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General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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jennmary
 
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CPAP and ears.

Postby jennmary on Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:28 pm

For those who dont know.....I had a really bad ear infection last month. Not my first since starting CPAP. After 2 rounds of antibiotics I still can not hear properly.

Went to dr today (urgent care, for something else) while I was there had her look at my ears. She told me that my ear drum is flexed in the wrong direction, usually seen when allergies are out of control. Made sense, until she noted that my sinus pressure was normal. Her next idea is that the pressure of CPAP every night could be causing it, and that since the ear drum is now like that even during waking hours the hearing loss might be permanant. This sounds kind of stupid to me. Anyone else heard anything about ear problems and CPAP?


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stevoreno
 
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Re: CPAP and ears.

Postby stevoreno on Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:25 am

jennmary wrote:For those who dont know.....I had a really bad ear infection last month. Not my first since starting CPAP. After 2 rounds of antibiotics I still can not hear properly.

Went to dr today (urgent care, for something else) while I was there had her look at my ears. She told me that my ear drum is flexed in the wrong direction, usually seen when allergies are out of control. Made sense, until she noted that my sinus pressure was normal. Her next idea is that the pressure of CPAP every night could be causing it, and that since the ear drum is now like that even during waking hours the hearing loss might be permanant. This sounds kind of stupid to me. Anyone else heard anything about ear problems and CPAP?


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vintage67
 

Postby vintage67 on Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:54 am

And this is why my CPAP that I just got in July is gathering dust.
I 'm waiting to get into an ENT.

I have a very deviated septum. Once, an ER doctor looked into my nose
with a light, and said, "Wow." I also have chronic sinusitis and allergies,
AND problems on and off throughout the year with an inner ear inbalance.

I have tried my machine twice; once for a week, and I developed a severe
cough and earache that lasted for 3 weeks. Very hesitantly, I tried the
machine again for one night, and I felt like I was suffocating, and my
ears were going to blow out. My ears pop a lot throughout the day, most
of the year, worse in peak allergy seasons.

I had a really bad cold the night of my titration. They debated sending
me home, but didn't. I was really sick, and I know now that I shouldn't
have stayed. I had all hypopneas, , sleep efficiency of
94%, and 97.5% of the night, my oxygen was over 90%. Yet my
one hour of REM sleep was awful, apparently, and I had 44 hypopneas in
that one hour! So, that really bad hour made my whole study look bad.

So, I end up with a "blow your panties off" setting of 16, which makes no
sense, because I have a copy of the titration chart, and 15 was as high
as they experimented with!

This pressure of 16 is WAY too intense, and because of my problems with
my ears, I am just not going to take the risk until I see an ENT.

I don't have a lot of severe symptoms, just fatigue. I dream, I don't
ever get up to pee in the night, my husband says he has only occasionally
heard me snoring softly, no gasping, (Which I guess explains why I
showed all hypopneas, since those he wouldn't even hear)

With my problems so mild, except for REM, it seems that a variable machine
would be best for me, but I definately want to go the ENT route before
I do anything else.

Oh, and that first week with the mask, my mask (a full face Fisher/Paskal)
BURNED my face. I had a red ring of raised skin that actually scabbed
and peeled. There was no way to keep the thing on with drawing it fairly
tight.

I know that I am "on my own" in this. My sleep lab was awful, and the
DME that I was sent to told me that with a pressure "that high" I was
close to dying in my sleep. I had my 3 year old son with me at that
meeting. He also threw his head back and snorted, and said, "this machine
will stop all that." I couldn't believe it. I said "that's odd, I've been married
for seven years, I think my husband would have heard that by now."
I also sleep at my mother's house about once a week to help her with
my dad who has Alzheimer's. She said she's never heard anything like
that either, and I sleep on the couch out in the open when I'm there, at
different hours than her, so she definately would hear it.


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sharon1965
 
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Postby sharon1965 on Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:28 am

And this is why my CPAP that I just got in July is gathering dust.
I 'm waiting to get into an ENT.

