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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Pressure/pain in ears and headaches

12/06/2000

Question:

I woke up with a headache in May that would not go away, as still hasn`t. I was headache free prior. I went to a neurologist, had a cat scan, MRI and blood tests with normal results. I have tried several medications for the headaches with no luck. A month or so later, my ears started ringing really loud with pain. The pressure in my ears is constant, while the pain may switch from one side to another. The inner part of my throat tickles sometimes, but I do not have symptions associated to a stuffy nose or sore throat. I went to a ENT specialist and had a sinus cat scan that also came back normal. The ENT said I had rhinitis. He gave me flonaise, which has not given me any relief. I now have a constant headache, with pressure over the bridge of my nose, and pressure in my ears and ringing. The pressure in my ears really hurts. The ENT said there is nothing to relieve the pressure and he doesn`t know how to relate the headaches. I am in constant pain. Have you heard of this before. I really need help, it is hard to get through the day..The neurologist and ENT specialist have no new information or remedies. What might be causing these combined symptoms and what would you suggest next?

Answer:

Ear pain and pressure can result from many different things. One of these is an inner ear syndrome related to a buildup of fluid pressure within the inner ear. Often this is associated with a roaring sound in the ear, fluctuating hearing loss, and dizziness that comes and goes. A hearing test can be helpful in making the diagnosis. Treatment is a low salt diet ( less than 2000 mg / day) and sometimes a diuretic. I suggest you seek out an ear specialist to evaluate this possibility. I hope this is helpful and good luck.

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Response by:

David  L Steward, MD David L Steward, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati