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Ear, Nose & Throat Message Board

Ear, Nose & Throat Board Index

I am a 30 year old female in good health, but I've been battling with a 2-year issue of popping and crackling in my right ear. It was subtle at first, and then within a month or two it became quite prominent, with the symptoms increasing to periodic minor pain, but intense pressure that is now a 24/7 issue. I've been to two different specialists, with the 2nd one scheduling me for a CT scan, with contrast, to focus on the jaw and ear area. Both specialists believe it has to be TMJ, though i have NO pain or swelling in or around my jaw.

Has anyone encountered the majority, or all, of the following symptoms in one ear:

-Periodic, but daily, popping
-Periodic, but daily, crackling
-Extreme, intense fluctuation of pressure in ear (sometimes can make it feel like it is the entire head)
-Pressure is only relieved by blowing with nose pinched
-Relieving pressure in ear causes a momentary but intense sharp pain
-Relieving the pressure only works for a few minutes before the pressure and fullness returns
-Pressure, and fullness in ear remains constant 24/7
-Periodic dizziness

All of the symptoms above initially led doctors and specialists to believe that I had ETD. However, my hearing is normal, Eustachian tube is functioning normally, and pressure in the impacted ear is only slightly off (not enough to justify what my symptoms are as a whole) -- which resulted in all believing it was TMJ.

I've never heard of TMJ causing this sort of a problem to such an extreme. Nor, am I convinced in the slightest that I actually have TMJ. I am no doctor, BUT, I know my body and I know how I feel; and it just doesn't add up to what I keep researching on TMJ. I do not grind my teeth, and besides the stress from the aggravation of the ear situation, I haven't been under any, I have no pain in my jaw, and according to the specialists, my jaw even looks to be perfectly aligned, and the dentists didn't believe I had TMJ, only the ENTs are insisting that I do.

For the last few years I have done the following as instructed:

-Visit a dentist to have my jaw alignment checked
-Take ibuprofen daily
-Eat soft foods
-Use a mouth guard nightly

Not ONE of these things resolved the issue. It has never even "settled down" in its intensity. I feel like they are at a loss, and at this point, just grasping at straws to give a diagnosis. It was only after I insisted that they needed to be able to show me that TMJ is truly causing this issue (and if so, do something else about it besides ibuprofen and soft foods), that a CT scan was ordered. I'll have my CT scan at the end of the week.

I should also mention that a MRI was done about a year ago, and was perfectly clear, as well.

2 years of hearing cracking and popping in my head, and feeling constant fluctuating pressure in my ear and head is quite enough.

Has anyone experienced this issue? Has anyone been diagnosed with TMJ with similar symptoms above? And if so, how did you have it treated?

Thanks for the responses!

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