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Sudden Plugged Right Ear
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Sudden Plugged Right Ear

About 2 months ago my right ear plugged up. It felt like it needed to pop and so I held my nose and blew back. I can hear a popping noise in both ears but the right ear does not clear up. I have a slight ringing and I feel pressure more in the right ear than the left. I have slight dizziness, no headache or pain. I am sensistive to high pitch sounds.I also feel a little cloudy most of the time.
My regular doctor had me take antiboitics, nasel spray and decongestants. None of these helped at all. I was then referred to an Audiologist and ENT. I am being told that my ears are clear, no fluid, eardrums are fine. I was told that there is no pressure even though thats what I feel all the time. My left ear passed the audio test while my right ear mildly failed in low frequencies.  The visit diagnoses from the ENT was "Hearing Loss Sensory" Unilateral Dizziness". Suggested that I get an MRI which I will be scheduling soon. Does all this seem right? Maybe I am in denial and hope that my ear will pop and hearing will be back. Thank You
Tags: sudden, "sudden, plugged, pressure, Right ear
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9 Comments Post a Comment
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152264_tn?1280358257
If you have sensorineural hearing loss, as the ENT diagnosed, it is not a case of your ear needing to "pop" even though it feels like it should (I am still waiting for that "pop" after my left ear suddenly "plugged" exactly 12 years ago, July 2, 1999 :).

Yes, the MRI is correct, just make sure they do it WITH CONTRAST, as that is necessary to rule out an acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the inner ear. It is highly unlikely that you have one, especially if your hearing loss is low-frequency instead of high-frequency (only a very small percentage of cases of unilateral hearing loss have an acoustic neuroma), but they have to rule it out anyway. So don't worry.

Don't hold your nose and blow, at least not hard!

Your regular doctor's interventions were useless; you should have been referred to an audiologist immediately. But most regular doctors don't know that a possible sudden sensorineural hearing loss needs to be investigated immediately.

If you have only a mild loss in low frequencies, hopefully you will not be too much affected. Good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
Mild hearing loss is one thing, but I struggle with the side effects. The discomfort that I have not learned to live with yet are: right ear feeling pressure and plugged up all the time. (ENT says its not pressue) ringing in right ear and slight dizziness. Its hard to determine where sound is coming from. Voices become muffled when talking to more than one person in a room. Also feel spaced out alot of the time. Is there anything that can help in any of these areas?
Thank you for your comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same symptoms as you.  My family doctor put me on decongestants, antihistamines, and a double dosage of nasal spray, but my right ear is still plugged.  My appointment with the ENT/audiologist is on Friday.  Like you, I am struggling with the side effects of whatever is causing this.  I have a slight ringing in my right ear, when there's more than one sound going on around me, I can't tell what sound is what.  I feel very uncomfortable when I have to talk, as I can hear my own voice in my head.  I hope both of us figure out what is causing this and that there is a cure.
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Avatar_m_tn
Our symptoms are very much alike. I will be having an MRI tomorrow to rule out any other bigger issues. Please report back the results of your visit with ENT/audiologist. Thanks
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152264_tn?1280358257
Hi Surfmerc. A sensation of pressure (even if the eardrums are normal), ringing, dizziness, and hearing loss could all be symptoms of Meniere's disease or endolymphatic hydrops. Did your ENT mention that possibility? I presume you'll get to talk to him/her again after your MRI.

Meniere's (which may have some relation to migraine or allergies, too) is usually treated with diuretics and a low-salt diet, to try to stabilize the fluid balance in the inner ear.

http://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/disorders/menieres/menieres.html

Good luck to you, and to Kellysmum as well!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, I had hoped to get a MRI yesterday but there was an insurance issue that is delaying the MRI. The ENT had ordered two MRI's -  MRI brain and MRI internal auditory canal both with no contrast. The cost for (2) MRI exceeds my budget and I am going to only do one at this time. I am thinking the auditory canal would be best. What do you think?
The ENT has told me that I have no fluid, so would this change your suggestion of the possibility of having Meniere's or endolymphatic?

Thank you for getting back!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, I had hoped to get a MRI yesterday but there was an insurance issue that is delaying the MRI. The ENT had ordered two MRI's -  MRI brain and MRI internal auditory canal both with no contrast. The cost for (2) MRI exceeds my budget and I am going to only do one at this time. I am thinking the auditory canal would be best. What do you think?
The ENT has told me that I have no fluid, so would this change your suggestion of the possibility of having Meniere's or endolymphatic?

Thank you for getting back!
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152264_tn?1280358257
Yes, auditory canal, I would think. I don't know why they are considered separate MRIs. But then I don't really know anything about MRIs... except that yours WILL need to be done WITH contrast.

Wait--your ENT ordered the MRI without contrast?? Before going to the MRI facility, call your ENT and ask if that is correct. If the ENT says yes, CALL THE MRI FACILITY and ask them whether this is really supposed to be done without contrast, and tell them you've had a unilateral hearing loss.

Unless the technology or something has changed in recent years, the STANDARD when doing an MRI in case of unilateral hearing loss, when they are looking for an acoustic neuroma (which I presume is the reason you're having the MRI), is to do it with contrast, because otherwise they could miss a small acoustic neuroma. No point in having the MRI unless it's done with contrast, AFAIK.

If your ENT meant there is no fluid visible when he looks in your ear, that doesn't mean you couldn't have Meniere's. When they look into your ear canal, they can only see what's going on in the middle ear. Meniere's is a disease of the INNER ear, which they cannot see. So, no, lack of visible fluid would NOT at all rule out the possibility of Meniere's or EH.

If you cannot have an MRI, sometimes they do an ABR test (auditory brainstem response), which consists of getting electrodes stuck on your head and listening to a long series of clicks through headphones. This test measures the integrity of the hearing pathway from the inner ear up through the hearing nerve and into the brainstem. If this is abnormal, they would definitely want to do an MRI. But MRI is the best thing to do right off the bat, if you can.

Good luck and DO question the ENT and, if necessary, the MRI facility about getting the MRI done WITH contrast.

It sounds like your ENT is not really on top of things. Please find a NEURO-OTOLOGIST, which is an ENT with extra training in the inner ear and its connections to the brain. These are the best specialists for hearing loss and dizziness and the other symptoms you mentioned. Find lists at the Web sites of the American Neurotology Society and the Vestibular Disorders Association.
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152264_tn?1280358257
The House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles is very famous and it looks like you are nearby. They should be able to diagnose and treat you correctly.
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