I have had ringing in my right ear for about 2 weeks. My ear feels plugged up with partial hearing and no pain. What should I do?

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Abram Bailey, AuD - Doctor of Audiology, Hearing Tracker Founder
19 July 2016 - 25469 Views

I don't typically answer these questions, but my personal opinion is to seek medical attention immediately. Your symptoms may be caused by something as simple as an earwax blockage, which can be easily remedied by your local doctor. However, the worst case scenario is that you're suffering from a case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, which is typically treated as close to onset as possible (to increase the likelihood of resolution) with corticosteroids. 

"The most common treatment for sudden deafness, especially in cases where the cause is unknown, is corticosteroids. Steroids are used to treat many different disorders and usually work by reducing inflammation, decreasing swelling, and helping the body fight illness. Steroids are usually prescribed in pill form. In recent years, direct injection of steroids behind the eardrum into the middle ear (from here the steroids travel into the inner ear), called intratympanic corticosteroid therapy, has grown in popularity. In 2011, a clinical trial supported by the NIDCD showed that intratympanic steroids were no less effective than oral steroids, but were less comfortable overall for patients. They remain an option for people who can’t take oral steroids.

Additional treatments may be needed if your doctor discovers an actual underlying cause of SSHL. For example, if your SSHL is caused by an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If you’re taking drugs known to be toxic to the ear, your doctor may tell you to stop or switch to another drug. If you have an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack the inner ear, you may need to take drugs to suppress your immune system."

Read more at NIDCD

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Member Member - 3 months ago
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So my right ear ONLY has been clogged for almost 2 years and seems to ring on stop in very quiet surrounding ( for example when I turn the tv off and try to go to bed)... my hearing is terrible in it when it is clogged but if I squeeze my nose and blow out it pops my ear and clears it and I can hear fine. But as soon as I swallow saliva or anything else it clogs again until I squeeze my nose and blow out again.. I do this multiple times a day but my doctor said not to do it...
I have had 2 visits with my ENT doctor as well he has sent me to get an MRI on the right side of my brain (which came out negative). He has given me hearing tests 2 separate times and both results showed severe hearing loss in my right ear. He claims the ringing in my ear is mental and says the hearing loss is due to a loud explosion near my ear sometime in my life (ex. A gun shot or firework in his words) and told I'm partially def and I need to learn to live with it. I find this hard to believe because if I hold my nose and blow to pop my ear I can hear fine until I swallow again... has anyone else had this problem??

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Rahim Ghanbari, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in West Vancouver
25 July 2016 - 25409 Views

I strongly suggest that you visit an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist or and Audiologist immediately.

Any disturbance or blockage of the ear canal (such as excessive ear wax, foreign body or...) may casue the fullness and ringing in the affected ear. There are also other transient possibilities such as the Eustachian disfunction or nasal congestion on one side. However, unilateral or one sided tinnitus and fullness/hearing loss requires urgent medical attention.

An Audiologist can examine your ears for any impacted earwax and evaluate your ears for any sign of hearing loss using Puretone Audiometry and Tympanometry tests. He/she may also conduct a tinnitus evaluation to find out what type of tinnitus (contineous or pulsating) you are experiencing. Based on the evaluation outcomes you will be referred for a medical attention and possible intervention immediately. 

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Member Member - 3 months ago
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Well I did visit my allergie Doter ,I do know I suffers from earring lost and tinnitus .but my Docter told me they'd no cure for tinnitus.it very annoying me the raining refuse to stop on my R ear.

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Kurt mooney
Kurt Mooney, BC-HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in St George
19 July 2016 - 25443 Views

Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician immediately.  Hopefully it is just impacted wax in the canal, which can be removed in office.  However, it could be something more serious, such as sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss, which may require treatment with corticosteroids.

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Ellen Nathan, MA - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Glendale
19 July 2016 - 25450 Views

You should see an ENT immediately!  Sudden hearing loss is often due to a virus in the cochela.  It could be anything, but you MUST see an ENT IMMEDIATELY!  On the lighter side, it could be completely plugged up with wax, either way you need to see a doctor.

