Hi everyone, I expect this will end up longer than I expect, so I apologize in advance. I've been experiencing slight gradual hearing loss over the past several years, often accompanied with a feeling of fullness in my ears, and a slight period humming in my right ear. I chalked it up to aging and didn't worry about it. I also have chronic allergies and take flonase and advair to help. About 4 weeks ago I came down with some sort of infection, which was limited only to my throat and chest. No nasal congestion, which is strange for me. The infection ran its course, but I was left with a lingering cough (productive), and increased fullness in my ears. Last week I took a flight for vacation. On the way out, I had a lot of trouble getting my ears to pop, but it wasn't extremely uncomfortable. The days following that flight, my ears got significantly worse, and I was not able to clear them. I also lost most sense of smell and taste. I saw a doctor who basically said I had to wait it out, and prescribed me an antibiotic. Flying back from vacation, the flight was *extremely* uncomfortable. I was forced to do the valsava maneuver every couple minutes during ascent and descent. I've never done this before in my life, so it was a little freaky for me. Sometimes it helped, other times it made things much worse and a couple times I felt dizzy. I was not comfortable doing it at all, but I didn't have a choice, the pressure was too much otherwise. Also worth mentioning, I took Afrin prior to the flight, which didn't seem to help. I'm now on day 7 of the antibiotic, and while the cough is much better, my ears are not. When I wake up in the morning my ears feel ok, but the quickly become full. Gradually throughout the day they feel better, and by the time I go to bed I'm convinced I'm getting better. Then next morning, the process starts again. I called the doctor again, and was told I just had to wait it out, and if it wasn't cleared by the end of the antibiotic we could consider an ENT. I have to fly again next week for work, which I'm extremely anxious about. When I asked the doctor they just told me to take Afrin and chew gum. I know neither of these are going to help. Throughout my life I've always had crackling when I swallow, or when I move my jaw as to attempt to pop my ears. I've always thought this was normal, but now I'm wondering if I've always had some eustachian tube issues, and it's now just coming to a head. I'm just looking for opinions from those that have gone through this. I don't believe my doctor is giving me bad info, but at the same time I don't know what to do about flying. At this point I'm considering driving 14 hours rather than taking a 1.5 hour flight. I'm 95% sure what I have is some sort of eustachian tube disfunction, but the doctor has not used that terminology. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.