I am needing some feeback here. I am 41 yrs old South African male and have OSA and have been using the Autopap for 3 years or logged 56,000 hours on the machine. I use the Remstar autopap and sometimes this is supplemented with concentrator oxygen.
It has done the job and no problems at all until about 3--4 weeks ago when I noticed in the car that my eustaction tube felt blocked and I lost some low frequency hearing range. Now let me explain a bit. I am also deaf from sensorneural hearing loss since age 5 as a result of mumps. This left me with only one ear with aprox 70% hearing loss correctable to near 100% with hearing instruments. This blocked feeling would not subside and I saw the ENT a week later in a blind panic as I felt that something was seriously wrong. I also had tinnitius which comes and goes. My autopap pressures have always started at 6 and range anywhere from 10 thru 19 over a 3 year period.
The ENT checked the ear pressure and did tests to confirm further and HOPEFULLY Temporary hearing loss in the low frequency range (using previous audiograms as comparison) and confirmed that it was a blockage of the eustaction tube or "eustatcion tube dysfunction"
Started a week of nasal decong spray - no real improvement. lymph drainage etc.
Second week- oral predisone for 14 days (course finished) Decon/antihistamine tabs plus decon spray, plus Nasonex. Daily homemade sniffing mixture of 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp sodium bicarb mixed in lukewarm water - sniff about 300ml and hydrate- drink loads of water plus take mucus thinners.
Result: the tube still feels blocked (like glue ear) but as I live around a series of mountains/hills I notice that I can equalise pressure in the tube with the Vasalava technicqe by going for a quick drive involving altitude changes so some days or some part of the day I will have an 80% improvement from original condition but it will be temporary.
I have not used the Cpap for 21 days and am too scared to use it again- However I might try a full face mask and breathe with mouth. I don't have much choice as OSA is pretty noticable to me without cpap- falling asleep during day, irritable, calf cramps, etc.
I have never had any problems with Cpap or the nasal mask- but I did have horrible headaches behind the eyeball on waking for a period of 3-4 months on the same side as the now affected ear. I notice that immediately when I first notice the "blocked" feeling or muffled ear feeling or Glue ear- whatever you want to call it - that these headaches disappeared. I also noticed that the psyiology of the nostril on the side of the affected ear has changed- in months and years past I would give a hefty Vasalava blow on wakening to equalise the presssures and I' d blow a lot of mucus gunk out. That has all stopped with the sudden glue ear onset too.
So I am left with a blocked tube which cannot be grommeted because the ENT says that her pressure tests indicate that there is not enough fluid/glue to warrant a draining - but she understands that in my case that ANY blockage would be felt 1000% more by myself compared to the normal person. A normal hearing person might feel differently and much lesser affected than myself. I cannot have the eardrum pierced because I am dependent on the aid in that canal!
I just thought to let you know and if there is any specialist monitoring this board to feel free to offer any opinion.
My own guess is that somehow all the pressure from the CPAP over the LONG TREM has affected the eustatcion tube - causing it to flatten or change in some way at the openings- so fluids cannot drain normally- hence they sit and thicken. Vasalava maneuver used to be surefire way of clearing but not now.
Someone suggested using a Hyperbarbaric oxygen chamber but the ENT said it was too risky.
Unfortunately there are no diagnostic tools yet available to view the Eustatcion tube- NOT MRI, NOT CAT, not even endoscopy yet.
With luck my ear will unblock over time there has been some improvement and it feels like a block nothing more- but it is testing my sanity!! (still using nasonex and sniffin mix) and maybe I should go for full face CPAP.