Ear Popping and Pressure
Ear Popping and Pressure is known as Eustachian Tube (ET) obstruction. This is blockage of the connecting tube (ET) between the nose and the ears that occurs with elevation changes (flying), chronic nasal infections, and chronic blocked nose. It worsens with driving up and down grades and can be associated with popping in the ears.
The diagnosis is made by the evaluation of the ears that show the eardrums partly collapsed together with nasal blockage and narrowing. Pressure from the nose is creating a suction effect on the ears. In addition, the nose may show polyps, sinusitis, and internal narrowing, and crookedness of the septum. A CT scan of the sinuses is done to further evaluate the blockage.
Treatment for long-term Eustachian tube obstruction popping and pressure is usually in the form of nasal sprays and decongestants. This is only successful in the short term. Newer methods to open up the eustachian tube openings is done through the nose and sometimes ventilating tubes are needed in the ears. Balloon ET dilation is now the best new option to open the eustachian tube done through the nose.
The minor procedure may involve balloon dilation of the opening and straightening of the septum together with a reduction of the nasal membranes. This new technique has been available for the past few years and is about 70% – 80% successful in terms of reduction in symptoms.