I have a very deviated septum. Once, an ER doctor looked into my nose
with a light, and said, "Wow." I also have chronic sinusitis and allergies,
AND problems on and off throughout the year with an inner ear inbalance.

wow, vintage, you've been having a rough time

do you have an ENT appointment scheduled? if you get that septum repaired you just might see an end to the chronic sinusitis and allergy symptoms...i did...my septum was severely deviated, but i don't know for how long...no one ever bothered to look up my nose, they just kept giving me prescriptions; since my surgery in april the chronic congestion and daily dose of allergy meds is all in the past...(the inner ear imbalance, i don't know about)

good luck getting it all sorted out
sharon


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Bamalady
 
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Postby Bamalady on Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:11 pm

I had an ear infection a few months ago, the first one I can remember ever having. Antibiotics seemed to have cleared it up, but I can feel something unusual in the ear again, so I guess I will have to have it checked again.

When I was on a straight CPAP pressure, it irritated my nose, throat, one eye, and one ear. That irritation has been reduced a bunch with the Auto I now have.


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vintage67
 

Postby vintage67 on Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:45 pm

So far, I have called a few, and the wait is long, like December. I will
start calling again on Monday.

I don't think I need a CPAP on 16; that's for sure. I would love to not feel
so tired. I am willing to investigate some surgeries. Maybe an Auto type
machine will be best; maybe I'll luck out and get rid of my hypopneas through surgery. At least, maybe I'll get rid of so many allergy symptoms.

I am very concerned about losing my hearing, though.

I have never been to an ENT; I haven't even seen an allergist in years.
The last time that I was seeing an allergy doctor, I had inusurance, but
she had me on two pills and two inhalers, and my co-pays for all four
of them was way over a hundred dollars. (2 were "non-formulary" and
ran 40.00 each). I admit it; I just walked away from all that. I just
couldn't afford it.


stevoreno
 
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Location: The Milky Way
Gender: None specified

Postby stevoreno on Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:52 pm

vintage67 wrote:And this is why my CPAP that I just got in July is gathering dust.
I 'm waiting to get into an ENT.

I have a very deviated septum. Once, an ER doctor looked into my nose
with a light, and said, "Wow." I also have chronic sinusitis and allergies,
AND problems on and off throughout the year with an inner ear inbalance.

I have tried my machine twice; once for a week, and I developed a severe
cough and earache that lasted for 3 weeks. Very hesitantly, I tried the
machine again for one night, and I felt like I was suffocating, and my
ears were going to blow out. My ears pop a lot throughout the day, most
of the year, worse in peak allergy seasons.

I had a really bad cold the night of my titration. They debated sending
me home, but didn't. I was really sick, and I know now that I shouldn't
have stayed. I had all hypopneas, , sleep efficiency of
94%, and 97.5% of the night, my oxygen was over 90%. Yet my
one hour of REM sleep was awful, apparently, and I had 44 hypopneas in
that one hour! So, that really bad hour made my whole study look bad.

So, I end up with a "blow your panties off" setting of 16, which makes no
sense, because I have a copy of the titration chart, and 15 was as high
as they experimented with!

This pressure of 16 is WAY too intense, and because of my problems with
my ears, I am just not going to take the risk until I see an ENT.

I don't have a lot of severe symptoms, just fatigue. I dream, I don't
ever get up to pee in the night, my husband says he has only occasionally
heard me snoring softly, no gasping, (Which I guess explains why I
showed all hypopneas, since those he wouldn't even hear)

With my problems so mild, except for REM, it seems that a variable machine
would be best for me, but I definately want to go the ENT route before
I do anything else.

Oh, and that first week with the mask, my mask (a full face Fisher/Paskal)
BURNED my face. I had a red ring of raised skin that actually scabbed
and peeled. There was no way to keep the thing on with drawing it fairly
tight.

I know that I am "on my own" in this. My sleep lab was awful, and the
DME that I was sent to told me that with a pressure "that high" I was
close to dying in my sleep. I had my 3 year old son with me at that
meeting. He also threw his head back and snorted, and said, "this machine
will stop all that." I couldn't believe it. I said "that's odd, I've been married
for seven years, I think my husband would have heard that by now."
I also sleep at my mother's house about once a week to help her with
my dad who has Alzheimer's. She said she's never heard anything like
that either, and I sleep on the couch out in the open when I'm there, at
different hours than her, so she definately would hear it.


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vintage67
 

Postby vintage67 on Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:48 pm

There is some confusion on your part. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough.
I stopped using my CPAP in July. Since then, I have been sick, and only
recently, through this forum and other sources, learned of the potential
for damage to the ears from CPAP, at least for people like me. I started
calling ENT's LAST WEEK. And yes, the first week of December is what I
have been hearing, since I am not an established patient. First week
of October through the first week of December =2 months. I have Anthem
insurance. I'm going to call some more on Monday, since I just picked up
some more recommendations.