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Lisa Goldstein, MA - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Tarzana
19 July 2016 - 25453 Views

The experience of Tinnitus in one ear accompanied by feeling plugged and decreased hearing are symptoms that should be followed by your physician. A general practitioner, or even better, an ear nose and throat specialist will examine and help determine the source of your discomfort and a treatment plan. These symptoms are not terribly unusual but should medically .followed 

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Suzanne Yoder, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Pittsburgh
19 July 2016 - 25463 Views

A change in hearing could indicate something simple like ear wax or something more serious.  Please have this medically evaluated as soon as possible.  An ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician has the most medical training for ear disorders.  Seeking care early is important for certain medical conditions of the ear as early treatment can reverse some causes of hearing loss.  Waiting could potentially cause more damage depending on what is causing the change in hearing.

Note: An audiologist can also perform necessary tests to determine the next step in treatment.  Given your symptoms, however, I would seek a medical opinion with an ENT first. Red flags include single-sided tinnitus and single-sided aural fullness. Once you are medically cleared an audiological assessment can help evaluate options for dealing with any permanent changes in hearing and communication. 

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Carly Jean Girard, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Libertyville
19 July 2016 - 25466 Views

Get in to see an audiologist for a hearing test immediately!  The audiologist will complete a diagnostic hearing evaluation to determine the type of hearing loss.  Sometimes this can be caused by a simple wax build up or a middle ear infection (like you commonly see associated with a cold) but other times it can be a sudden sensorineural hearing loss which without prompt treatment may be permanent.  The most important thing to do right now is call a local audiologist and find out what it is.  They will then be able to make the appropriate recommendation.  Inform the office you call that this was a sudden change in your hearing and you need to be seen ASAP. 

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Member Lynda Wayne, Au.D - over 1 year ago
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Have your Audiologist or primary care check for wax!

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Member Justin Brader - over 1 year ago
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Get it checked out. I would recommend going to an Audiologist that way they can remove ear wax if necessary, but also have the equipment on hand to go a step further and check your hearing if necessary...

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Member Nichole Kovel - over 1 year ago
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In my area, it is often difficult to get in to see an ENT as soon as might be needed in this case without certainty of cause. The easiest path to obtain immediate medical evaluation would therefore be to see an audiologist ASAP to check for wax and perform a hearing evaluation. Many audiologists in my area have relationships with ENT or otologists so that if immediate medical evaluations are needed, they could make calls to those ENTs and have you seen.

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Member Member - 4 months ago
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I am Kayode Lawal from Nigeria. About 2 weeks ago I noticed a slight swelling towards the outer part of my right ear canal. I suspected a boil and hoped it would burst and dry up. The swelling has now reduced and I didn't notice the release of any pus from the suspected boil. Now I feeling a plugged sensation in my right ear, a ringing sound with a slight impaired hearing.

I am 47 years old and haven't seen a doctor yet. Can anyone help with possible causes?

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Member Member - 3 months ago
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So my right ear ONLY has been clogged for almost 2 years and seems to ring on stop in very quiet surrounding ( for example when I turn the tv off and try to go to bed)... my hearing is terrible in it when it is clogged but if I squeeze my nose and blow out it pops my ear and clears it and I can hear fine. But as soon as I swallow saliva or anything else it clogs again until I squeeze my nose and blow out again.. I do this multiple times a day but my doctor said not to do it...
I have had 2 visits with my ENT doctor as well he has sent me to get an MRI on the right side of my brain (which came out negative). He has given me hearing tests 2 separate times and both results showed severe hearing loss in my right ear. He claims the ringing in my ear is mental and says the hearing loss is due to a loud explosion near my ear sometime in my life (ex. A gun shot or firework in his words) and told I'm partially def and I need to learn to live with it. I find this hard to believe because if I hold my nose and blow to pop my ear I can hear fine until I swallow again... has anyone else had this problem??

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Member Member - about 2 months ago
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I'm starting to get that in my right ear...

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Member Member - 11 days ago
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I had some ringing in my left in last week with lots of headaches, then I went out Saturday woke up Sunday and was sick. My ear feels plugged. Went to see a walk in Dr on Tuesday and said he seen fluid in the ear from the virus. He told me to take sinus pills. It's now been over a week and nothing has changed. It's driving me crazy that I can't hear out of it. I have tried all home remedies and still nothing has changed. What could it be going on with my ear??

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