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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
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Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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For the last couple of months, when I wince hard, and yawn

Resolved Question:

For the last couple of months, when I wince hard, and yawn (sometimes), I hear a "crunching" sound in my left ear (like saran wrap being crumpled). It's similar to the sound of having water in your ear after swimming, but I haven't been in a pool in a very long time and I don't have any pain. I don't know if it's something internal in my ears (eustachian tubes?) or something in my ear canal rubbing against my ear drum.
What is it and is there any way I can treat myself for this?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.


Thank you for writing in today. There are two most likely causes for this sound. First of all, this could be some fluid fluctuation in your middle ear. With yawning, you change the pressure in the middle ear, so fluid can shift. You don't necessarily have to have a recent history of swimming for this to occur. This can be a normal variant; however, it can also occur under other circumstances, such as sinus infections, colds, ear infection, allergies, etc. The other possible cause is a tempromandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. When a person yawns, there is generally an associated jaw movement. People with TMJ disorders do sometimes complain of a crunching or popping sound. At any rate, either condition can be assessed per your primary provider. This condition may not actually require any treatment. However, if this is related to some congestion, such as recent sinus infection, cold, or allergies, your provider may recommend a decongestant or antihistamine. I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know. Lisa

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