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Inner Ear Disorders Message Board

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It all started about 2-3 months ago when I caught the flu. I had an abnormal amount of congestion and mucous drainage as well as a harsh pain in my eye socket whenever my eye made contact with dry air. One night I yawned and I felt a sharp pain in my right ear. It hurt so bad that i had to yawn again and I held it in!

Starting about the next afternoon, I got a clogged or full feeling in my LEFT ear accompanied by some occasional clicking noises. Now it seems that my ear is not as clogged as it was before but I am hearing little clicking noises and a small popping feeling in both ears whenever I breathe! Both when I inhale and exhale. I am going to the ENT ASAP, but does anyone know what can be the cause of this?
Yes, and don't panic, the clicking is not serious just irritating and distressing. It's called palatomyoclonus. (I have posted a description of this at the bottom of this page.) It's caused by muscular spasm in your eustachian tubes, sounds like the popping could be a similiar thing. These type of ear problems can often be caused by tempero mandibular joint disorder. (Full ears is another biggie) If you get an ear infection, that can clear up but might spark up any underlying tempero mandibular joint condition - a problem with either the jaw joint, or the muscles around the joint which often intially presents as ear problems. The jaw and ear are very close together. The fact that you yawned, which obviously involves your jaw and felt ear pain (another big tmjd symptom) is a big indicator. Do you clench or grind your teeth? This is a big cause of tmjd although there are other causes. Ever had tension headaches? Get a sore, stiff neck? Do you have an over bite or crossbite? TMJD is treated with a splint to prevent clenching or grinding and often muscle relaxants. I have tmjd and experienced something similiar to this, a low dose of valium occasionally (2mg) and splint therapy have all but eliminated it. Sometimes tmjd can resolve by itself after a trigger has made it flair up, but it's always worth getting it checked out. Your ENT should know about the connection btwn the jaw and the ears, but unfortunately they don't always. It's the terrain of dentists who have chosed to specialise in tmjd, or alternatively dental hospitals are a good place to go for a diagnosis. Obviously get checked out by your ENT first - it may be you have eustachian tube problems without an accompanying tmj disorder. Whatever, it definitely sounds like your eustachian tubes. Anyway, below is an article I've found about palatalmyoclonus. Have a read.

Current Evaluation and Management
Written By

D. Scott Fortune MD
David S. Haynes MD
Jay W. Hall III PhD

Neurologic Disorders
Neurologic disorders that cause objective tinnitus include palatomyoclonus and idiopathic stapedial muscle spasm. Palatomyoclonus is characterized by an irregular clicking sound within the ear. The myoclonus is rapid with a rate between 40 and 200 beats/min and occurs intermittently. The sound is generated by the mucous membranes of the eustachian tube snapping together as the palatal musculature undergoes myoclonic contractions. Patients may also complain of aural fullness, hearing loss, or sound distortion. Symptoms are worsened by stress. Frequently a history of muscle spasm with occipital headaches or temporomandibular joint pain can be obtained. The diagnosis can be made on physical examination by listening for the noise with a Toynbee tube or viewing myoclonic jerks in the palate. Tympanometry can occasionally record movement synchronous with the palatal contractions. Rarely, electromyography of the palate is indicated to confirm the clinical diagnosis. Treatment of palatomyoclonus is medical. Antispasmodic agents and muscle relaxants, such as clonazepam or diazepam, are the mainstay of treatment. Neurologic consultation is useful for long-term management of these patients.

Idiopathic stapedial muscle spasm creates a rough, crackling, rumbling noise in the ear. External sounds, such as music tones, water faucets, and voices, are known to accentuate the spasms. Physical examination reveals a normal tympanic membrane with rhythmic contractions synchronous with the noise. History and physical examination are sufficient for diagnosis. The disease is usually self-limited and remits with time; reassurance is often sufficient. Recalcitrant cases may be treated by middle ear exploration with division of the stapedius and tensor tympani muscles. Although the operation abolishes the symptoms, it is rarely necessary. [15]

[This message has been edited by hbep (edited 08-05-2003).]

[This message has been edited by hbep (edited 08-05-2003).]
one of my daughter has been suffering with this for nearly 3 years, she is at her wits end and is very distressed from this, does anyone know a sure cure for this eustation tube dyssfunction? please help...
Clicking in the ear can also be a symptom of tinnitus. I've heard it called "crickets" and the sound is similar. I get it now and then in addition to the steady tone I always hear, and it certainly is a nuisance.

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