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Blocked eustachian tube, no infection, facial and arm nerve trouble
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Blocked eustachian tube, no infection, facial and arm nerve trouble

For the last month, I've had a pain in the middle left of my head.  It feels like it is at the top of the back of my nose....if that makes sense.  After the first week, it seemed to migrate down a bit and I felt like I had a deep ear infection in my left ear.  Simulataneously, I noticed problems with a numbness/tinglyness/warmness or weird feeling in my left arm.  It seems weakened.

I'm no stranger to ear infections, as I had them occasionally as a child (I never had tubes, though) and I get them as an adult usually at the tail end of a cold/flu.  So this seemed out of place because I have not had any cold or flu.

I went to the ER back in the middle of October and was shocked when they told me my ear was NOT red.  It hurt so bad and felt so much like an ear infection, I was convinced it was.  They gave me Roxicet for the pain and sent me on my way.

After 4 days, the intenseness pretty much went away, but I still felt a "sensation" in the middle left of my head.  I had an MRI for my arm numbness and blurry vision (to rule out MS) and although they found asymmetry of a gyrus in front of the right occipital lobe and under the corpus callosum, two neurologists agreed that it is normal "anatomical variation" like if you have one foot slightly bigger than the other.  

Well, that sensation has intensified in the last week in my head and ear and added was a slightly painful sensation under my left eye to the side of my nose.  It feels like compression of the nerve in my face.   I am still having trouble with left arm feeling strange.  

It occured to me that maybe my eustachian tube was blocked.  I noticed I could not get my left ear to pop.

I went and got Sudafed and had a lot of relief for about 12 hours.  I took the maximum dosage and quickly noticed that although the medication was being taken regularly, all the symptoms returned and failed to be alleviated again.

It seems to me that I have more trouble with the symptoms the later in the day it gets.  I feel best in the morning.  (I do have an anxiety issue and wonder how much of this is actually physical and how much is psychological.).  

I can finally pop my left ear on occasion by plugging, blowing, and wiggling my jaw.  But it seems to close right back up and I feel the ear squeeze pain.  I still have that weird sensation in my head and my arm.  I can also still feel it under my eye, but that symptom is better.

I can't find anything anywhere about a blocked eustachian tube causing nerve problems other than the nerves in the face.  It just seems to me that after a month of dealing with these symptoms, that my arm issue is directly related to the pain in the middle of my head/ear.

What could all of this be???

I hope someone can help me.





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Avatar_n_tn
I am convinced this is an infection afterall

Back in October when I went to the ER and they gave me Roxicet for the pain and no antibiotics, I dug up my old partial leftover one of Erythromycin in the medicine cabinet.  I took all that was left which was only a couple days' worth, but it responded and I felt so much better.  I thought I'd pretty much killed it.

Then it came back last week.  I've suffered with it all week knowing the doctors were going to say my ear looked fine and was not infected and here's some Roxicet for the pain.

So I posted here and then searched high and low and found another partially unfinished antibiotic  Cephalexin. (I know I'm not supposed to do that and I only did so in desperation since these doctors do not believe I have an infection)   I took 2 yesterday and it is like a MIRACLE!  My tube is still somewhat blocked, but the pain is completely gone and my arm feels normal!  I can feel junk running down the back of my throat.

I'm calling my regular doctor tomorrow as I will be out of that antiobiotic I found and I really don't want this cycle to start all over.  I hope he recognizes this is a very deep infection and apparently doesn't show in my ear drum, but is much higher up.

I'm relieved.
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242516_tn?1368227505
eustachian tube is probably blocked causing serous otitis media (otitis media with effusion), the MRI may have mentioned something about the ears?
Saline nasal rinses and steroid nasal inhalers help. Ask your doctor today for this.

Don't take old partient leftover antibiotic prescriptions like the cephalexin or erythromycin, who knows if it's still good?  A couple days of antibiotics doesn't do anything for sinusitis, it takes 10 days or more.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your response.  Yes, I did check the Erythromycin before taking it and it was not expired.

My doctor checked my ear yesterday and said that the drum appeared "sucked in".  He said he could not see "the cone of light" which apparently the reflection from the otoscope when the ear drum is flat as it should be.  

