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Eustachian tube dysfunction - what are the symptoms?

Is it dizziness? I usually almost always feel like i'm on a boat... it's not a dizziness, but rather balance type just like i'm on a boat... my head always feels like it is full type feels weird... ears plugged usually too... my head almost feels like it is full of mud or something not unable to concentrate or anything but just feels awkward...
Thank you. Best Regards, Megan.
132 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi,

Don't know if this will help, but my uncle has many of the same symptoms you've described and he was finally diagnosed with Meniere's Disease.  I found this description on the web:

M
Avatar universal
Hi,

I can relate to what your going through.  I have felt off balance and weird like for 5 weeks now.  My dr. checked my ears and they seem ok and has me taking decongestants.  It's driving me crazy and I suppose making me nervous that it might be something worse than ear problems.  It's hard because I don't want to drive or actually go anywhere in fear that I might faint one of these times.  My dr. told me to "hang in there" and tell myself that all is ok and that it will take it's course and I'll feel better soon.. UGGG!! when is soon.  I have taken Advil Cold and Sinus and that sometimes makes me feel a bit better for a while.  If you come up with any ideas on how to feel better, let me know. If there is anybody out there who has these same symptoms and has "lived" through it.. lol.  Tell me how long it took..YIKES!
Avatar universal
I seriously have been dizzy/off balance for nearly 3 years now!!!  I've had it!  I've seen my ENT six times and my family physician several times regarding this issue and I've also had several heart tests done.  AND I just had a miserable dizziness test done a couple of weeks ago.  All tests show normal.  Both doctors say it's "nothing" and I'm on Nasacort, which doesn't do a darn thing. What the hell is causing my dizziness???  If I had to guess, I believe it has something to do with my ears and eustation tube...my right ear is always feeling funny:  clogged, popping, pain, etc.  I have been living with dizziness/feelings of off balance for so long that it's eating away at me. I'll need to be put on some anxiety medication just because it's driving me insane.  I really hate that the doctors have seen me several times about this issue, they know how bad it's killing me, and yet they continue to act like no big deal and that there is nothing wrong with me.  WELL, It's NOT normal to feel off balance every other day!!!  Any suggestions or comments???
Avatar universal
I've been having the very same conditions , mine comes and goes ,and I have had some MAJOR dizzy spells (early on ) where I felt like I just got off a super fats merry go round(talk about panic attack !. I have had some good results from bouncing up and down on one of those big exersize balls . I also have been worried to death ,I have had this for over 4 months now ,,I wake up in a panic because my head feels like it plugged with cotton .and my right ear feels tons of pressure and some times pain. I tell myself something had to be badly wrong ,,but I think the worry is just causing me panic and that it's self it making me sick ! try that ball thing , when I bounce I can feel it pulling at my sinuses, and then later I can feel it drain down the back of my throat which means it on the move ! I have NOT taken any meds at all for this ,I'm just trying to get rid of it naturally. one good thing is ,,look at what most of the posted problems are about on here lately . sinus problems ear nose and throat. I think it's a time of the year thing too . Pam
Avatar universal
I have had clogged ears since I was 7. Been dizzy since 18 ( like walking on a trampoline)
  For the last 10 years ( I am now 43) I have had frequent ear aches and get very off balance and fall against the wall as I walk thru the house. I don't realize I am falling until I hit the wall.
  Could be MdDS which there is no known cure for. http://www.mdds.org.uk/
  My bp is good, as is my blood sugar and my ears are "perfect" according to all doctors I have been too.
I can't concentrate and am often tired.
Avatar universal
Manda:  I am coming up on 2 years with this.  I have had MRI, ENG, EEG and other tests.  Everything is normal but I went to a eye doctor to look at nerves in the eye.  He told me to take the sudafed that you get behind the counter because he also had the same feelings years ago and after going from doctor to doctor and then finally almost being thrown out I guess maybe he found that it was his sinus'.  I recently was sent to have allergy testing done.  I have severe allergies to dust mites and I am now getting allergy shots.  Also the doctor had a CT scan done which showed maybe chronic sinusitus.  I have started taking three-lac.  I have again started getting little balls out of my throat which have had happen for years but my ear doctor says is not normal.  I hope this is showing that whatever is bunched up in there is starting to come out.  I recently found another blog from the Jewish Medical ? that said sometimes swelling in the sinus' can put pressure on things and make you feel off balance.  A sinus rinse can be used with a steriod nose spray from your doctor to help get the swelling down once allergies are under control and all infection is down.  I am still waiting for that to happen but it has only been 3 months since I have started the allergy shots.  The web site also says that change in barametic pressure can affect it which I have noticed also.
