Fullness in ear

Hi there,

I wanted to know of any of you have had any problems with your ears? I have this weird fullness only on my right ear that comes and go. It started when I started taking Paxil a week ago. Dr. Hain says it has nothing to do with Paxil though. The weird thing is that all my headaches are also on the right side of my head. Can anyone one relate???


Could it be aura? Might just be a coincidence with the Paxil, or maybe the Paxil didn’t cause it (ie not a side effect) but it might have set off an aura symptom? Just thinking as I type…

Yes, I get the ear fullness as well. This is a documented symptom of MAV and is part of the reason MAV gets misdiagnosed as Meniere’s Disease. From what I see on this foum, it doesn’t seem to be that common amongst the people here though. For me my ear gets to feeling so full, that it feels like there is something very dull trying to push it’s way out.



I started getting that about the end of last year and it has become worse as time goes on. I now have a pulsating sensation on that side if I lay on that side and if I raise my arm on that side over my head. If I am laying flat on my back it also does it.

But it started off as a fullness in the ear, and gradually got worse. Nothing I did to try and relieve it helped and some days it is better than others, mine is on the left side which is the side where I used to always get my headaches.

I am having another MRI/MRA Monday to see if anything else is going on concerning the pulsation as that is a new symptom to deal with that can be very troublesome at times. I have looked up a lot on the internet but do not want to speculate at this time as to what it may be…lets see what the doctors say first although they are not always right as many of us know. :mrgreen:

Perhaps it is nothing more than an allergy acting up , or fluid in your ears…

Hi Emma,
The first 3 years of mav I had this as well,
Including itching like a tiny insect was scratching to get out, also pulsating tinitus
It went away with time.
I have it rarely now.
best wishes for your paxil trial.

My GP who is very knowledgeable about migraine (suffers with it herself) said that migraine could cause excess fluid build up in the inner ear membrane (inner ear)
Brian’s right , she said it’s basically the same mechanism as meneirs disease.

Is it like your heart is beating in your ear?
“you can feel it”? not just hear it?
I believe its called pulsating tinitus, it’s one of my symptoms as well.

:smiley: xxx

I have had this in my left ear for over a year. A year ago, the nurse said she could see fluid in the middle ear. I just went back to the GP and she said it should come and go, (it has been there steadily for the last year!) sometimes hearing sounds like head in a bucket, sometimes it pops and I hear more clearly. When I lay down it sometimes keeps popping until I get up. The GP said to hang head over steam and use flixonase to open eustachian tube. I have been doing this but it hasnt gone. It seems to get worse when I have bad migraine. I have also been diagnosed with endolymphatic hydrops in the past, but this is the inner ear.

— Begin quote from ____

Is it like your heart is beating in your ear?
“you can feel it”? not just hear it?
I believe its called pulsating tinitus, it’s one of my symptoms as well.

— End quote

It is not in beat with my heart at all …it happens mainly when I lay down on that side or when raise my arm above my head or if I yawn really hard…or a lot…

It feels and sounds more like when you put your hands together and create a suction…and the kinda pop that sound makes but it is a pulsating …sound and feeling

Have any of you had CT scans of your temporal bones to look for semicircular canal dehiscence? Bucket head, hearing your heart beat, and ear fullness, and unilateral disequilibrium are classic symptoms. The CT’s have to be done a very specific way, which you can read about at Hain’s site, and it will not show on an MRI/MRA.

Best, Sally

I also have fullness in my ears on and off. I attribute this to another strange MAV symptom. “Heal your Headache” speaks about ear issues with migraine.

I also have fullness in one ear that comes and goes. I don’t get a lot of migraine headaches, and when I do, they aren’t usually one-sided, so I can’t say there’s any relationship there. The fullness in the ear started a year or so before the dizziness started. And a couple months after the dizzness started, I began to have a very faint tinnitus in that ear too. It’s not so much a ringing as the sound of a very faint, very distant power line.

I think this is a pretty common symptom of MAV. I have it too. Both my ears feel somewhat full and the left is constantly popping. At times, my right will suddenly become more filled, or rather, I can’t hear as well - almost as if I covered or stuck something in my ear - and then it starts ringing. It passes pretty quickly or at least, when I get the ringing, I swallow a lot to get it to stop. The ear fullness/popping is constant but something I have gotten used to.

— Begin quote from “Timeless”

— Begin quote from ____

Is it like your heart is beating in your ear?
“you can feel it”? not just hear it?
I believe its called pulsating tinitus, it’s one of my symptoms as well.

— End quote

It is not in beat with my heart at all …it happens mainly when I lay down on that side or when raise my arm above my head or if I yawn really hard…or a lot…

It feels and sounds more like when you put your hands together and create a suction…and the kinda pop that sound makes but it is a pulsating …sound and feeling

— End quote

Well after months of this being gone it has come back this week …what the heck…I am so tired of all of this. What would cause it to come and go like this…

Yes, I get fullness and pain in both of my ears. One set of docs wants to ignore the pain, the other wants to ignore the fullness. :roll:

One thing leads to another - I’ve had the fullness in my left ear for the last few days, and it even affected my hearing. But I know what caused it: I gave myself my primary trigger, and I knew it when I was doing it!