He prescribed 3 days of Prednisone and a course of Azithromycin.  Hopefully this will do the trick, otherwise my next stop is an ENT.
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242516_tn?1368227505
Ear exam (otoscopy) that shows "sucked in" eardrum is what we call "retraction" with negative pressure in the middle ear.

"the cone of light" is seen when the drum looks normal, and reflects light off of its convex surface

Prednisone is an oral steroid, to fight inflammation

Zithromax is an antibiotic to kill bacteria

An ENT is a good idea if you have recurrent sinusitis, chronic symptoms.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think my doctor was very optimistic the steroid and antibiotic would knock this out. Now that I've completed the 3-day course of the Prednisone  (40 mg every day), I'm convinced it won't.

Of most note, is that I notice I feel MUCH better in the mornings.  As the day wears on and by afternoon, my symptoms worsen and into the evening I'm MISERABLE.  I'm now wondering if this is likely due to the fact that this problem is positional?

I can feel that my ear drum is still sucked in and my eustachian tube slams shut almost as soon as I open it and it is getting harder to open again.  My arm (same side as ear) numbness and strange sensation is directly proportional to my ear.  The worse my ear feels, the worse my arm feels.  The better my ear feels (in the mornings) the better my arm feels.

Can you comment on the likelyhood of my arm problems being connected to my ear situation?

It appears as soon as I finish the Z-pack, I'll be calling my doctor for that referral to the ENT.  What would the likely treatment be?
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242516_tn?1368227505
Your arm problems in your arm are not likely to be connected to your ear problem

It may take a few days for the prednisone to help

An ENT may place tubes if you have recurrent, chronic infections:

http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/1033
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been having more-or-less the same problem for almost 2 months. Its terrible!

I have seen 3 GPs, 2 ENTs, and 2 Chiropractors, and 1 internist. A lot of those docs just gave me BS diagnoses because I look generally young and healthy but this is not going away!!

Exact SAME thing. Pain started in left ear. Swore it was ear infection, ever doc who looks in my ear says its fine.. yada yada. Pain shooting down side of my neck, different areas different times.. not muscular.. nerves!!!

Going to a new ENT tomorrow and I am going to beg.

How did you ever resolve your problem???? ?/?

The pain is getting worse, just like you said as my last Doc recommended trying sudafed.. thought I was getting better then I crashed worse than ever.
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Avatar_f_tn
I can't believe I've finally googled an almost exact description of what I've been going through since March 2008.

March - My problem first started with severe deep eye pain in my LEFT eye.  Went to an Optometrist who said there were "some" inflamed cells on the surface.  Gave me steroid drops.  Drops instantly took the pain away but the pain was back by the end of every day - just not severe.  

April - Went back to Optometrist because of severe pain again.  He gave me more steroid drops.  

May - Severe pain in LEFT eye again and LEFT ear clogged up, then became painful.  Went to my Primary Care doctor.  He figured it was allergies.  Gave me Nasal Spray, Steroid eye drops, Singulaire and Cipro (just in case there was an infection going on.)  Did great until the Cipro treatment was over.

June - Severe pain in LEFT eye, LEFT ear that was always worse after doing PT stretches for my cervical stenosis.  I became completely deaf in my LEFT ear - with odd sounds richoting in my head when I brushed my teeth or took a shower.  My left arm dramatically increased in neurological sensations.  Doc gave me more Cipro because the ear was actively infected at that time.

July - Started having painful attacks every 2-3 hours on the LEFT side that involved my eyeball, inner ear, outter ear, cheekbone, lower/upper jaws & teeth, left side of nose, eye socket tender to the touch, a phenomenal headache split right down the deep middle of my brain with shingles-like pain on my skin.  They lasted for three days.  I can't afford the ER.  Doc said, "maybe neuropathy" - gave me two months of Doxycycline (warned me this is "unconventional treatment") but was willing to try it to spare me the expense of an ENT.

The first week, I took 2 Doxy a day - it helped - but when I had to drop the dose down to 1 Doxy a day my eye has since felt like someone poked it real hard, not severe but hurts like hell - and my ear / head is ringing louder than usual - and is clogging/clicking all the time and the inner canal feels numb - my outter ear is mildly painful hurts more to lie on it.  (the attacks had stopped before I saw my doc or started Doxy).

