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Update for the last year: ear clicking, left ear pain - can't nail down reasons


the flowchart says eustachian tube dysfunction.


I know but the ETD tests are normal… ive been to 3 audiologists and they say although the pressure is not the best it’s still within normal limits and the same in each ear. But I can feel the post nasal drip and even clicking/popping in my nose.


I had that and reduced it by eliminating dairy. Have you been allergy tested?


No I haven;t wondering if I should… and it makes complete sense it’s middle ear because when it rains or the weather changes I feel it more. They say the middle ear pressure is the same as the environment and the ET helps equalize… I also get a left ear “pop” if I drop my head to the floor while sitting like when tieing shoes or picking up something off the floor. … BUT it’s also my neck…

I’ll give you an example. I woke up today OK but had a long day at the computer and tonight I feel I have that postural instability and neck tension. like I am not completely balanced…


The clicking could very well be the ear drum too close to the stapes


“Eargraines” you described me to a tee!!!
Jo xx


Where is this diagram from? It implies that “Inner Ear Hydrops” only results in low frequency hearing loss. That’s not correct. Secondary Hydrops (and you might well argue this is such a possibilty) does not result in significant hearing loss.

Also, this paper that Sarah pointed us to suggests an issue in the middle ear can cause you problems with inner ear pressure:

"It is very likely that dysfunction of the Eustachian tube disturbs the air pressure in the middle ear cavity and stimulates the perilymph, which interferes with balance, which is normally maintained by the labyrinthine mechanism [2]. "

“stimulates the perilymph”, an inner ear fluid. Now I’d like to understand exactly what that means, but if that means ‘creates more’ or ‘puts the perilymph under pressure’ that suggests a hydrops situation of over pressure - that’s what ‘hydrops’ means (see Hain).

Specifically about the retraction of the drum:

"Specifically, negative pressure in the middle ear can cause the tympanic membrane to retract, which in-turn causes the stapes to push against the oval window [7]. It is very likely that dysfunction of the Eustachian tube disturbs the air pressure in the middle ear cavity and stimulates the perilymph, which interferes with balance, which is normally maintained by the labyrinthine mechanism [2]."

The syndrome is likely caused by (1) asymmetry pressure in the inner ear in conjunction with a change in middle ear pressure or (2) displacement of otolithic membranes and the ossicular chain in conjunction with an imbalance in pressure between the middle and external ear."

By 'hydrops" I was directly referring to “pressure in the inner ear” to which this study refers.

We know ‘Menieres’ is not the only flavour of inner ear ‘hydrops’. This could be another.

In my case given my injury must have involved a ‘thump’ on the ear drum, it is possible it injured something along the otic bones and interface with the oval window, but it’s odd it took 6 months to turn into full blown ‘MAV’-alike.

It’s remarkable how many of Sarah symptoms I also suffer myself. Aside from the retracted ear-drum it’s almost exactly the same experience wrt to the tinnitus, the ‘rice krispies’ & sound distortion by the way she describes it.

This paper also shows just how connected and inter-reliant everything is about hearing and balance. You injure or disturb one part and it has a knock on effect to the next part (no doubt including your brain, just look at Hain’s PLF protocol for guidance!)


It would make sense that the ear clicks because of the retracted ear drum. If it’s too close to the stapes I can see how one would hear this noise.

“1. The eardrum vibrates from the incoming sound waves and sends these vibrations to three tiny bones in the middle ear. These bones are called the malleus, incus, and stapes.”

So if the ear drum is retracted, it would make sense once hears a type of rumbling, clicking or broken speaker sound. It’s too close to the inner ear bones. This would also explain why there is no hearing loss, since the middle ear bones are still doing their job.

So, why is the ear drum retracted with no sign of middle ear problem?

Could tight neck muscles cause this? Could stress cause a retraction? Is it possible the ear drum doesn’t bounce back to normal position right away?


I believe there is something going on with my tubes. But maybe it’s more of an allergy?


That’s your million dollar question.

But like I suggested before, give it a couple of years and monitor over that time if it improves during that time (whilst maintaining medical supervision) Perhaps the ear drum will slowly revert to its normal location if it’s down to something very subtle they can’t see on your scans?

If there is nothing urgently medically wrong with you it might be worth waiting and see if all the symptoms subside over time?

You could also consider a couple more opinions.


The most frustrating part of all of this… is everything looks and tests normal! They can’t treat what they don’t know. Now I read that migraines can cause mystery ear pain and a lot of doctors have had success treating ear pain with migraine meds, BUT I really don’t think migraines can cause a retracted ear drum.

This seems like a mechanical problem… like I mentioned before, I had a very bad cold and perhaps it’s taken a while for the ear drum to go back to normal. And perhaps, it;s the ear drum causing the pressure to be off in the middle ear and not the other way around?


‘migraines’ cause everything including the stock market crashes, didn’t you know?

I think you are right … but the solution may well just to be patient and see if things improve? What you almost certainly don’t want to do is lots of invasive intervention that might worsen your problems that might peter out spontaneously.

I was faced with that dilemna when my doctor told me I probably had caused a PLF and subsequently this had given me secondary hydrops. One possible course of action in my case is to have the windows patched in case the PLF was still ‘active’.

I declined the surgery and my dizziness & imbalance and migraines have gone - i’m just left with hearing distortions like yours.

On ‘balance’ (forgive me) it was the right choice clearly!


lol. yes I know. I went to the walk-in doctor and he said ear drum is not retracted. Next day went to an audiologist and she says its retracted… she said allergies can cause this.

It depends where you go really. I remember 6 months ago, I was told I had an infection in both ears. Went to a doctor the next day and told there was no sign of infection LOL. This system is laughable. Or just full of really overfunded doctors.


They are very expensive to see privately for sure.

I think the problem is the state of the science and the tools they have. They don’t even often agree with eachother.

I was told by two doctors I had ‘migraine’ or ‘something central’ … another hedged his bets and said ‘it’s migraine or hydrops’ and a fourth (current doctor) recognised the trauma I had had and decided it was secondary hydrops … I believe he is closest.

My symptoms all fit ‘MAV’ though and there is no category for ‘MAV plus fluid dripping in mornings’.

There are bound to be huge increases in understanding over the next few decades. The current state of affairs is less than desirable, for sure.


The problem is it’s only perception. How do we know migraine meds are not a placebo?


I’m pretty sure the migraine meds help the neurological symptoms … they were definitely helpful for me as I had some really crazy symptoms at one point and many were alleviated in some way (including dizziness, visual hallucinations and migraine attacks)

But they did nothing for the hearing or physical symptoms. And in fact nothing for ‘imbalance’.


I agree they can’t solve all problems but in the absence of anything abnormal showing up on testing, perhaps it’s somatic?


Whilst these conditions can seem to “drive you mad”, you definitely aren’t.

However they can make you anxious and have a tendency to worry about the symptoms more as they are so ‘annoying’ & tend to disturb you and interrupt your thoughts sometimes.

You need to find as many sources of healthy distraction as possible to help you with the mental side of it.


Another link for you.

Not suggesting for a moment you have a ‘PLF’, but this illustrates how things can settle down over the longer term having started out very crazy indeed: