5 Years of Chronic Right Ear Crackling

Discussion in 'Support' started by Christof, Sep 14, 2019.

    1. Christof

      Christof Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ETD
      I have had a maddening problem with a clogged and crackling right ear for 5 years. Seen 4 ENTs, paid thousands to try and get it figured out, and so far NOTHING.

      My crackling is triggered by sounds just like you guys: Clanging plates, plastic rustling,
      banging silverware, ice cubes hitting the ice cube tray, loud laughing and yelling and screaming — basically, any loud, sharp, bursting sound. Drives me nuts.

      Valsalva maneuver temporarily clears this response, but only for 2 minutes or so :-(

      I got tonsilitis in May 2019, and this was FIRST thing that cleared up my crackling and stuffiness in 5 years! Was wonderful! Wish I could have tonsilitis all of the time!

      My right tonsil sags down, and is collapsed and looks fundamentally different than my left tonsil. I have NEVER had ear crackling in left ear. I believe having my right tonsil swell up massively during my bought with tonsilitis changed the architecture on my right side ear/ET. Either it somehow helped drain it, the swollen tonsil helped close a partially open ET (one of 4 ENTs said I ‘might have’ PETD), or the swollen tonsil blocked flow of stomach acid coming up from my stomach. The latest ENT I saw speculated that silent acid reflux could be cause of my chronic ear crackling. He said I have physical signs of acid reflux in my throat.

      I have spent last month working the acid reflux angle — tilted my bed up on blocks, no late meals, try to sleep only on left side, etc. Seems plausible that stomach acid could be cause of my 5 years of right ear crackling. But, so far, after a month, no substantial improvement. Sigh...

      I had briefly been taking H2 blocker for stomach acid. BUT a GI doc I saw 10 days ago said stop taking it — until you get an endoscopy. Couldn’t schedule that until Nov. 2019. So, more waiting — what’s a 2 months after 5 years of waiting, ;-)

      One other thing: The right ear crackling and stuffiness started exactly at the time when I started taking anti depressants in March 2014. Some people say antidepressants can affect the esophageal closing, and trigger acid reflux. I also lost 35 pounds in 4 months due to my stress and depression. I know there is speculation that PETD is caused by sudden weight loss. Unfortunately, gaining weight back did NOT help the problem. And only one of 4 ENTs. I have seem thinks it MIGHT be PETD. Also, I went to two, TMJ specialists and they said I do NOT have TMJ. Also, the TMJ theory makes NO sense in my case: Crackling is triggered by sounds that happen when I am NOT moving my jaw or mouth or head.

      We shall see. Good to see that others have the SAME crackling ear response to the same sounds — another sure thing that triggers my crackling = clanging keys. I can trigger the response every single time by holding a bunch of keys up near my year and baking then so that they hit each other.

      Finally, here is a link to a YouTube video I posted 2 years ago in which I complain about my crackling ear. It’s pushing 19,000 views now — there are lots of people out there with a similar problem clearly.

      ENT doctors useless for chronic clogged and...
       
    2. tterb1978

      tterb1978 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      don't know
      Have you had and tinnitus or noise in your ear/s with the crackling?
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Christof

      Christof Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ETD
      Luckily I have not had any ringing, etc. I posted to this forum because it is my understanding that tinnitus is broad, varied, and not necessarily reducible to ringing in the ears -- and because I saw some other posts on this site where people had exactly the same symptoms as I do.
       
    4. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      When I was in the University of Michigan tinnitus trial, someone I got to know in Ann Arbor told me that he didn't have tinnitus, but that his right ear "crackled, like a distorted speaker" in response to certain sounds, especially higher volumes or frequencies.

      I thought about this a good deal, and did find some other people with similar stories. A couple thoughts:

      * "crackling" is an overloaded term. My ears "crackle" when I swallow, probably because of junk in my e-tubes, and have for 15-20 years. As far as I can tell this is "normal" for lots of people; reddit etc are full of people (usually without tinnitus or other hearing issues) asking about it, followed by lots of replies, some of which are "wait, my ears crackle whenever I swallow, that's not normal?"

      * what you are describing sounds like some non-tinnitus forum of neurological damage to the hearing apparatus. The ability of the ear to fully conduct noises to the brain and have the brain correctly understand them, has been compromised at some point in the chain. Because the valsalva maneuver has some impact, this might imply something inner ear related.

      I think the bottom line is that what you are experiencing is a form of hearing damage that is even more poorly understood than "usual" hearing damage and tinnitus.

      Have you already come across and read this thread? https://www.chat-hyperacusis.net/post/fihd-broken-speaker-sound-in-ear-megathread-9511904
       
      • Genius Genius x 1
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Christof

      Christof Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ETD
      Thank you for your reply -- and advice.

      The link is very interesting, as is the term FIHD, Frequency Induced Hearing Distortion. I had never heard of that term, and I will spend some time searching it/researching it online.

      The author of the thread that the link you include goes to does write about what I have been working on: Trying to ignore the problem, because it seems that there is no solution to my problem. That, of course, can be very difficult. My problem is intermittent and inconsistent. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it is very pronounced and maddening. So, I can't count on consistency to be something I can "use" to help ignore it. Nonetheless, I have realized that ignoring it is my only "good" option -- and sometimes that does work.

      The fact that my right ear fullness and crackling -- which is triggered by outside bursting type sounds AND sometimes by my own talking, but NOT by swallowing or by me moving my jaw -- does vary quite a bit, to me, lends more credence to the latest theory by one ENT I saw that my problem may be caused by silent acid reflux. It would be VERY interesting to see how the ebbs and flows of my right ear fullness and crackling responses to bursting sounds correlates to acid flow up from my stomach via an Ambulatory pH monitoring using a 24-hour transnasal double-probe.

      I am scheduled for an endoscopy for Nov. 11, 2019, and that should reveal more about the acid reflux signs that my ENT says he sees in my throat. But the 24 probe measuring acid flow up into my throat and toward/into my right ET could reveal potentially a lot more than a general endoscopy.

      As I noted in my original post, it seems to me to make sense that silent acid reflux/LPR could have all sorts of repercussions on the ET.

      Here are a couple of readings that address this the possible ties between silent acid reflux (LPR) and ETD and/or tinnitis:

      https://medcraveonline.com/JOENTR/JOENTR-02-00046.pdf
      https://fortworthent.net/ear-nose-throat/laryngopharyngeal-reflux-disease-lpr/
      https://advancedotology.org/sayilar/84/buyuk/6-Role.pdf

      ==> "The presence of LPR in patients with ETD was significantly higher than in healthy patients, with four times more likely of suffering ETD associated to LPR."
      https://www.medigraphic.com/cgi-bin/new/resumenI.cgi?IDARTICULO=84843
       

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