I'm going to an ENT Nov. 4 - but really think I need to go see my neurologist instead.  I haven't DARED do my neck stretches because it makes my head WORSE - especially my eye and ear and arm.  

With all due respect, sir ~ there IS a connection of some kind with the arm, neck, ear and eye.  PLEASE give more advice on this issue.  PLEASE help us find the connection.

Very Best Regards,
Jasro  
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. I have had a blocked ET, with pain down my neck, since July and I'm just about out of my mind. ENT thinks it may have been an infection from swimming in a natural quarry (untreated water). And, yes, in answer to someone's post (roger?), it got worse after my GP flushed my ear. ENT says that wouldn't have caused damage, but I have my doubts.

I've had a round of antibiotics, two rounds of steroids, and I take Claritin, Sudafed and two nasal sprays (one prescription). I sit in the steam room at the gym when I can. Nothing helps. Been to the ENT three times. Nice guy, but he's taking this way too slowly for my taste. I'm having hearing tests in January.

Thanks for listening. My husband is probably tired of listening to my woes. I've had two years of non-stop chronic problems.. dental, broken bone, gastric and now this. I can hardly remember when I last felt well. Every morning, I wake up and realize my problem is still there and my heart sinks. I try to tell myself "It's not chemo!" and that helps to make me grateful for the health I do have. But it's a daily struggle to stay positive.
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Avatar_f_tn
see a neuroligist.  The nerves in your cervical  spine affect your face, ear, sarms chest etc etc. This sounds like refered pain. If anti biotics/steroids aren't helping the problem is not infection.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi iam going through same thing, had a lot of stress started with ear like infection like 3 lots of meds from doc... then to dentist as all my teeth felt rotten , nothing , said i had tmj?? went to ortho, had a dam in mouth aka splint soft food exercises etc 15 advil a day. had flu syptoms (symptoms) sinus earpain jaw clicking pins and needles in hands chest pain arm pain, arm pain feels like nerve and sometimes grinds , sometimes nothing have neck pain and jaw that come and go dizzy spells, snot running in throat wet feeling inside my ears.. have eye twitch too !! my teeth are worn on one side and have broke tooth from grinding, clenching, am an a personality and am high strung person , can any body help dr cant !! this has been 3 yrs and some days i can honestly say i cant move i hurt so bad
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Avatar_m_tn
Cactus girl's description is basically identical to what I've been experiencing for the past month. Almost identical symptoms:

--Facial semi-numbness (left side, various spots)
--Similar feeling in left hand (though less often, and less pronounced)
--Generally fine in the morning, worse in the evening
--Mucus somewhere behind the back of my throat, that I can't clear by blowing my nose.
--Doctor says my right eardrum is retracted.
--I hear my pulse loudly in my right ear when the room is silent.

I flew transatlantic twice while I had this problem, and noticed that all my symptoms (including the facial numbness) went away while I was on the flight. Which seems to suggest that it's some kind of sinus/ear issue.


The first thing I experienced was facial numbness (It wasn't actually numb, I could still feel when I touched. More like semi-numb with odd sensation, kind of as if it was covered in a layer of mud). This lasted for a few days and went away, then came back, on and off for the last month. It wandered all over the LEFT side of my face. First felt it around my eye and back towards my ear. Later in my cheek, occasionally in my jaw and teeth. Also, I often had a sore spot at the top of my head, directly above the back of my ear.
My stuffed-up ear was on the RIGHT side, but I did seem to have some mucus at the back on the left also, so perhaps there was a left-side sinus infection that I couldn't feel. After about a month the left-side facial stuff isn't there any more, but just today I felt it suddenly in my right cheek below my eye. Alas. Not done yet.
I've had a couple of other symptoms too, but I was worried sick about the whole thing thinking I was having a stroke, so perhaps the other symptoms were due to anxiety:
--Had some weird very extreme thirst one day.
--Felt a little unbalanced a few days (though my actual balance was fine)
--Misc others, including pains in my abdomen, sudden food intolerances.

As I said, initially I was terrified it was a stroke, but the doctor said the pattern wasn't consistent with a brain injury, more some kind of peripheral nerve irritation. He couldn't explain the left hand, but chose to ignore it (something else maybe).  
It all started during a period of very dry local winds which are apparently known for causing sinus problems.

