to report all is well again. Symptoms lasted close to six months. ENT specialist recently confirmed ears are clear, hearing is perfect, balance is just like before. I flew to Vegas recently without any issues. Just want to offer encouragement to all. It was a rough winter...

  66. Just want to add that it resolved itself over a long stretch of time.

  67. The eustachian tube is a thin tube that joins the middle ear to the back of the nose. The tube is usually closed, but opens when we swallow, yawn or chew. This allows air to flow into the middle ear and drain any secretions or waste

    Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Service NJ

  68. I have the muffled sound but am able to "pop" my ears. Do you think this is the same thing? My primary issued me flonase, on day about 5 of it. My ENT cleared me of any hearing loss, no infections, etc. Nothing visable with his little tool:-) I'm thrilled to read your post and feel like there might be some hope.

  69. Dave - I am in the exact same position as you. I have had it since Nov 11. Thank you for uploading this Blog. It is a real comfort.

    1. Weird...November 11 was when mine had started.

  70. Candida Yeast Overgrowth

    I've read a lot of stories on the internet about Eustachian tube problems. A lot of stories are very similar. I have had Eustachian tube problems for about a year. I figured it would just go away on its own but I realized one day it had taken over my life. You might have an overgrowth of yeast in your body which has spread to your ears and other parts of your body and can lead to a host of problems that will effect you for the rest of your life. It is a fungal infection so it is completely immune to antibiotics such as amoxicillin and other conventional antibiotics. In fact while your taking an antibiotic that kills of the good bacteria in your body the yeast continues to grow and invade where it shouldn't be. This will eventually lead to an overgrowth, especially when eating sugar, carbs and gluten. It seems like such a common problem yet it seems to elude your average GP or ENT doctor. Mine started after taking Doxycycline a powerful anti-biotic for treating Lyme disease. Ever since then I have had many issues such as tiredness, malaise, constipation, gluten intolerance, canker sores.. and more. The topper being ETD in my left ear which had caused many of the symptoms others have listed. I finally found a doctor who I believe has pointed me in the right direction. When first reading about Candida yeast overgrowth I realized I have most of the symptoms!

    I hope this can help some people. I feel like I have read hundreds of stories on the Internet about ETD. I'm willing to bet at least some of you have this. Yeast thrives on sugar.. eliminate sugar and you starve the yeast. A change in diet may be all you need!

    Please visit the link below it many change your life. If your doctor does not know what candida yeast is or dismisses the thought of you possibly having it. I would find a new doctor.

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  72. Well, I'm new here. I've never put myself out there with anything like this. I'm just about going nuts! I flew to Bangkok and when I got back to Canada my ears never "popped". Dr told me I needed more depression medication. The ENT looked me in the eye and said "my dear, whatever is going on in your head is not in your ears". I'm being treated for TMJ as well. This one says virus, that one says bacteria, another yeast, all I know is I can't hardly function. Never did I think I'd be dealing with this consuming condition. So now I'm going to try some of your suggestions. Hope for the best!

  73. i HAVE BEEN TRYING MANY THINGS. i THOUGHT Iwill share with you.Idaily take ginger juice with honey.I take olbas oil steam.I take arsenicum album12* calcarea carb30* hydrastiscan 12* kali bichomicum12* pusatilla12* excipients12* This is available ready to use made by BAKSON DRUGS &PHARMA PVT LTD PARWANOO INDIA.I put warm kalaunji(check internet for english name)oil mixed witholive oil two drps and gently massage the inner ear. some times I get repeat attack. I hahe also found steroid 60 mg as a last but sure alternative. I welcome your response.

  74. I had a sudden onset of muffled hearing, ear pressure, and ear ringing at 2 am ... when I rolled over in my sleep from my right side to left side. I saw the ENT specialist yesterday for sinus pain and pressure as well as for ear pain. I wondered if this sudden onset was from something he did. However, after many hours of research have found so man unfortunate ppl like me who've had sudden onset of the same issues, many in the middle of the night like me! I'm going to call the ENT back tomorrow. Hopefully he'll see me immediately. I believe this is a case of tinnitus and eustacian tube dysfunction. We shall see what my ENT says. Regardless, I hope I get lucky and the condition goes away just as fast as it suddenly came on. Thank you for this detailed and very helpful information! ~Alisa

  75. I've been desperately reading ETD and TMJ blogs, suffering from ear fullness, sensitivity to noise, ear pain, popping and pressure for 3 months at age 21. It drives me insane that I am experiencing such issues at a young age, but I am finally on to something that you all must read and look into. First of all, I saw a TMJ specialist and I do have a jaw joint issue. My disc has slipped, and there is bone-to-bone contact pressing on my ear canal, which is causing some irritation. I was given an appliance to wear at night, and it is helping my jaw realign (and relieving my headaches), but doesn't seem to be doing much for my ear yet (it has been one week of wearing it). But now, I discovered it is not only my jaw. It's my CAR. Sounds crazy right? My CAR. I purchased a used vehicle at the beginning of the semester, and ever since, the pressure slowly built up in my ear. It gradually worsened to the point that I am depressed and constantly think about my ear issues, but I never made the connection, so I just kept driving it more and more. I did notice some airplane-like pressure a couple times, but thought, "No way, it's probably in my head." But then, I drove a friend of mine on the highway one day and he was the first other person to notice. He goes, "what's wrong with your car man? I feel like I'm in an airplane." Then and there, I knew it. I have no idea what it is yet, but I know it's something causing air pressure in my car. I will start driving with the windows open to experiment, and if I confirm it 100%, I'll have fix whatever's causing it or sell it and buy another. The point is, check your jaw, because that can irritate your ears, and also, if any of you recently bought a car, THAT MIGHT BE IT. Words cannot describe how frustrated I am that I did not catch onto it earlier, but I guess it was a good lesson to pay attention to detail. At this point, I have trouble getting out of bed, the sensitivity to noise has made me antisocial since I can't go out with all my friends and what not, and I am finding it MUCH harder to function in school. But I am glad I know what's causing it now. I will follow your guidelines for ETD, wear my jaw appliance religiously and see where that takes me. I will post an update, hopefully including the specific issue with my car that can cause such a thing. I have some hope that if I fix this or get another car, maybe my ears will naturally go back to normal. These few months have taken me to very dark places.