January 9, 2012 10:43 AM   Subscribe

YANMD: Post-sinus infection ear stuffiness. Infuriating!


So I got a cold/flu on Christmas Day.

The flu symptoms abated relatively quickly, but turned into a really mean sinus infection. I did all of the things you should do at home/over the counter to relieve this, in vain.

On the evening of the 27th, I woke up from nap #8,000 to a really severe earache. I couldn't hear out of it either.

So off to the doctor I went. They prescribed a Z Pack for the infection and some lidocaine drops for the earache.

Now I'm feeling much better, but the ear is the last symptom standing. It doesn't hurt, so I don't need to use the lidocaine, but it makes this really frustrating and distracting WOMPY WOMPY WOMPY noise.

It womps with each step I take. When I'm sitting quietly at my desk, it womps with my pulse. Occasionally, a loud noise (like a door slamming) will make it momentarily stop. Sometimes it will stop womping when I work my jaw in the right way, or snap my head in its direction.

Essentially, it just kind of sounds like there's water in it.

Would buying some "swimmers ear" solution or hydrogen peroxide help it? Hurt it worse, god forbid?

Please help me stop the womping.
posted by functionequalsform to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
I had a really bad ear infection last winter, and it took a couple weeks for my ears to fully drain out and stop feeling/sounding off. Have you been taking anything like sudafed? It can help reduce the pressure.
posted by nomisxid at 10:50 AM on January 9, 2012

This sounds pretty similar to some of the pain and sensations I had a while back. I can't remember exactly which Mucinex [guaifenesin] version I used, but I think it was Mucinex D -- the one that is meant to blast out whatever's congested but doesn't necessarily help you stop coughing (because you don't need it).

Mucinex D has a nice big dose of guaifenesin AND pseudoephedrine.
posted by Madamina at 11:04 AM on January 9, 2012

i agree with the pseudoephedrine suggestion (the real stuff, behind the counter, not that crap on the shelves that they're trying to pretend works just was well). don't think of this as ear trouble, but sinus trouble even if you feel it mostly in your ears.
posted by nadawi at 11:16 AM on January 9, 2012

I just got back from the doctor for the same thing--I was at the tail end of a flu, but my ears were stuffy and muffled and wompy and painful and ohmygod if they don't pop soon I am going to snap. She said it was time to treat it like an infection since she could see they were inflamed, so she prescribed antibiotics--and also a nasal steroid spray (generic Flonase) to help with the swelling and inflammation. Three days later my symptoms are much improved. Not 100% cured, but the pain is gone and my ears are clear and womp-free more often than not. Maybe it's worth asking for a similar spray to help alleviate the symptoms?

In the past, I've also had great success with pseudoephedrine (the real stuff, taken every 4 hours up to the max daily dose) and Afrin. But you have to stop the Afrin after 4-5 days or you'll get rebound sniffles from hell. And both are contraindicated if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:30 PM on January 9, 2012

I'm sorry to inform you that it's possible that this is going to hang on for a while--I had a similar experience (bad cold, stuffy ears, WOMPY WOMPY WOPMY), and my physician ultimately diagnosed me as having tinnatus. This was...probably almost a decade again, and my wear is womping away as I type this.

Apparently the wompy is a less-known form of tinnatus, but is otherwise basically the same deal. I've since found out that several of my relatives have it, as well. My doctor said that it might go away on its own (and sometimes it does, for whole hours at a time!) but that for some people, it just hangs out. Forever.

Hopefully this isn't the case for you, but I wanted to toss it out there, just in case.
posted by MeghanC at 4:16 AM on January 10, 2012

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