I am a 28-year-old pilot having left ear pressure with no pain and hearing issues. Can this be a TMJ issue?

Q. What causes ear pressure and no pain in a 28-year-old?

Answered by
Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 25, 2023

Hello doctor,

I am a 28-year-old male suffering from weird left ear pressure for six months, I am a healthy airline pilot. My symptoms are mild ear pressure only in the left ear. No pain and hearing are fine. Sometimes I feel discomfort (not pain) in my left side neck and left throat as well. I went to the ENT who checked my ears and said it is normal and asked me to do a pressure test (because I am a pilot) which came normal. The neck ultrasound is normal. He ruled out any ear infection and said it might be TMJ. I looked out TMJ symptoms on the internet and found it is not applicable to me because in TMJ issues pain will be present (especially when closing or opening the jaw). Honestly, I do not feel any pain around my jaw. I do feel a cracking sound in the left jaw (yes around my left ear) while opening and closing, but no pain. The pressure I feel comes very quickly either when I rest the back of my head, on the chair, or when I lying back of my head on the bed. Also, this discomfort is very noticeable when I close my eyes. Sometimes the valsava maneuver makes me feel better for a few seconds. I was diagnosed with viral thyroiditis last year and it became normal (without taking any medication) a few months ago (follow-up tests reports were within normal ranges). I was diagnosed with GERD as well. What could be causing the problem in the ears? Please help.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

It looks like a eustachian tube dysfunction. It is a benign condition and if you are not troubled too much by it, you can safely ignore it. Good hydration can be effective and may be supplemented by nasal saline drops as needed. The drops should come in contact with the tubal orifice, raise your nose straight up, place the drops, then tilt the head to the diseased side. Saline irrigations can be tried when drops are not sufficiently effective. Sound from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) can be heard normally called crepitus, no need of treatment for that. I hope I have cleared all your doubts.

Thank you.

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