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Plugged ears
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Plugged ears

My family and I moved to North Carolina in February, and I noticed that ever since we moved here I have had plugged ears. I do know that allergies are more common in places due to the high level of pollen and such. I have never had any allergy problems until now. I talked to my doctor and she checked my ears and said everything looked fine but to take benadryl just to be on the safe side. But no matter what I do my ears keep staying plugged! I don't even remember what "normal" hearing is anymore because I've had plugged ears for so long now. Is this normal to have with allergies? And if so is it always going to be this way? I hope not..
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello, I understand your discomfort.  I dealt with it for several months as well.

Allergies can cause the eustacian tubes to sbecome inflammed and not function properly.  It is called Eustacian Tube Dysfunction (ETD).

I would recommend that you try Zyrtec (or generic) instead of the Benadryl.  It is a better antihistamine, doesn't cause drowsiness, and can be taken once a day instead of every 4 hours.  

Sinus rinses are somewhat helpful for the eustacian tubes, but not as effective there as they are for the sinuses.

Also, you can try 3 day rotations fo Afrin - use afrin for 3 days, and then no afrin for 3 days and repeat a few times.  Never use Afrin for more than 3 days at a time or you can get rebound congestion.  

Finally, seeing an ENT or an allergist might be a good idea.  If you really suspect allergies, allergy testing and shots could be very beneficial.  See an allergist for this and make sure they do skin testing not blood testing.  A lot of ENT test for allergies, but by blood, not skin.

An ENT could put tubes in your ears.  I finally had one done and it really helped me.  The first two days of having the tube in I was ready to go back and have the second ear done - it helped that much.  However, I caught a cold and was totally misserable in both ears again.  When the cold cleared with the combination of the change in  pollen seasons, my most annoying symptoms cleared, so I am waiting now to see what happens this fall.

It could be a tough call for the ENT though because testing may indicate that tubes aren't necessary (normal ear pressure and visual exam), but your symptoms indicate that they are.  That is why mine finally came up with the idea of just doing one ear.  The procedure can have side effects and risks, so he was trying to err on the side of caution.  Mine said that he removes about 50% of the tubes he puts in adults.  It literally is a toss of the coin as to whether it will help or not.  For me the experiment was worth it, but no everyone has this kind of success.  On the lighter side - my ENT kept telling me I am complicated and an enigma - frustrating yet humorous at the same time.

I hope you find some help and answers soon.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you! That was some really good information. I'm deffinitely talking to my doctor about this on my next visit.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am glad it helped you.  I pray that you and your dr can come to an agreement on a treatment plan that will work for you.
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