I haven't had any antibiotics, but have found that steamy showers help.
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1524808_tn?1291437632
i truly hope you read this i am simular to you in some aspects. i am have eustachian tube blockage no infection either. no fluid. ent said i was crazy! my ears hurt so bad and burn all over my whole head has burning pain and i have numbness in face and neck and a tingling sensation in upper back and left arm. also my ear canals swell shut. have you found an answer to your situation yet? i am searching for anyone who can help me...the doctors are just baffled at my symptons and cant find whats causing them. any advice you can offer would be great. hope you feel better soon.
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Avatar_f_tn
cactis girl dont give up...i have most of the same symptoms as you..keep praying! i have suffered for over a month now with this and finally making some head way..going to get mri and ct with contrast there might be possiblity that is spinal cervical stenosis. i have much pain and tingling and numbness in arms face and neck gets better if standing walking or lying down. if i squeeze my neck pain subsides after alot of investigation found that cervical spinal stenosis and crane neck can affect eustachian tubes. chiro seems to think could me my prob. plus my switches from ear to ear within minutes. pressure affecting auditory nerve causing ear canal to swell shut.i have not lost my hearing with this just a blocked ear canal comes and goes. this probs with spine also causes dry mouth and throat. antibiotics never done me any good either. these probs also affect pressure in middle ear! keep searching you may find your answer. i will never give up with the help of God i will beat this! i will pray for you that god help you and lead you in the right direction for the answers. and that you find victory in your suffering! hopeyou feel better fast!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have every single solitary symptom that you all have mentioned. There is clearly a connection, although the top doctors, neurologists, and ENTs in my area cannot seem to find one. Good luck to you, and keep posting, it really is helpful to read.
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Avatar_m_tn
I found this thread and have the same symptoms as people are describing. I have been dealing with this since the end of August. Two doctors though I had a sinus infection but 3 rounds of antibiotics didn't help. One of the doctors thought my ear drums were retracted. Had an MRI (to rule out MS and tumors) and CT scan (to check for sinus infection), saw an ENT who felt I did not have a sinus infection or ear drum issues and he gave me a device called OtoVent for me to blow up with my nose to clear the Eustachian tubes (for 2 weeks) plus a steroid nasal spray. No luck in feeling any better. Had blood work to check for Lyme and a glucose test and both were fine. Saw a neurologist and had a cervical MRI. Am going to a different ENT in a week but just can't get past this. I start off the day feeling pretty well but as I am up for a couple of hours, the symptoms start all over again and worsen throughout the day. I have pain in the tubes running behind my ears, facial pain and numbness, jaw pain, arm weakness and am very fatigued. I cannot do anything by about midday except lay on the couch.I cannot help but feel I have some sort of infection but my bloodwork does not indicate it and no fever but having had multiple sinus infections over the years, I feel that this is somehow related to sinus or ear issues. Please let me know if you had any luck with doctors diagnosing you. Or anyone else reading this thread...let me know what direction you have gone to get over it! Thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have all of the symptoms on this page and I have been dealing with it Since March 2011. It is the worst I have ever felt in my life. I have had all the tests as well and nothing has been found except a clogged left sinus that is under developed. I am going to have surgery done next month to fix that and I hope to god this pain goes away.

Anyone else try this.....When i get the ear pain, If I hold my nose, and suck in creating a vacuum in my sinuses  then let go and snort, I ALWAYS get blood that I can feel coming down from my ETs. The doctor thinks Im crazy too....But I only get the blood when I feel the ear pain...something is not right.
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Avatar_m_tn
Have a look at C4 and C5 in this figure.
Through C4, I've read, amongst others the nerve to eustachian tube runs.
Through C5, the nerves to the arms run.

