Q. What would you advise for clogging of ears and tinnitus after a flu?

Answered by
Dr. Subhadeep Karanjai
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 10, 2018 and last reviewed on: May 29, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am a 44 year old female, mother of 2, 165 cm tall and 75 kg weight. Two months ago, I fell ill with a bad flu (may have been also an acute viral infection) with high temp (39 degrees), probable inflammation in the sinuses, nose, and throat and sinuses pain. The first antibiotic (Klacid) did not help much and low temp of 37.3 to 37.5 persisted for weeks. Then a throat swab analysis showed the presence of streptococcal pneumonia. However, X-rays of sinuses and lungs did not show any problems.

In the meantime, a month ago, the nose cleared, and the pain in sinuses subsided. However, the right ear got clogged for a week, and as it unclogged, the left one got clogged. In the meantime, local doctors gave the diagnosis of post-viral infection-caused inflammation of the eustachian tubes. A second antibiotic was prescribed and taken two weeks ago - Augmentin. After the second antibiotic, temperature normalized. However, the left ear clogging persisted.

Additionally, three weeks ago, shortly after the clogging of the left ear, a high-pitched noise in the left ear appeared (tinnitus ?), which is particularly audible at night and has caused me sleeplessness, stress, and depression. Audio tests performed by local doctors have proved that the hearing and hearing nerves are intact for both ears.

I have taken for two weeks now Flixonase spray (corticosteroid like Nasonex), spraying once per nostril every morning. However, as a result, I developed an extreme dryness in my mouth and throat, and after three days, I stopped that. Now, my left ear feels better but is still clogged and ringing. What would you advise us to do?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

The clogging of ears and ringing sensation (tinnitus) are probably due to accumulation of fluid in your middle ear post eustachian tube blockage, as a result of the upper respiratory tract infection you had had previously, a condition known as serous otitis media. I suggest doing tympanometry (if not already done) to confirm the diagnosis.

If tympanometry confirms the diagnosis, then I suggest:

  1. Xylometazoline nasal drops, two drops in each nostril thrice a day for a week.
  2. Antihistaminic tablets (like Cetirizine 10 mg one tablet daily at bedtime).
  3. Dryness of mouth and throat are common side effects of a corticosteroid nasal spray. If you can tolerate that, it is better to continue with that.

Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and start taking the medicines with their consent.

  • Try chewing chewing-gum. It will help in opening the blocked eustachian tubes.
  • Try the Valsalva maneuver. It is like blowing out forcefully with your nose and mouth closed, as if you are trying to force air into your ear. You may hear a popping sound if you do it correctly. Do not blow for more than five seconds.
  • Avoid cold exposure.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist

Thank you doctor,

I had tympanometry tests and they clearly showed lack of otitis media. Furthermore, audio tests showed that my hearing is alright, and doctors inferred that no hearing nerves have been affected. Nevertheless, I was still told that I have a residual, lingering inflammation of the eustachian tubes, which causes the clogging in my left ear, and which most probably causes the ringing tinnitus/in the same left ear. The doctors opined that after the left ear gets unclogged, the noise/tinnitus should also go away. What do you think of this prognosis?

Also, I have been told that to help/alleviate the tinnitus, I should also take drugs, increasing the blood circulation/vasodilating, specifically betaserc (increases blood supply to the head and middle ear). To summarise, what would be the most efficient way to unclog my left ear, and to eliminate any residual possible clogging or inflammation of the eustachian tubes, and thus to eliminate the tinnitus which currently bothers me the most?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

If the tympanometry does not indicate otitis media in spite of the symptoms you are having, then it is most probably an uncomplicated eustachian tube blockage (not severe enough to cause fluid accumulation). In that case, it has an excellent prognosis. You can expect to be completely relieved of your symptoms in a few days.

Meanwhile, you may continue with the treatment plan that has already been discussed with you. Tinnitus is not unusual in cases of eustachian tube blockage/serous otitis media, and it goes away once the underlying disorder is corrected.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist

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