I too have feelings of being off balance while walking (feelings of side to side or being pushed or pulled).  I never stumble and I can walk a straight line but my balance is not as good as it should be(I have also had to do physicall therapy so that is why I know that.)  Sometimes if my right ear is relaxed or, I am relaxed because I am not at work or somewhere in public where I may feel worse because yes, it very easy to panic and think am I going to pass out, my right ear may make a swish or crunch sound which the ent says sounds normal (I didn't have it for 34 years.  I don't think it is normal.  I also had a nurologist say yes the ears popping is normal because it is them opening up.  At that I felt like I am not a child I have also had my ears pop or equlize for 34 years and this is different.)  Anyway back to the subject.  Sinustius may not completly close off your head but the swelling and infection make it drain slow so I would imagine can make it back up.  I know God can take this from me at any time but I also He can give me the strenth to stand up with it.  I hope this is a little comfort to anyone who reads it even though I am not cured I do understand how everyone feels and that is worth a lot to know someone out there knows that.
Avatar universal
Megan:  I am coming up on 2 years with this.  I have had MRI, ENG, EEG and other tests.  Everything is normal but I went to a eye doctor to look at nerves in the eye.  He told me to take the sudafed that you get behind the counter because he also had the same feelings years ago and after going from doctor to doctor and then finally almost being thrown out I guess maybe he found that it was his sinus'.  I recently was sent to have allergy testing done.  I have severe allergies to dust mites and I am now getting allergy shots.  Also the doctor had a CT scan done which showed maybe chronic sinusitus.  I have started taking three-lac.  I have again started getting little balls out of my throat which have had happen for years but my ear doctor says is not normal.  I hope this is showing that whatever is bunched up in there is starting to come out.  I recently found another blog from the Jewish Medical ? that said sometimes swelling in the sinus' can put pressure on things and make you feel off balance.  A sinus rinse can be used with a steriod nose spray from your doctor to help get the swelling down once allergies are under control and all infection is down.  I am still waiting for that to happen but it has only been 3 months since I have started the allergy shots.  The web site also says that change in barametic pressure can affect it which I have noticed also.
I too have feelings of being off balance while walking (feelings of side to side or being pushed or pulled).  I never stumble and I can walk a straight line but my balance is not as good as it should be(I have also had to do physicall therapy so that is why I know that.)  Sometimes if my right ear is relaxed or, I am relaxed because I am not at work or somewhere in public where I may feel worse because yes, it very easy to panic and think am I going to pass out, my right ear may make a swish or crunch sound which the ent says sounds normal (I didn't have it for 34 years.  I don't think it is normal.  I also had a nurologist say yes the ears popping is normal because it is them opening up.  At that I felt like I am not a child I have also had my ears pop or equlize for 34 years and this is different.)  Anyway back to the subject.  Sinustius may not completly close off your head but the swelling and infection make it drain slow so I would imagine can make it back up.  I know God can take this from me at any time but I also He can give me the strenth to stand up with it.  I hope this is a little comfort to anyone who reads it even though I am not cured I do understand how everyone feels and that is worth a lot to know someone out there knows that.
Avatar universal
I'm a 54 year old female, never had any allergy problems or health issues.  In Feb this year I got a head cold.  It never subsided, just felt like my head was going to explode with pressure.  Drs acted like I was a hypo or something.  At this age they want to blame everything on Menopause.  Thought I was losing my hearing.  Ended up with a severe ear ache/infection.  Was on steroids, antibiotics, ear drops, & pain medicine.  Finally after 3 days I chucked all medicines, went to ENT who told me everything appeared to be fine, just bad ear infection.  Now 5 months later and my ears still pop and plug up.  In the evenings especially my ears/head feels like I'm going up in an airplane or over a mountain.  So weird, but I'm really healthy otherwise, so am just grateful to not have any worse symptoms.  If anyone ever figures out what causes this won't we all be grateful?  I have started going to a Chiropractor for neck and arm issues.  He thinks I may have gotten a ruptured ear drum, but still should have healed by now.
Avatar universal
I should also mention that I have never had any health problems, yes I get seasonal allergies, but they have been fine lately. My nose does not feel plugged at all.  This happened to me once before after flying, and ruined my vacation..it lasted for 3 weeks.  However, I can't figure out what would have brought this on.