Me and my thoughs: More important, I think, is the nerves for the mucos production in the eustachian tube, because if thei're clogged, it may be because they are dry. Mine stopped opening when swallowing. I don't know if it's because of lack of mucos-production, but after flushing them with neti-pot (Don't do it with air-pressure - I've got ringing-tone in my head) they opened again, and now it sounds like they're struggelig to open because of lack of mucos. Sounds like they're wery "sticky" - that they don't produce the oiling mucos themself. Gives me swallowing pain, becaus air don't elevate to the ears while swallowing, but are being pressed down into my swallow and get stuck, because  the swallow misunderstand it for food. (Yes it's been terrible, before I managed to re-open my tubes).
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Avatar_f_tn
i doubt anyone checks this anymore its been so long but just incase did anyone actually find releaf from this i hate this feeling head neck arm all of it I've had all of these symptoms for at least a month now...it started with an ear infection i took amoxacilin and it went away then about a week later this arm feeling started and hasn't stopped i got a cold with bothered the ear again and now im on a zpack and some ear drops...please if anyone did find an escape from all of this post back i have a  one and a half year old and am scared there is something seriously wrong with me and i just wanna be able to play with him without all these worries.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had the same symptoms for about 3 weeks now as described in the comments above. I was told I have a clogged eustachian tube...Is anyone else getting severe vertigo at times almost til it makes you sick to your stomach??? Please let me know. Also experiencing jaw pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am experiencing many of the above symptoms including three bouts of severe vertigo over the last 5 years, lasting up to six weeks each time,. The last vertigo attack was August 2012. I had just recovered from the flu ( Type A) followed by a bad outbreak of cold sores inside my nose. The vertigo started soon after preceded by blurred vision, constant yawning and nausea. After the vertigo episodes abated I was left with badly blocked ears, foggy, tight head and a whooshing noise in my ears. I also have a numb/buzzy feeling in my left arm and hand, sometimes my legs as well. Like others have said it's worse from late afternoon. I now suffer from insomnia and am constantly tired. My doctor prescribed antibiotics, steroids, sudomyl and a steroidal nose spray to no affect.  I finally saw an ENT specialist hoping he would tell me my eustachian tubes were blocked. Instead he told me my ears were perfectly healthy! He suggested I suffered from Vestibular Neuritis caused by a virus damaging a nerve in my middle ear. I discovered through research that this condition has a strong link to the herpes virus. I have been taking a Lysine supplement daily along with Vitamin C, B, D. It seemed to be helping at first although the last couple of days have been pretty bad as far as my arm numbness and blocked ears go. I seem to have a good week followed by two or three bad weeks. I believe stress makes the symptoms worse which in my line of work is not easy to reduce. The winter probably doesn't help either. The more I learn the more I think many of my symptoms are due to anxiety brought on from the vertigo attacks and worrying that they will return.
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Avatar_m_tn
My problems started EXACTLY like cactus girls!! After 3 MRIs z packs prednisolone one ER trip and several to ent and  lots of anxiety and misery I FINALLY FOUND RELEIF!!! I went to a very good chiropractor specializing in the GADSTEIN METHOD.  HIS X-RAY FOUND 3 places in my back putting pressure on my spinal cord. Even i could see the bends! i had no idea since I never had back pain. It all started in my ear then down my arm and eventually my leg all on the right side with muscle spasms. After several months it moved into my rib cage and neck. Desperate for RELEIF and answers my boss talked me into going to his chiro. I started jan of this year and am still going. I'd say I'm 75 percent back to normal. It takes time but its better than an operation! I urge all of you dealing with this to find a good chiro and try it. I'm SOOOO thankful I did!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Please read my post and try a chiro! Stress made mine worse and once I discovered the cause of my symptoms the relief from the anxiety of not knowing what was wrong was a HUGE relief in itself. I feel so much better knowing I'm on my way to getting my life back! Good luck to you!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same problems. I also decided to treat myself. It has been 2 years for me and all they ever want to do is send me for hearing test. I  started taking prednisone which would clear up my ears but i could still feel it deep in my ear. And the pain in my head seemed worse along with facial numbness and left arm numbness. I think i have finally figured it out and hopefully i can convince my ENT. what i believe is that the back of my throat is blocked {nasal pharynx} . The first ENT i saw told me to run hydrogen peroxide through my ears and alternate it with vinegar. Deep in my ear itched horribly and i felt throbbing above the roof of my mouth, so i ran a few drops through my ear And as it traveled the facial pain and the pain in the middle of the back of my head got worse. I could feel where the peroxide stopped, and what i thought was still my ear was actually my throat. I was able to get some stuff out through my throat but it is still blocked. And the peroxide does relive that deep inner itch until it builds back up again.
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Avatar_m_tn
The thing you might ask about is called a cholesteatoma. Please remember that unless actively infected, cholesteatoma is usually missed on examining the ear, but the pressure alone can cause many of the symptoms you are describing. You can find a good overview here -- http://www.entassociates.com/cholesteatoma.htm  