I’m in menopause transition, and I needed a “booster” hit of local (supposedly not systemic) hormone because of skin tearing that some women get due to lack of estrogen. Yes, having your skin ripped down there does tend to kill the mood. (OK, that’s an exaggeration - the skin tears aren’t big but they feel like paper cuts.) Was hoping to stop using the stuff altogether, by just having intimate relations on a very regular basis - that’s supposed to be able to help the skin problem. But the skin problem that caused me to go to my GYN in the first place came back when I stopped using it, so you can’t start a regular “program” if it hurts!

I thought I’d just use the local hormone one more time or two without too much trouble - I’m still having daily “swaying” since I first started the hormone back in November, but I can live with that - the good news is that since I’m on Topamax, I haven’t had any tunnel vision or severe dizziness like I had before (the kind where I couldn’t even walk without holding onto something - I also had the tinnitus come back in that left ear too, but it’s mild and I only notice it in quiet rooms).

But the fullness was sticking around for days, and this was new - as I recall, it was something that used to last for only hours, maybe a day at most. And the hearing loss wasn’t great, but it was bothering me. This supposedly local hormone DOES get into your system (I did a lot of research on it), and as we all know, it doesn’t take much for a migraineur to be affected!

So I will be going back to my neurologist - and maybe my primary care physician too - but in the meantime, I did a bad thing and asked my husband for a half of one of his diuretic pills that he takes for his blood pressure. He takes 25 mg hydrochlorothiazide. So I got 12.5 mg of it. I knew taking it at bedtime meant I’d be getting up a few times in the night, but my hearing loss was really starting to bother me - I don’t recommend doing this kind of thing, because I know you should never take anybody else’s prescription medication, so I should be slapped on the wrist for this, I know!! But it worked. I woke up with almost no fullness in my ear and my hearing almost back to normal. Excess fluid in the inner ear may be due in part to migraine (as jennyd’s doc says - see post above) but also, estrogen causes water retention too, and that’s what I’ve been giving to myself. It’s my main trigger, as far as I can tell (either estrogen itself, or hormone level fluctuation).

I’m thinking that if I can’t get off this hormone stuff (I don’t want to give up my sex life), I may have to consider an increase in my Topamax dose to possibly raise my threshold - but I may also need a diuretic of my own in case I keep getting this ear fullness. I don’t know if the neurologist would want to prescribe that, so that’s why I’m thinking I may need to see my primary. Like I said at the beginning, one thing leads to another! :roll:

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Hi Maryalice,

Glad you figured out your own treatment. Sometimes we have to be our own “doctors”. I don’t see why your neurologist wouldn’t be on board with prescribing a benign drug like HCTZ as part of your regimen. Especially you have proven it works! Good for you:-)

Dealing with that today, as a matter of fact. Left ear though my weak side is right ear. I could hear my breathing - as if I were breating out of my ear! It was preceded by a BOOM of ringing in the left ear!

A very interesting quote. Yet another take on ear fullness. Familiar with the connection to salt and sugar intake but for the female of the species very interesting indeed. Despite some neuros denials more and more hormonal links seem to keep appearing.

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But what causes the migraine is never explained. Oh but ear trouble can cause migraine … (spot the vicious cycle? …)

Given what seems to be a disproportionate number of women on the forum, you have to wonder if unique aspects of female physiology represent some level of pre-disposition or risk factor …

Hot flushes and blushing are definitely a thing … I wonder if over-dilation of some blood vessels can interfere with the Eustachian Tube or Inner Ear fluid management:

Sex hormones make women's faces redder as a sign of fertility | Daily Mail Online.

And booom!:


What must certainly be true is if the hormonal fluctuation has a significant impact on the physiology of the inner ear, it could cause the electrical response of the inner ear to alter enough for it to put the brain under stress (brain gets stressed when patterns of incoming signals diverge from anticipated patterns).

I recommend this article that discusses allostasis:


Here’s a discussion of migraine and stress, which is interwoven and seems to go both ways:


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I look at aldosterone and potassium balance here. Just my opinion, however.

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Spot on:

“aldosterone (ALDO)—the major hormonal regulator of salt and water balance—exacerbates EH in animal models”



“Psychological stress also activates the sympathetic-adrenomedullary system which stimulates rennin release leading to increases in angiotensin II and aldosterone secretion.”

Aldosterone: A forgotten mediator of the relationship between psychological stress and heart disease - PMC.

You can imagine that if you have an inner ear issue that causes you to have symptoms that make you anxious, this will lead to greater stress, excretion of more aldosterone and then even greater issues in the inner ear …

This is why getting your stress levels under control is so important so they don’t themselves become an exacerbator.

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