Avatar universal
Hi There,
I  can totally relate.  I have felt like my ears are plugged and terrible unbalance for over 2 weeks.  It is extremely worrysome and makes me really sad.  My doctor says it is my sinuses, but taking sudafed just makes it worse, and adds dizziness to the equation.   There has got to be some answer out there, it is awful not knowing how much longer it will last.  I try my best to still go out and have fun, but I feel nauseous and sad all of the time due to feeling like I am walking on a trampoline.  I can't imagine living my life like this for any extended amount of time.  Every day I wake up exhausted dreading another day like this.  Please help!! I just want to feel normal again.
Avatar universal
I have had horrible 'echo's' when I talk, pressure, popping in both when I'm lying down, sometimes can't tolerate even speaking or loud noises, it makes you miserable, but just wanted to say, the more you focus on it the worse it gets. If all is structurally ok, then don't worry with medications, they do nothing. It helps to keep a log book of which days are worse than others, because I have a sneaky suspicion that some foods may not help with sinus (I think there's a link there) problems. Often there is a 'mild' infammation or whatever in the back of the sinus and throat etc. If somedays are good, then why do they go bad? who knows. I have just made the connection between red wine and my heart palpitations, another thing I've had to deal with. its the preservative sulphur dioxide or something, but only from keeping logs. I'm going to try this with my ears (keeping a food record) I found it helps just accepting and getting on with things, and just accepting the bad days. It is helpful to have a checkup to find out if you dont have bone/drum/nerve problems. My son has bad sinus infections, you  may need antibiotics, but when they are well, just saline spray keeps them that way.
Avatar universal
I'm a 22 year college student who, up until december 2006, worked out very hard.  I was in excellent shape and one day my heart flipped out at the gym.  Looking back i realized that i had been feeling weird for quite sometime before that; like extremely fatigued.  I had a host of tests done on my heart and all that jazz and everything comes back normal and they say it's just anxiety.  Well it's almost 8 months later and i'm always off balance, headaches, clogged ears, weird sensations in body, etc.. and they still cannot find anything wrong.  However, i have not been sent to an ENT and i think that this is something that should be done.  It is good to read that some of you are having the same sort of thing because at times i feel like i'm going crazy and nobody is listening.  Anyway, I hope everything gets better for everyone and any input would be much appreciated.  Thank you and God bless...
Avatar universal
Wow - I have had this on and off for the last 5 or 6 years.  I thought I was crazy too.  I get pretty bad allergies and for a while I never put the 2 together. I went through the whole testing procedures etc. and doing the drunk test.  My doctor then prescribed a decongestant and it seemed to clear it up. I actually woke up this morning with some dizziness after not having it for years - but I can feel my allergies have kicked in as well.  So now I have to take this decongestant again.  I also found (and maybe this is psychological or something) that working out (sitting down of course) seems to help as well.
Avatar universal
Hi there, just had to join this forum to tell you all what I have been through and what may .... be the cause of a lot of your problems.. Early this year i started getting this terrible feeling of pressure in my ears, sometimes upper chest, shocking headaches, general feeling of being unwell, upset stomach, tighgnes around the throat, sometimes a stabbing pain in my neck...no energy, just wanted to put my head down all the time. I have had all the blood tests done, a calotted (not sure how to spell) vein test etc etc. Been on antibiotics for sinus for nearly 9 weeks. I started to think about it again the other day was there anything that i had changed back when all this began and I came up with one product. A cheap cask wine. When i started to investgate i came up with an additive 220 Sulphur dioxide. Have a look at web page http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/index.htm#buttons and check out the list of things we should not put in our bodies. I am off to the super market to check that my old wine has a different one in it to confirm my suspisions. I havnt had a glass of wine for a few days now and i feel normal at the moment. It may not be this particular additive but it could be another one or several you are responding too. I really hope this may help some of you. Cheers from Australia
Avatar universal
I've had all the problems above and then found an awesome ENT doctor who actually listened and found that my eustation tubes were not functioning.  ENT doctor put in eustation tubes (like little kids often have) in my ears and have helped a lot.  

Good luck to all - I know this can make you mental after a while.
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
The first symptom I had was getting dizzy after getting off an elevator. This went on for weeks. Then I began experiencing ear fullness, occasional pain, and almost constant dizziness. About the same time I started experiencing anxiety attacks. I have been "disconnected" it seems...like I'm in a daze. I thought that maybe I was depressed, but know I'm starting to think all of these symptoms are related. I am just starting the nasal washes. Hope it helps. I would like to get my life back.