Cholesteatoma is very difficult to diagnose in early stage, even for ENTs. General Practitioners probably won't be able to diagnose this condition. A diagnosis usually comes after many years when an ENT uses a special operating microscope and looking in the RIGHT place. Cholesteatoma cannot be diagnosed without seeing the whole of the eardrum in close-up detail. Most cholesteatomas start in the attic - the upper part of the eardrum. The problem is that this "attic" is not in view when the speculum is lined up in more commonly used ways, like say, to fit a grommet. The physician has to actually be looking for cholesteatoma and it's the rarity of it can lead to someone overlooking this examination unless an active infection is present to lead the doctor in that diagnostic direction. The reason for this is because the opening into the cholesteatoma sac is tiny - a millimetre wide. So, if a cholesteatoma is not actively infected, it will not be obvious. The only way to know for sure is if the surgeon makes a point of looking for it in the ear attic. Here's some information about different imaging for this evaluation -- not all MRIs are the same, so look this over if they are having you do an MRI. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/860080-workup

The condition can be found and treated in adults. Most times, as out-patients. The  proceedure is called microsuction. Microsuction  examines and in away treatments the ear using a high powered binocular operating microscope. The treatment would utilize a miniature vacuum cleaner. Microsuction on a schedule is a typical treatment alternative for people with the condition, as it clears out the debris that cause the pressure/symptoms with out invasive surgery.

However, if an active infection does occur, and the bone were to become infected, the condition becomes much more serious and removal as well as unrecoverable hearing loss or nerve damage could result. So, you see, you're really fortunate if you DON'T have the infection, however on the down side, the infection gets the diagnosis faster, and thus treatment. However, the infection causes the most damage, so you can see the benefits of having them check for this before that occurs.

I had the same symptoms, and they had the same concerns for MS. I had to pay for 2 very expensive MRIs. A lot of nerves run through by the ear/neck, and so sometimes it takes two or three GOOD doctors to get this kind of thing diagnosed. I started with a primary care doc, was referred to an eye doctor and an ENT. The eye doctor and ENT upon ROUTINE exams eye doctor could document weakness in eye muscles, but not explain it. ENT found no sigificant issues other that the mild hearing changes and eustacian tube malfunction. They said let's wait and see - six months later, problems were still existing and actually had become worse. So, upon second visit, ophalmologist referred me to an neuro-opthalmologist, (which took months to get into and after which I had more symptoms) so that doctor, (who also confirmed symptoms via test/exam) referred me to the Neurologist (check for MS they said). After which, I finally ended up back at A DIFFERENT ENT (the first guy was just a complete jerk. He wasn't incompetent, per se, but he was definitely a JERK -- he kept asking me if I was depressed or something. I know that sometimes people just enjoy the attention of a doctor, but I am not one of those people -- I actually hate going to a doctor. I do understand that by nature of their position in the profession, doctors see an inordinate number of people with what many refer to as hypochondria, but seriously, if I were depressed I'd go to counselor or a psychiatrist, not an ENT. I'm a professional, and I don't have the time to devote to medical appointments with a doctor who has an inadequate patient screening techniques and a meager bed-side manner. I also don't think it's justified for a medical professional to assume that I somehow "enjoy" paying the doctor my HARD EARNED MONEY just so that he can belittle me when I actually have a medical issue just because he can't FIGURE IT OUT). I told him that too. Right to his face. Best $260 bucks I ever wasted. (Sorry, I know sarcasm doesn't come over well in type.)

Basically, the reason I am even putting all this out there is so that you can understand, you really do have to find and vet your doctors well. When you make the appointment, take the time to ask some questions from the receptionist, ask them if they have nurses call people back, or what kind of follow up they offer. Hopefully, you will find answers faster than I did. For me, this took 5 years of appointments, many waiting room hours, lost time at work, two MRIs, and one CAT scan. That's a lot of money I could have used for a vacation or toward a new car.  

