Inner ear Problems - Suspected PLF

In 2016, I was in 6th form at the time. I was stood near the college bell and when it rang, I guess my ear was never the same after that. At the time, I had vertigo for a couple of days and when that recovered permanent high pitch hearing loss on my right ear and 24/7 tinnitus. I got used to it and it never really bothered me until the last of of months.

The damage in 2016 may or may not be related to what I have now. In June of this year, I was at the gym and was lifting heavy and pulled a muscle. During that week, I did notice my tinnitus to be slightly louder than usual but didn’t think much of it. A week later from injuring myself at the gym, I went to the beach and naturally on the motorway I guess everyone’s ears pop especially at high altitudes. Anyways the next day I noticed that any pressure applied to my ear would cause everything in my vision to shift back and forth. I wouldn’t say its true vertigo but everything would move as pressure is applied and then back to normal once the pressure is removed. Over the coming days, my hearing got worse and I had trouble speaking because the sound of my own voice would irritate my ear and amplify the tinnitus. When I swallow anything, my ear would make a noise also. Initially I didn’t understand the problem and carried on as usual. I avoided motorway driving but continued going to the gym lifting light weights and going for walks. The symptoms persisted and I started to get worried. I went to my ENT doctor and he said he suspects a leak in the inner ear (PLF). I was positive on fistula test and had a CT scan also which didn’t show anything but he said that it doesn’t have to show on the CT scan for their to be a leak.

After my appointment. I was strict with my rest and my hearing came back. When this came back, all my other symptoms seemed to disappear and I felt amazing. Unfortunately it all returned within a few days…I was annoyed and just frustrated. I went through a few weeks off of this where my hearing would fluctuate and with that the dizziness. I noticed that whenever my tinnitus got loud, my hearing would return within a day. Almost like my body is trying to heal itself. I also noticed my symptoms would return if I was driving downhill or I’m going for a walk and the wind was strong.

After speaking to my doctor, he suggested I have grommets inserted into the ear to protect the inner ear from external pressure. I agreed and had those put in a few days ago. So far my hearing is back to where it was before this problem. The only issue I have is that when I speak loud, my ear rings louder as I speak and or when any external noise is applied to my ear. I do feel much better but I guess not being comfortable speaking because of my ear is causing me to worry.

@turnitaround James I have read many of your posts and honestly it was because of your posts, that I decided to be strict my rest and then saw improvement so thank you for being incredibly active and informative on this website. I would like to ask you about what you think about my symptom’s and if you have any advice please.


Welcome @qm1234

There are other explanations for what happened to you, so be very careful how you proceed.

There’s a muscle called the Tonic Tensor Tympani which engages with loud noise.

You simply might have triggered that which will apply pressure to the oval window (a reaction evolved to protect your hearing).

I believe it’s possible that can then cause secondary hydrops as a result leading to tinnitus, dizziness etc. (I can even share with you the detailed hypothesis around this). There is also potentially a psychological link with the symptoms that can then extend and exacerbate them if this causes anxiety.

The best way forward is to control the symptoms and let things calm down of their own accord.

And unfortunately that can take a long long time.

Don’t catastrophise about nasty things like PLF’s … that’s going to be hard to prove and you are best to wait and see imho.


Interesting. I agree with the waiting because any surgery which involves going into the inner ear seems risky and I have seen improvements with rest. I plan on flying abroad soon, I just hope that I don’t encounter any problems on the plane. The doctor said that the grommets will help with this.

As you know, these problems are just soo frustrating. I am generally very active. Going to the gym and playing football is a big part of my life and I have to stop all this without knowing when I may able to get back to it. I guess the worst part is not being able to speak unless I am in a quiet room.

Yes please if you could share the hypothesis regarding secondary hydrops.

Thank you for quick response James :slight_smile:


Hi James,

Hope you are keeping well.
I started to make a significant recovery up until new years day. I had the grommet in my ear and week by week I was becoming normal again. I could talk comfortably again and I started going for runs. Unfortunately my grommet fell out prematurely as it only lasted 3.5 months. I didn’t know it was out and within a few weeks, all my symptoms returned. Im assuming because my ear was too weak to handle day to day pressure changes and eventually the fistula just opened up again. The symptoms includes;

fluctuating hearing
Pressure induced dizziness. The dizziness is only there briefly whilst there is a pressure change. For example hiccups, swallowing and although I don’t do this because it probably makes it worse but if I put my finger in my ear, I can make things move in my vision.
Talking is soo difficult and to me the most frustrating and disabling symptom.

I am gutted and incredibly frustrated. I feel like a shell of my former self. I feel like doctors dont understand me and the wait for an appointment via NHS is tough. I probably will have another grommet inserted but this time a T-tube.

I want to ask please is there anything I can do to aid recovery. This could be diet or anything. Right now, I feel like anything other than staying quiet at home just makes me worse. I feel useless because I genuinely cant do anything anymore. I supposed to be in the prime of my life at 25 years old. Ive gone from being working full time, going to the gym 5 times a week and playing football every weekend to doing nothing. Ive gained weight and just feel horrible. Sorry I just don’t know anyone else who understands my problems so I decided to message you.


Oh wow, sorry to hear you are on a downward tilt atm.

I’m afraid I can’t offer medical advice, except to say that maybe you should consider taking a more conservative approach?

I don’t think grommets have been that successful here?

Also recognise the huge mental challenge of all this. You need to hang on for better days and they will come.

Perhaps your ear has been knocked about a bit and needs time to heal and readjust?

Remember it’s very easy to imagine a specific problem when it might not be that at all.

The brain likes stability and I would do as little as you need to physically and monitor things over at least 3 years before jumping to conclusions.

I’m still improving … even after 7 years!

You might consider a low dose antidepressant to keep the dizziness under control? But if it’s not 24/7 that might not be necessary.

I would have a chat with your doctors and see what they suggest.

Let us know how you get on!


I believe the grommet helped and I was recovering. The grommet helps equalize pressure change in the ear so nothing externally effected me such as flying, driving or even closing and opening a door next to my ear. This provided my ear more rest. Since the grommet has fell out it has been downhill because Im assuming my ear couldn’t handle day to day pressure change and eventually gave way.

I believe had the grommet stayed in my ear much longer I would have had a better chance of full recovery because up until it fell out, it was improving week by week.

What do you mean by conservative approach? Does this include diet?

Wow… 7 years! I hope you continue to improve. Yes Ill let you know how I get on. I have a consultation in 2 weeks with my ENT doctor and from previous discussions, It is likely I will get a T tube inserted which is a long term grommet.

Thank you James!