Avatar universal
I too am feeling fullness in the ear, pressure,  popping, I went to my doctor and he said it was etd I have been researching this on the net to figure out what everyone else is doing to heal this, it's making me anxious and I can't relax and sleeping very little 3 or 4 hours a day I'm taking a homeopathic decongestants, flonase, I'm going to check out the website the previous person said about food additives see what else I can eliminate from my diet.  
345124 tn?1234486878
i have the same symptoms. dizziness. riding a boat feeling, crackling ears, sinus pressure without pain, ear pressure and popping. sometimes it feels like the floor drops a little as im walking. its caused me nonstop anxiety for a little over a year now. i went to a doctor and got diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. i took meds until it was time for the pseudoephedrine. one pill and i had enough. it made me feel horrible and really nervous. im still dizzy  but i think the nasonex and clarinex were starting to help. no one seems to care about it because its not happening to them. im pretty sure it must be allergies but it feels so odd that i keep worrying im dying of something undiagnosed
427784 tn?1224973122
Vertigo and head pressure, odd feeling in chest, ache in neck
by twintwo, 5 minutes ago
Tags: feeling, pressure, head, throat, neck, thyroid, thryroid antibodies, thryoiditis, burning, estrodiol, hormones, lungs, ODD, meniere's, Heart
I have the similar symptoms, it's such an odd feeling, almost like having breathed in hot air or smoke. From middle of neck to sternum, mine has been going on for months.  I've had an EKG, heart stress test, 24 heart monitor and an echocardiogram.  All tests present themselves as normal.  I've had tinnitus in my left ear for three years and I've been having non-spinning vertigo since Sept 07, - my vertigo feels like I'm tilting / tipping, dipping / lifting and is constant and everyday - I do not have nausea, however, thank goodness!  I also have tremendous head pressure from the base of my skull, my ears feel full and there's pressure behind my eyes to the top of my head (not a headache).  I've been tested for Meniere's disease but hearing tests show I have no hearing loss.  I'm scheduled to have full vestibular tests done in April at University Med Cntr.  I recently had my thyroid levels tested, my TSH, T3 and T4 were low but within the normal range.  My thyroid antibodies were at 2332.0 - yes! - two thousand three hundred thirty two!  Thyroid antibodies should be between 0.0 - 35.0.  I've been on 5 mcg of Cytomil and 25 mcg of Synthroid for 1 week now.  TSH - 2.762, T4 - 1.28, T3 - 3.4.  I just feel awful - today the head pressure is very intense, my tilting /tipping vertigo is constant and the odd burning feeling in chest/throat has me very concerned.  More blood tests next week to see how thyroid hormones are, or are not, helping.  I just turned fifty and my estrodiol levels at 14 days in my cycle were 7.0 and my FSH Serum were 51.6.  My periods are irregular around 56 days between.  I'm also high risk for osteoporosis and 2 weeks ago was prescribed to take 50,000 IU of vitamin D, 1 pill every 3.5 days for two weeks and then 1 - 50 MU of Vit-D every 7 days.  I've been off work for 3 weeks now because I'm feeling so unstable and so frightened.  Mammogram was clear, cervical polyp removed 6 weeks ago, return to complete pap test in 3 days on 03/4/08, hopefully all will be okay.  Have not yet had a colonoscopy.  I've always been very healthy and I'm a very upbeat and positive person, until last Sept when I started to feel so poorly.  Could high Thyroid antibodies be causing all this?  I've never been on thyroid hormone before, but have had many large lumpy nodules on my thyroid for more than 10 years!  I just want to feel better so I can get back to work.
Avatar universal
Greetings,

I have had most of the symptoms you all have had. I went through all the testing, ENT, MRI, CAT-scan, blood-work, allergy testing, ENG. All the tests were negative and still I had the dizzy sensations, which led to a lot of anxiety. No doctors were able to help and I refused to go on a life of medications just to cover up the symptoms and not find the cause. After exhaustive searching I stumbled upon a doctor in Michigan that was having success treating people with my/our symptoms. There is a condition known as "vertical heterophoria syndrome" and if you type that into a google search, the first site from the vision specialists of Birmingham were the ones who helped me. Check out the symptoms and the testimonials and see if that describes you. It is worthy of note, that there are only three specialists in North America who can diagnose and treat this condition. Good Luck and prompt me, if you would like more information on my experience.