Perhaps you can benefit from what I have learned, and save some of these expenses. I suggest you refer your primary doctor to the following links on imaging for evaluation of this condition

http://bjr.birjournals.org/content/75/898/847.full
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/384879-overview

Best of luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
The thing you might ask about is called a cholesteatoma. Please remember that unless actively infected, cholesteatoma is usually missed on examining the ear, but the pressure alone can cause many of the symptoms you are describing. You can find a good overview here -- http://www.entassociates.com/cholesteatoma.htm  

Cholesteatoma is very difficult to diagnose in early stage, even for ENTs. General Practitioners probably won't be able to diagnose this condition. A diagnosis usually comes after many years when an ENT uses a special operating microscope and looking in the RIGHT place. Cholesteatoma cannot be diagnosed without seeing the whole of the eardrum in close-up detail. Most cholesteatomas start in the attic - the upper part of the eardrum. The problem is that this "attic" is not in view when the speculum is lined up in more commonly used ways, like say, to fit a grommet. The physician has to actually be looking for cholesteatoma and it's the rarity of it can lead to someone overlooking this examination unless an active infection is present to lead the doctor in that diagnostic direction. The reason for this is because the opening into the cholesteatoma sac is tiny - a millimetre wide. So, if a cholesteatoma is not actively infected, it will not be obvious. The only way to know for sure is if the surgeon makes a point of looking for it in the ear attic. Here's some information about different imaging for this evaluation -- not all MRIs are the same, so look this over if they are having you do an MRI. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/860080-workup

The condition can be found and treated in adults. Most times, as out-patients. The  proceedure is called microsuction. Microsuction  examines and in away treatments the ear using a high powered binocular operating microscope. The treatment would utilize a miniature vacuum cleaner. Microsuction on a schedule is a typical treatment alternative for people with the condition, as it clears out the debris that cause the pressure/symptoms with out invasive surgery.

However, if an active infection does occur, and the bone were to become infected, the condition becomes much more serious and removal as well as unrecoverable hearing loss or nerve damage could result. So, you see, you're really fortunate if you DON'T have the infection, however on the down side, the infection gets the diagnosis faster, and thus treatment. However, the infection causes the most damage, so you can see the benefits of having them check for this before that occurs.

I had the same symptoms, and they had the same concerns for MS. I had to pay for 2 very expensive MRIs. A lot of nerves run through by the ear/neck, and so sometimes it takes two or three GOOD doctors to get this kind of thing diagnosed. I started with a primary care doc, was referred to an eye doctor and an ENT. The eye doctor and ENT upon ROUTINE exams eye doctor could document weakness in eye muscles, but not explain it. ENT found no sigificant issues other that the mild hearing changes and eustacian tube malfunction. They said let's wait and see - six months later, problems were still existing and actually had become worse. So, upon second visit, ophalmologist referred me to an neuro-opthalmologist, (which took months to get into and after which I had more symptoms) so that doctor, (who also confirmed symptoms via test/exam) referred me to the Neurologist (check for MS they said). After which, I finally ended up back at A DIFFERENT ENT (the first guy was just a complete jerk. He wasn't incompetent, per se, but he was definitely a JERK -- he kept asking me if I was depressed or something. I know that sometimes people just enjoy the attention of a doctor, but I am not one of those people -- I actually hate going to a doctor. I do understand that by nature of their position in the profession, doctors see an inordinate number of people with what many refer to as hypochondria, but seriously, if I were depressed I'd go to counselor or a psychiatrist, not an ENT. I'm a professional, and I don't have the time to devote to medical appointments with a doctor who has an inadequate patient screening techniques and a meager bed-side manner. I also don't think it's justified for a medical professional to assume that I somehow "enjoy" paying the doctor my HARD EARNED MONEY just so that he can belittle me when I actually have a medical issue just because he can't FIGURE IT OUT). I told him that too. Right to his face. Best $260 bucks I ever wasted. (Sorry, I know sarcasm doesn't come over well in type.)

Basically, the reason I am even putting all this out there is so that you can understand, you really do have to find and vet your doctors well. When you make the appointment, take the time to ask some questions from the receptionist, ask them if they have nurses call people back, or what kind of follow up they offer. Hopefully, you will find answers faster than I did. For me, this took 5 years of appointments, many waiting room hours, lost time at work, two MRIs, and one CAT scan. That's a lot of money I could have used for a vacation or toward a new car.  

