Audiology/Otolaryngology/Rumbling In Ear

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QUESTION: I had a virus of some kind, my ear specialist did not know which one exactly as he said it was only mild and could be one of many.
He basically said in time it would go away on its own.
I had an off balance feeling every now and again starting in April 2012, which intensified and by July 2012 it was constant.
It has only recently almost stopped. (End of october)
It felt like there was rocking inside my head.
Early September I had distorted hearing for one week where deep sounds echoed in my head.
A feeling of blocked ear started then also and comes and goes quite regularly without any connected dizziness or hearing loss.
Now I am left with a constant rumbling in my ear which is a sound almost like when you yawn and you hear it inside your head.
It has been doing it for around a month or two now and I am wondering if this is just a left over part of the virus that I had. ??
If I suction my finger out of my ear the rumbling temporarily stops but then resumes within seconds...

ANSWER: Hello Jasmine,

I am sorry you have not been feeling well.  The dizziness and tinnitus (internal noises) may or may not be connected.  The temporary relief following your finger "suction" makes me wonder if it might be middle ear related (ear drum, middle ear space, eustachian tube function).  If you take a deep breath, plug your noise and close your mouth, and swallow very hard, does it help?  you might hear your ear "pop" or "crackle" while doing this.  I would recommend you consult with your ear specialist about the more recent changes since I would not consider these symptoms to be part of the normal recovery process.

I wish you well.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thankyou for your reply.
The finger suction relief I get doesn't really seem to remove the rumbling alltogether, only makes it less louder.
If I take a deep breath and plug my nose and mouth and swallow it doesnt help.
The feelings of my ear being  blocked comes and goes.
The off balance feeling is still with me but only so very slightly.
I wonder if it is just the leftover symptoms of a persisting virus such as labyrinthitis or similar.
Before my virus I did not have any tinnitus in my right ear.
Or any feelings of blockages.
Thankyou for your help.
Please advise any further opinions as they would be much appreciated.

Answer
Jasmine,

I am assuming that you had audiometric testing performed as part of your work up initially--have you had it repeated since?  If not, you should consider having your physician order another audiogram since this would provide useful information as to the current status of your ear.  Again, this may or may not be related to your initial problems, but even if they are it is not part of the "normal" recover and warrants additional investigation by your doctors.

A mild labyrinthitis definitely could give you the dizziness, hearing change, and tinnitus.  Often, a hearing change will be perceived by your brain to be a "blockage" in the ear.  It is also possible that the "suction" move from your finger causes a temporary suppression of the tinnitus briefly, much like masking noises can do for some individuals.  I am glad the dizziness has improved, but the hearing and tinnitus changes are a concern you should bring to your physician.

Good luck.

Clint

Audiology/Otolaryngology

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Dr. Clint D. Keifer, Audiologist

Expertise

I am qualified to answer all questions related to the diagnosis and rehabilitative treatment of hearing and balance disorders. This includes evaluation of hearing and balance, counseling, amplification (hearing aids and assistive devices), tinnitus (noises in head) evaluation and management, cochlear implants, and audiology in general.

Experience

I started my career as a hearing instrument specialist (on a trainee license) in 1998. After almost 2 years, I decided that I needed to pursue higher education if I was to provide the best care to hearing impaired patients that I could. In 2007, I completed my Doctor of Audiology and have been providing audiological care for almost 5 years. I have vestibular, cochlear implant, and pediatric experience along with prescribing, fitting, and verification of hearing aid amplification as part of comprehensive hearing loss rehabilitation.

Organizations
Audiology doctor and owner at Great Lakes Audiology in Toledo, OH. phone: 419 327-2273 website: www.GLAudiology.com American Academy of Audiology American Speech-Language Hearing Association Ohio Academy of Audiology

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Western Michigan University, Speech Pathology and Audiology Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Ohio State University Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A)

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