For the past week, I have not been able to 'pop' my right ear. I feel like there's some air stuck in there, and I cannot "blow my ear up". When I talk, I feel that I can hear myself slightly worse in the right ear than in the left, but sound from outside sources sound the same in both. I am probably being a little paranoid about this but I would like to know as to what the cause could be. I hope you can shed some light on this.
Put simply, you most likely have some fluid in the inner ear. This fluid is putting pressure on the eardrum and is making you feel the need to try to "pop" the ear.
In medical terms this is called "otitis media with effusion"
This refers to a condition where fluid collects in the middle ear, possibly containing bacteria. Normally fluid does not collect in the middle ear as the middle ear is "ventilated" several times when you swallow (through the
eustachian tube which opens up into the back of the throat). If the fluid in the middle ear does not drain into the back of the throat, usually due to either infection, or an increased amount of fluid, the fluid may cause a change in the ability to hear properly, dizzyness, pain or a sense of "fullness" in the ear. Typically this will resolve through the use of antihistamines and/or decongestants. When patients come to my office with this complaint, I will commonly see fluid behind the eardrum. My treatment is to give an antihistamine such as Claritin or Zyrtec for 14 days.
I hope this is helpful to you!
Dean M. Tomasello, M.D.
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