Perhaps you can benefit from what I have learned, and save some of these expenses. I suggest you refer your primary doctor to the following links on imaging for evaluation of this condition

http://bjr.birjournals.org/content/75/898/847.full
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/384879-overview

Best of luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry, one thing I forgot to mention -- the last ENT had additional training and was called an Otologist.
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Avatar_f_tn
You slept one day in a cold weather and your body couldn't take it. Now what you need to do is get a gel to warm your body and take it before sleeping for many days plus antibiotics and tell me what happens.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had and currently have the same symptoms.  My first pain is in my neck along side my throat.  It is very tender and gets worse as the day goes on.  The first time I had it, it radiated to my ear, but the main pain was in the neck.  I thought it was a sore throat yet it didn't hurt inside the throat but on the outside, where you would take your pulse.  I went to the doctor (about 2008) when the first event occurred and I was told the drain tube to my ear was inflamed and partially closed.  He prescribe OTC cold tablets with EXPECTORANT.  It has to have expectorant to open the tubes.  It took about 3 days to fully clear up taking the pills as prescribed on the box.  I have had it reoccur about 1/2 a dozen times since then and using the OTC cold tablets has always cleared it up, along with using swimmers drops in the ear to evaporate any water.  I usually get it from going to sleep with water in my ear (not knowing it).  So tonight I have it and I am at a fire station and cannot get pills until tomorrow so I went on the web to see if there were any other cures, and apparently there is not.  So I hope I help someone with the same problem.  And tomorrow off to a Rite Aid.
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I forgot to mention above, make sure it also has psuedoephedrine in the cold tablets, along with expectorant.
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Avatar_m_tn
Have you ever been checked for cholesteatoma? It's skin cells that have built up in the ear, that is skin growth that occurs in an abnormal location mostly in the middle ear, behind the eardrum, or in the mastoid process next to the temporal bone, where the nerve for the face runs.
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Avatar_m_tn
If you're having trouble with your eustachian tube, then you're at risk for developing a cholesteatoma. A cholesteatoma usually occurs because of messed up eustachian tubes that don't function as well as they should. This is because the tube serves to take air from the back of the nose in the middle ear and then equalize ear pressure; but when the tubes don't work exactly right, (either just diminished clearing or not at all), like, say, due to inflamation (inflammation) caused by an allergy, well at that point the air in the middle ear is absorbed, which it is not designed to do. This makes a partial vacuum in the ear that ***** and stretches the eardrum, and that makes something kinda like a sack-shape of tissue. This happens a lot when people have areas of their ear tissue weakened by previous infections. This sack is what can become a cholesteatoma. Like I said before, the cholesteatoma can affect the middle ear, behind it, or the mastoid process, which is on the temporal bone and near the nerves that affect your face. It can even cause issues in the neck region, rarely, such as in this picture http://otologytextbook.com/BEZOLD%20ABSCESS.JPG
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According to an article from the American Journal of Neuroradiology ...
"several studies, {have shown} middle ear cholesteatomas present with the following clinical signs:
*Chronic discharge of the ear is present in 33%–67%, and some form of hearing loss, in 60%–87% of patients. Most patients present with mixed hearing loss, less frequently with sensorineural hearing loss or with a dead ear.

*Facial nerve paralysis occurs rarely with middle ear cholesteatomas but can be present in 20%–64% of extensive cholesteatoma cases ....

*Vertigo affects 30%–60% of the patients, whereas tinnitus, otalgia, and headache are less common manifestations."
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i Have the same problems , my ears feel clogged and everytime i see the Dr they say that there is nothing wrong with my ears. my nose is also clogged. I had an MRI done and they see something small in my gland in my throat and now they said i have to do surgery to get the gland out  to see if it is cancerous or not
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i had alarge lump un the back of my right ear it painful to touch and its been there the last 3 days i noticed then i pushed the bottom of my ear down n pus came out and now its really swollen and still drainage ive also noticed i have a knot on my neck above my jaw close by the ear but not exactly n it painful to touch but not noticeable,,, wahts can this be? should i be concerned
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