For the past year I have had ear problems. First I had an ear infection in my left ear, then labyrinthitis, then an infection in the right ear. I spent 5 months this last summer with vertigo too. Then in November I went deaf! Well not deaf deaf but both my ears felt blocked. I thought it was wax but after trying ear wax drops etc it hadn’t cleared.

My GP thinks I have conductive deafness caused by blockage in my sinuses. My right side has cleared but the left is still blocked after 2 and a half months.
I have an ENT appointment on Saturday.
Has anyone else had anything like this?

Dee, T1 23 years, pump & CGMS

Following an ear infection, I suffered a total loss of hearing in my left side. My ear had filled with gunk and although antibiotics freed my from infection, the remaining gunk essentially “gummed up the works.” This was not some little slight loss of hearing, but what would be termed “profound” deafness. It was not some earwax and it was not helped by heating pads, drops or other things.

But I do have some good news for you. At least in my case after 5 months, my ear started to clear and within days, I was experiencing basically a full return to my normal levels of hearing. My doctor had basically told me that the gunk had frozen the inner moving parts of my ears, but the normal self cleaning would eventually clear it out. He was right.

It does sound like you are not experiencing the profound loss I did, but you may well still have seriously congested ears with fluid and gunk in them. If your Eustacian tubes are not opening properly and allowing your ears to drain, there may be something an ENT can do. There are steroid treatments that help reduce inflammation and open your tubes and in extreme cases, a doctor can insert a small tube to force open your esutacian tubes (they will do that for kids with frequent ear infections). I do hope your condition comes through just like mine.

Hi Dee

I suffer from infected sinuses at times and this can cause havoc on my hearing. When I notice when I start blowing blood over an extended period of time from my nose I start to get concerned. The last time I had to take one of the bigger guns anti botics to get rid of the stubborn stuff. Now that I have my sugars in better control I have noticed that it is better.

If you havent been tested as to what you are allergic to you might want that test done to. It at least gives you a general idea of what you need to stay away from. For me its leaves and mowing the lawn and some foods. I agree with BSC to have an ENT check it, but you might want to kick the tires with and allergy test too.

It could be many things of course but I used to get “swimmers ear” whenever I went swimming and then years later when I’d wash my hair. Simply from getting water in my ears. I couldn’t hear very good.

My GP referred me to a ENT Specialist and dxd. me. He also used a small hose that he puts in the ear to remove the water, etc. All clear! My present GP has a Nurse that does it also. Using earplugs while in the shower or swimming is suggested.

He does suggest using a couple drops of mineral oil in each ear also to soften any hardened earwax. Seeing an ENT Specialist is recommended first for any unknown, continuing problem.

Hi bsc
Yes this sounds like exactly what I have. I have tried a steroid spray and it didn’t work. My GP said that it is the Eustachian tubes that are probably blocked so the “gunk” isn’t draining.
I’m so glad to hear yours cleared, that gives me hope but I’m thinking it may be the “tube up the nose” option for me on Saturday!! Yuck.

I’m not sure if this is linked or not but I am also getting numbness in the side of my face on this same side. I spoke to my dentist about it this morning because I thought it may be something to do with a wisdom tooth interfering with a nerve but he thinks it might be a swollen jaw joint, and may be a possible connection with the ear problem. Ah well, all will be revealed on Saturday.

I am a bit of a worrier and started to imagine all kinds like a brain tumour etc but my GP said that is very unlikely.

Thanks for your help (and hope!)

You know another thing I’d like to suggest is the use of a Neti Pot to help relieve your sinuses. You might not think it will help, but you might be surprised. Your sinus passages are all interconnected, and by using the pot for nasal irrigation with a soothing saline solution you can reduce inflammation, clear away some of the gunk and help the process along. Besides I think it is just cool to pour stuff in one hole in your body and watch it come out another hole.

I just went to the doctor yesterday because I’ve been having vertigo for the past few months.

I’ve always had “issues” with my ears. Chronic ear infections as a kid never really went away as an adult. Sometimes, I can actually feel fluid moving around way deep in my left ear (very annoying). I’ve been to the ENT, who basically told me that I had outer ear infections (i.e., swimmer’s ear), not inner ear because my hearing wasn’t affected. When I explained about the fluid I feel moving around, she didn’t believe me. I didn’t like her from the moment we met .

Anyway, yesterday, my doctor prescribed a nasal steroid spray and told me to take Claritin every day to get rid of the vertigo. I really hope it works because this dizziness is killing me.

Good luck at your appointment! Please let us know what you learn.

If you feel fluid moving around, it is probably just that, fluid moving around. If you suffer from sinus problems, this can be a common occurrence. I mentioned above the Eustacian tube, it is important that it open on occaison to enable your ear to drain. It is normal for mucus like fluids to drain from your ear keeping it clean and healthy. If your tubes don’t open, become inflammed you get stopped up. You can build up fluid and even worse pressure. Since the fluid and pressures in your inner ear are what provide you with balance you can experience vertigo, feel unsteady, woozy or even just lose your balance and fall over. You also might find the neti pot thing helpful. Some people find that nasal decongestants work, but you have to be cautious. Overuse can leave you in a state where you become dependent on them. Swallowing, yawning, chewing gum and blowing your nose will normally open you tubes. One technique that may also work is to pinch your nose, close your mouth and swallow creating a transient vaccuum in your mouth drawing open your tubes.

Thanks for the advice. I’ve tried most everything you wrote (except for the neti pot thing, although I find it fascinating). I was just very disappointed when the ENT dismissed my problem as “outer ear” only, despite continually telling her about the fluid I felt.

As a child, I had to have Tympanostomy tubes inserted to help alleviate constant ear infections.

I dislike nasal decongestants very much because I loathe the “dried out” feeling they leave me with. The only nasal spray I’m willing to use is the steroid because it doesn’t seem to dry me out.

I totally concur with using the Neti pot. It is a warm saline nasal rinse.

I started getting sinus infections and ear infections after about the age of 30. No infections before age 21. Now when I start to get stuffy, I use the netti pot. It sometimes will take a week or two to see marked improvement, so be patient. Some people use it in the sink. I use it in the shower. That way the water is already warm and you can experiment how to get it in one hole and out the other without making a mess. I am a klutz. It is only like $10, I think, at walgreens or rite aid. Definitely worth trying.

Neti pots are great! Even if you don’t have sinus problems, it’s soothing & feels great.