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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Stopped up left ear

06/01/2006

Question:

my left ear has been stopped up for over 2 months-i`ve had antibiotics,steroids,nose sprays,a tube inserted-but it`s still stopped up&i can`t hear with it!what is the solution, or my next step?

Answer:

From the brief history that you've provided, it would be difficult to make specific recommendations. The laundry list of things that can cause an ear to feel "stopped up" could fill several pages. Often the managing physician will need to work through possible problems and eliminate them one at a time. Its important to follow through on all treatments and tests in order to make sure that serious conditions are not missed.

For example, tumors of the nasopharynx can cause ear symptoms by blocking the eustachian tube (a tube that connects the middle ear to the back of your nose and throat). At the other extreme, allergies can similarly congest your eustachian tube and produce ear symptoms of fullness, hearing loss, etc.

The specific "next steps" in your workup or treatment could go in several different directions based upon your history and your physical exam. Which one(s) make the most sense need to be discussed with your physician. Some of the considerations are allergy testing, imaging studies (CT or MRI scans), further audiologic testing, etc.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati