Ear fullness at night

Hi Folks,
About 1 year after the inital dizziness began I noticed that my ears were starting to develop a “full” feeling during the night. This has continued to progress until its really quite annoying. It always goes a away - at least mostly - when I get up and start moving around but the next night its back again. I actually notice it starting even before I go to bed - when I get sleepy in the evenings. Its most acute if I wake up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. Anyone experience anything like this? Guess I’m still questioning this diagnosis a bit. Thanks.



I have had trouble with my ears since all of this started. Although, no one can find anything wrong with them.

I wake up occasionally feeling like my ear is blocked. When I get up and start moving around, it slowly lets up and goes away, usually withing an hour of waking. I don’t know what it is, and the doctors shake their heads and say “your ears are fine, there is nothing wrong with them”. I don’t ever feel the fullness before bed, only after laying down and getting up.

Curious to see if anyone else experences it also, I’ve often wondered if its migraine-related.



My tinnitus is noticably louder at night, to the point that I swear that I can feel it vibrating my ear. For me this is basically a condition of the ambient noise around me. During the day, it is not loud where I work, but there are a lot of sources of ambient noise, computer fans, people talking, radios, etc. None of it is loud, just a lot of it. Needless to say I don’t have as much sound at home, and I hear the tinnitus a lot more.

I know your asking about fullness instead, but my point is a question to yourself. For me I don’t notice the tinnitus during the day because I have other things to distract me from it. Could it be possible that your fullness is just more noticable at night because you don’t have as many things to distract you from noticing it? Don’t get me wrong, you may very well have a difference in your fullness between night and day, I just thought that I would throw that question out there.


My ears get blocked up, but I always figured it was eustachian tube dysfunction, and/or allergies.
I can see why we question the diagnosis–my first neuro-otologist just called it “a vestibulopathy”, my otologist decided that MAV was the reason I had symptoms that just wouldn’t respond to vestibular rehab or the therapies for BPPV. Sometimes, I think it’s sort of a diagnosis of exclusion–you have ear problems, and you don’t get better, so the MAV label gets added to the pile of diagnoses.
It’s just so frustrating, and even with the MAV diagnosis, there’s no easy answers.

I also had a lot of ear symptoms when I was at my worst. Nothing I would call fullness, but a lot of tinnitus, things sounding strange, hearing things much more loudly, etc. All those symptoms, along with a LOT of visual aura, went away with one of my preventatives, the Neurontin, I think.

Isn’t fullness a sign of meniere’s ?

When I had my BIG CRASH, I had heaps of fullness in the ears, mostly in my left ear but also to the right. It was prior to that time that I had unexplained ear aches which lasted constantly for about 2-3 weeks and my doctor couldn’t see any redness or infection in my ear but gave me some antibiotics anyway. Suffice to say, it did nothing but was a sign of a relationship forming with my MAV. I had the fullness in my ears quite regularly for sometime after the BIG CRASH but very occasionaly get it now. My most significant feature I get these days, are ear aches, which come and go and can sometimes be a sign of a migraine/headache scenario to come. Sometimes I get the ear aches for no reason at all, too. I don’t get them for long, perhaps only an hour or two or even just minutes at a time, intermittently for a couple of days and then nothing for weeks. I have no doubt it’s related to my MAV, as all these symptoms presented together, not necessarily all at once, but definitely in a pattern. I also had testing for meniere’s but did not fit the criteria completely even though there were overlapping symptoms. We’re all sure suffering in different ways aren’t we, I suppose that’s why it’s so difficult to find the one single solution, but this forum is great so we can understand that there are also people suffering in similar ways too.

Thanks for the replies.

Doctor’s have also speculated that I just notice it more at night. Its pretty distinct. I’m convinced the feeling really comes on when I sleep and goes away when I’m up.

Fullness is a “halmark” symptom of Meniere’s. But they won’t diagnose you with Meniere’s these days unless you pretty much have all 4 of the classic symptoms. I have no hearing loss, no vertigo spells lasting more than 20 minutes (my longest was about 7 or 8) and no increase in the tinnitus when I have a vertigo spell. Also ECOG is normal. I wish it was Meniere’s - I’d have a vestibular nerve section performed and get on with life. The doctors however, seem convinced that it is not.

Kim, Kira and Judy,
Sounds like you’ve all experienced somthing similar to what I’ve got going on. My next question is: “are you improved?” and if so “What do you attribute the improvement to (lifestlye, medication, etc.)?” I’m thinking that if we’re experiencing similar symptoms perhaps we’ll have similar responses to medication.

Thanks again everbody and good luck.


I was much better (working, playing tennis–but with limitations), but had an episode last month, seemed like migraine like symptoms and/or some BPPV and it’s set me back.
Quick review: virus 30 years ago–sudden deafness, treated with steroids–left with some hearing loss/tinnitus and vestibular hypofunction, low grade symptoms for years, episode of BPPV 1987–no treatment, but ENG confirmed nerve damage, severe episode BPPV 2003 (had rotatory chair test 2001 again confirmed uncompensated nerve damage) and all the Epleys and vestibular rehab made things so much worse. Treated with klonopin, with slow improvement. Got a second opinion in 2004, and was dx with MAV. Just took migraine supplements–magnesium, Co10, fish oil, riboflavin, and was moderately limited. Then, a month ago, had another crash, and it has lingered. So, we started zoloft at 12.5 mg, and I’m better, but having a rough time at work (windowless rooms/fluroscent light). I’m getting better, but find the relapse very discouraging. My otologist has nothing to offer, other than “accept your limitations”, and my ENT wants me better immediately. I did try some Brandt-Daroff exercises for BPPV and they made me worse–so I stopped them.
So, I’m a bit better, but discouraged that I could take such a big step back.
I got my zoloft dose from a neurologist I met at a headache conference, Larry Newman of the Headache Institute in NYC. Prior articles on SSRI’s by Staab of Philadelphia initially argued low dose (2002) but later articles push for higher doses, and throw in the concept of treating dysautonomia.
So, I have nerve damage, recurrent BPPV, and I’ve always had mal de disembarkment symptoms, and was diagnosed as MAV to explain my lack of improvement and my tendency to flare.
When you take a step back, in my experience, I get “desperately dizzy” and really can’t stand having the symptoms.
I forgot the ear issues: a long history of sinus problems–with 5 sinus surgeries, and seasonal allergies–get shots. My ears always get blocked, and I have had tinnitus in the damaged ear for years. My hearing is stable–just the high frequency loss in the bad ear.
I had emailed a board member of VEDA about some concerns re: specialist help, and she emailed back that “in the end, we manage our own case.” She is better, off meds, but still has her bad days. I don’t think she’s working at this point.