Physical Rehabilitation Medicine/what is wrong with me


QUESTION: Looking for help and reassurance here, I have been having balance problems for some time, It starts with a strange feeling in the side of the jaw like my ear has lost equilibrium and then I walk like I am going to fall .I feel this quick fall to the side sensation and I jerk myself back, other times I sit on the floor real quick until the feeling goes away, The last 10 days I have been having these feelings everyday all day. I went to three Doctors in 2 days I was petrified, One Doctor said I had a ruptured ear drum on one side and fluid on the other ear, the other Doctor said I had no fluid in one ear and a slight swelling in the other. The third Doctor said my ears were clear. aand that I was suffering a flare up of PTSD and Panic that I have suffered from since I was 21 I am now 60 .Now today I feel like I may have an abscess in the jaw or Eustachian tubes as it is stinging slightly under the ear. I am so scared My tonsil does feel sore(right one) and I do get tonsils stones
Even sitting here I get a rocking off balance sensation .What could this be
Anyone else experience this
I did have a strange thing happen the night before I went to the second Doctor, I was panicking and pacing lifted my head up and this strange bitter taste came flowing from the back of my nose into my throat and for a little while my balance improved. Could the fluid in my ear have drained out the back of my nose, That would explain why the second Doctor did not see fluid in the ear canal. I am deaf or frequency deafness although I have not been tested in years >the Doctor has made me an appointment to have a hearing test, I did have a throat virus that took my voice away about 5 weeks ago could this be related, my jaw is hurting and I am scared. I HAVE DONE ALL THE NEUROLOGICAL TESTS INCLUDING THE BABINKSI REFLEX test and can stand on my tippy toes and walk up and downstairs holding on each step for 10 seconds  
Regards Helen"

ANSWER: Hi, Helen,
My sense is you have a bacterial middle ear infection as a secondary infection from the throat virus you had. That would explain several things:
1. Balance problems due to pressure on the inner ear from the fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear space.
2. I agree the fluid you tasted was drainage through the eustachian tube into your throat from the middle ear.(the purpose of the eustachian tube is to drain the middle ear into the throat)
3. It is very likely you do have an abscess.
4. The panic isn't from the infection; it's not knowing what's wrong that's causing the panic, not the other way around.

You didn't say the order in which you saw the doctors, but it is entirely possible they did see different things depending on the hourly changes your ear experienced.

I strongly suggest you see an ear, nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist, AKA an ENT) ASAP. This is getting worse and needs treatment TODAY.

Best wishes,


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

QUESTION: Dear Nancy
Thank you so much for your reply Ear infection is a better diagnosis then the other things I have been fearing, smiling timidly, I have been on Amoxil antibiotics but still this feeling persists. Now I have finished the coarse and I have noticed sometimes I Get Light green congestion coming from the back of my nose into my throat only if I sniff back, so some virus is still present? I have nasal polyps could this press on the Eustachian tubes? What tests would they do to pick up the middle or inner ear. The strangest thing is I can do balance tests and pass but when I walk especially turn I get this balance problem
You could never know  how much you eased my mind and now I feel more game to tackle the problem, you see I suffer from agoraphobia. Could I have laryngitis?
Regards Helen

My guess is the green secretions you have are from your sinuses draining. Nasal polyps can obstruct sinuses, making it difficult for them to drain and creating a low-grade infection. Anatomically, polyps have no bearing on your Eustachian tubes.
When you see the hearing specialist (audiologist) he or she will probably do a test in which they assess the movement of the eardrum relative to the pressure in the middle ear. Audiologists are experts in balance problems due to inner and middle ear pathology. He/she may refer you for deeper testing in a vestibular laboratory.
"Laryngitis" is a wastebasket which simply means "inflammation of the larynx". It can be viral, bacterial, or functional (as in voice abuse.)
You may want to talk to an ENT about a course of a different antibiotic, or an extended course of the amoxicillin you've been taking. Sometimes a single course doesn't adequately alleviate the problem.
I'm so sorry to hear about the agoraphobia; it can be so debilitating. Do you have an anti-anxiety medication you can use before you go out?
Best regards,

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Nancy Brough, MA, former speech pathologist


I can answer any question about swallowing disorders and acquired and/or developmental communication disorders. Examples are aphasia, brain injury (traumatic or from strokes), and degenerative neurologic diseases. I also have specialized knowledge in craniofacial disorders (i.e., cleft palate.)


Experience in the area: I practiced as a speech pathologist for 20 years.

BA/MA Communicative Disorders, CSUN 1981/1986 Clinical training at UCLA and West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center.

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