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Dr-Trace
Dr-Trace, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 26
Experience:  Board Certified in General Ophthalmology
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Hello, I have been having problems for about 4 months now

Resolved Question:

Hello,

I have been having problems for about 4 months now with what I thought was an ear problem....I now have a better sense of my situation than when I wrote 3 months ago.

Here is what's happening: When I move my eyes upward, I feel a spasm or twitching and hear an airy, shaky sound in my left ear. It seems to be particularly bad after I've eaten or quickly moved my head. I will sometimes also have the noise/spasming when I swallow or lay down on my right side but I'd say 90% of the time, it is triggered by eye movement.

Additionally, I am having a problem with my salivary gland also on the left side but do not know if that is related to the ear/eye issue? Saliva seems to get trapped behind my ear and under the jaw bone and will not release until I press on those areas with my fingers or use a warm cloth.

The doctors I have seen can not figure out what is going on. I did have an MRI of the inner auditory canal and no masses or tumors were found.

The only thing that seems to mitigate the spasm/noise is Sudafed - taking sudafed does not make it go away entirely but just diminishes it. When I have tried to cut out sudafed altogether, the spasm and noise gets much more pronounced and occurs more frequently.

I'd appreciate any help you can provide!
Kris
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr-Trace replied 2 years ago.

Dr-Trace :

Hi I am Dr. Trace and I am going to try and answer your question.

Dr-Trace :

First - there is a reflex that couples the rotation of the head or movement of the eyes with a spinning of the canals of the inner ear. This is why I believe there is fluid build-up in your inner ear. The reflex of moving your eyes is making you aware of your inner ear. The fact that sudafed improves the condition is also proof that there is congestion in your inner ear.

Dr-Trace :

I am not certain why the salivary glands are blocking but it may also be related to congestion.

Dr-Trace :

What I recommend is you find a dizziness center in your area that specifically focuses on problems with dizziness and inner ear problems. This is much more common than you could imagine.

Dr-Trace :

There are certain physical therapy movements that can be done to manipulate the semicircular canals and help improve this condition.

Dr-Trace :

Hi - I see you have entered the chat.

Dr-Trace :

Does what I say make sense to you?

Customer:

Hi, thanks for your answer! I'm just reading it through right now......I'm having some mild dizziness but not too bad - do you still think that it couldyou mention finding a dizziness center

Customer:

sorry hit Send before I meant to......

Dr-Trace :

Even if you are not having any dizziness, your other symptoms are consistent with inner ear congestion or crystals.

Customer:

Even though I'm not having extreme dizziness, you still think it could be an inner ear issue?

Customer:

Crossed paths in the ether - thanks! One final thought/comment

Customer:

Actually two thoughts! 1) Would the MRI detected an inner ear problem like this? Or is it more in the functioning rather than the structure?

Customer:

2) All of this started happening in the middle of a 2 month bout of whooping cough - I took an antibiotic and the cough cleared up by late December. I couldn't still have an infection from that, could I?

Dr-Trace :

1) The MRI would not pick up congestion or microscopic crystal deposition in the inner ear. But it is very common and certain theraputic manipulations of the neck can help relieve the feeling of congestion and make the ear drain.

Dr-Trace :

2) The fact that you had whooping cough is consistent with fluid and congestion in your inner ear. It is not still infectious, it is your own immune system reacting to the contagion (whooping cough) with fluid and swelling.

Dr-Trace :

The best help I have found for this condition (and as I said it is pretty common) has been in the specialized dizziness centers. They call them dizziness centers because the inner ear usually causes dizziness as a prominent sign but all symptoms of inner ear problems are treated by multiple specialists at once, including ents, pt's and ophthalmologists

Customer:

THanks so much for your assistance! I was just going to ask what type of doctor that I should be looking for but it sounds like the key is find a center that specializes in dizziness/inner ear problems, which may be various types of specialists?

Dr-Trace :

Absolutely - these centers combine all the best in the field to work in a coordinated approach.

Dr-Trace :

Call your larger hospitals for info on local dizziness centers. There are quite a few around.

Customer:

OK, thanks so much for your help today. I've been struggling with these for 4 months and am exhausted by it. Thanks again!

Dr-Trace :

Good luck. Let me know how you make out.

Dr-Trace :

Dr. T.

Dr-Trace, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 26
Experience: Board Certified in General Ophthalmology
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