Ear Popping and Dizziness
by Pa1965, Aug 07, 2008
After flying at the tail end of a cold last February, I have had popping in my left ear.  I usually wake up with my left ear feeling a bit plugged, also.  This flight caused both ears a lot of pain at the time since I was unable to equalize them (which I've always had a problem doing even when not sick), but the pain was more so in the left ear.  I had to fly back home again with this ear pain the following day which I'm sure wasn't helpful.  

In May, I woke up with extreme vertigo.  These were cut and dry spells where I felt well in between.  I had no hearing loss or ringing of the ears.  They were worse in the morning and became less frequent as the day went on.  The ER doctor assumed it may be due to an inner ear infection since I had a bout of bronchitis not long before.  

The vertigo lasted just over 2 weeks and I was fine for a month.  Now, it has come back again, starting as vertigo for the first few days, going to a more generalized dizziness.  It's now been four weeks of constant dizziness that is worsened by going in the car (even though I look far into the horizon) and also worsened by watching motion on TV or reading online.  Instead of spinning sensations now, it's more of an oscillating type dizziness with a weird sensation in my head.  Still, my hearing is fine and no ringing in ears, and no nausea.

Two weeks ago, I developed fleeting ear pains in the ear that has been popping.  Doctors are unable to find fluid in my ear except for one who said my left ear drum looked cloudy.  The ENT that I visited said that the pain was due to my ear not equalizing properly, but did not investigate as to why the ET is not functioning properly or if it was even related to the dizziness.

Would you have any idea what this sounds like to you?  Is it possible that I have ETD from that flight, and if so, can ETD cause chronic dizziness like this?  I've tried Flonase and saline rinses, but the dizziness remains.  

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

by Vivek V Gurudutt, MDBlank, Aug 12, 2008
Eustacian tube dysfunction can have a mild dizziness component; however, there could be other causes to your dizziness that may need to be worked up.  Your ent can help start the evaluation for some of those causes.  An evaluation of the back of your nose (nasopharynx) should also be done to make sure no other anatomical obstructions exist to block the function of the eustacian tube.  
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by Pa1965, Aug 12, 2008
Thanks very much for your reply.  I will ask my ENT for a workup including an evaluation of the back of my nose.  The last time I saw him, all he did was look inside my ears and do a hearing test, then telling me to take Gravol to settle the inner ear.  Well, it would be nice to know first why this is happening.  I am trying to find another ENT or Neurotologist that will give me all the tests.  Thanks again for your assistance.