lognum
Avatar universal
I to had alot of your symtoms and i had ct scan they found pineal cyst. but they insisted this was not the cause they did a follow up mri 1 year later to show it wasnt growing in size. i still get dizzy from time to time mainly when i look down of from left to right. i do get prob's at night more so and they suspected minears , i was treated with no affect. i do belive stress is a facter the more your mind wonders the more you worrie which can also make you dizzy lack of sleep ect. All i can surggest is start with life style changes ie i lost wieght from 22 stone to 16 1/2 stone i work less hours, eat better foods and try a relaxing hobbie, you never know it might work and if you still get problems atleast you can go to your doctor and say i have made positive improvments to my life and i still dont feel well. good luck  
Avatar universal
my symptoms are not being able to pop my ear for long periods of time, and when I am able to I can feel it closing right back up again, dissiness (which is the worst part) and pressure of the ear. I am going ion tomorrow to have my tonsils and adenoids removed in hopes it will help my ear problem. I am still debating weither to get ear tubes put in or not. There are not too many cases of adults getting them usually only kids. I have only found 3 or  4 cases on the internet  of adults having success with ear tubes and a whole bunch of other people who had problems with them. So I was hoping you all could get back to me on weither you have had your tonsils/adenoids removed? I really think this might be the cause Of my problems cause there so large and get infections a lot, I think maybe all that bacteria is getting in my eustachian tube and causeing problems beauce I have never had ear problems in my life till this whole last year and  I am 23 years old. I don't understand why it takes so long to get an answer about ears it has taking me 1 year and countless doctors I am convinced none of them care or know much about what they are talking about.  My curent ENT thinks I have the early stages of Meniere's Disease but I completely disagree I do not have vertigo I have dissiness there is a big difference. I also Don't have roaring noise's or other load sounds.  All my symptoms match up To my eustachain tube not working properly. Hope some one responds to me about tonsils and adenoids. I'll post if this works for me or not!-katie
Avatar universal
I am a 37 year old female and I read twintwo's comment and I have had every symptom she has described and then some.  Mine started 3 years ago and I just "lived" with it (dizzy, feeling of leaning to one side, preasure behind eyes and top of head, chest burning and tightness, difficulty swallowing, the feeling that my arms and legs are not really attached even though I can see them, panic attacks, ears blocked all the time)  I never had sinus problems in my life and one day I was just standing against a wall minding my own business and all of a sudden I felt like I was on free fall at six flags but I was standing completely still.  I had some preasure around my eyes and bridge of my nose  and was feeling off balance so went to my gp, she put me on levequin and all was well in about a week.  This was August of 05.  In September of 05 I had to have a full hysterectomy because of a 10cm cyst and loads of endometrosis.  Recovered from that in about 6-8 weeks and the off balance started again.  I thought sinus infection so went to gp again, more meds, in fact about 4 rounds of meds which did nothing.  She prescribed meclezine for dizziness which did nothing.  So over the course of the next  year I just decided to live with it.  I had been to an ENT who treated me like I was an idiot and thats when I just gave up on it.  The symptoms progressively got worse, ears, off balance, preasure in my head and chest.  I literaly thought I was dying.  I had my first panic attack on August 13, 2006 while I was driving to the childrens hospital where my niece was who had luekemia.  I will never forget it.  After that I thought I have to do something or I'm going to die.  So went back to my gp with 2 page I had written of every symptom I had whether it was related to each other or not.  She believes its all down to stress because of my niece, my husband who also had luekemia (we lost my niece) and then the physical stress of my hysterectomy.  I was even scaring my husband because I never stress to that extreme.  I told my gp whatever you think just please do something.  She put me on Klonopin (generic chlonozepam) 1 mg at bedtime.  I took it that night and I couldn't believe the difference.  All my symptoms were gone.  That has been nearly a year now and I recently had to up the dose a little because I was getting symptomatic again.  All I knew is I didn't want another panic attack.  I think I may had grown a little resistance to it and thats why we had to up the dose.  I am much better now.  Still pop my ears all the time.  Nearly every time I swallow they pop and riding in the car is like pop fest!  Now my gp says stress but I have been reading about menieres disease and that sure sounds like what I have.  And coincidently, the drug I'm on is one of the drugs they use to treat the symptoms.  My grandmother was on what she called her "dizzy pills" for years and my Dad has boughts with this from time to time and had it real bad for about a year in his 30's.  Now I see a little connection there.  And I hear my daughter complain about being dizzy from time to time but she's 13 and her thoughts are more on boys.  I just wanted to put my story out there to let you know that there is some hope and even though you feel like your going to die, your not.  Though there were times I had wished I would die so I didn't have to deal with it anymore.  But good luck to everyone with this and don't let it get you down, there is hope.
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