ENT's and allergists stay busy where I live. We are one of the worst areas
for sinus/allergy problems in the country.

Believe me; don't believe me. I don't care.


stevoreno
 
Posts: 180
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Location: The Milky Way
Gender: None specified

Postby stevoreno on Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:23 am

vintage67 wrote:There is some confusion on your part. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough.
I stopped using my CPAP in July. Since then, I have been sick, and only
recently, through this forum and other sources, learned of the potential
for damage to the ears from CPAP, at least for people like me. I started
calling ENT's LAST WEEK. And yes, the first week of December is what I
have been hearing, since I am not an established patient. First week
of October through the first week of December =2 months. I have Anthem
insurance. I'm going to call some more on Monday, since I just picked up
some more recommendations.

ENT's and allergists stay busy where I live. We are one of the worst areas
for sinus/allergy problems in the country.

Believe me; don't believe me. I don't care.


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Guest
Also Posted As:
(mckooi)
 

Postby Guest on Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:39 am

hi,

it seem that after i am using the cpap machine everyday i have this buzz noise in my eras and head, kind like old tv when you turn it on. i wondered what was/is going on? someone please help. thank you.

mckooi

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Slinky
 
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Location: Mid-Michigan
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Postby Slinky on Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:56 am

First off, Stevoreno, it really does depend on your area how fast you can get an initial appointment w/ANY specialist even w/the best of insurances. If there is a great demand and few of that type of specialist you need it can take 3-4 months. I'm sure you've heard of so many ob/gyns giving up their practice or moving elsewhere. When I was first referred to a local ob/gyn there was a 2 month wait for an initial appointment. I called Cleveland Clinic and was able to get an appointment w/in a week w/a gyn/onco!!

As far as the ear thing: you are wise, JennMary, to refuse to use your xPAP at 16 cms until you see a good ENT "and" talk to a good sleep specialist about your ears.

Several times I've had my ears "plug up" like they sometimes do in an airplane or at high altitude. Most of the time I was able to "unplug" them just as you do in an airplane or at high altitude - by yawning. But not always. And often swallowing seemed to be the "key" to their plugging up. (All of this whilst using my CPAP I should have clarified). I have read in an apnea forum of one person having severe ear damage credited to xPAP.

It does sound like you should definitely explore surgery for your deviated septum. BUT - surgery beyond that due to OSA or hypopneas I would not even consider for a minute. Well, if I had tonsil problems I might consider a tonsilectomy BUT no way would I let them touch my turbinates, soft pallate or uvula! So, check out that deviated septum but beyond that "tread CAREFULLY" and get multiple opinions if anything more is suggested.


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pemmican
 

hearing loss

Postby pemmican on Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:44 am

Interesting thread. I've been on a CPAP machine for maybe four years. I hadn't heard that CPAP could cause ear problems, but had figured it out myself, because I've had three of four ear infections, always in my left ear, since I started using the CPAP (I would never get them, beforehand). I have one right now, actually, and am experiencing bizarre sounds INSIDE my ear as I type caused, I guess, by swelling and inflammation. Taking antibiotics to fight it.

Usually these infections happen when I have a cold or such, so I'd figured that what was happening was that the bacteria/viruses were literally being "blown about" in my head and making their way into my ear chamber. It also makes sense that the pressure of the CPAP machine can be hard on your ears, though (one doctor had said that he thought my eardrum looked strange, which fits with the "tilted abnormally" stuff above, tho' an ENT I followed up with dismissed the idea, so I didn't pay attention at the time).

I really don't want to have surgery or such, so I don't know what I'm going to do, but I think I also have to go off my CPAP, because I have definitely lost some hearing in my left ear as a result of these infections, and I don't want it to get worse. I'm a huge music lover and an English teacher, and on both counts, I need to be able to hear! I'd estimate that hearing in my left ear is at 40% of what it was pre-CPAP; I've even had to train myself to use my right ear on the phone, which was awkward and uncomfortable at first, because I find I can't hear what people are saying with my left. Also, I find I'm having to make sure I'm walking with friends on my right, or sitting in theatres with friends to the right, because of this.

I'm actually kind of angry that no one told me that using CPAP would do this. This is a major side effect.

Allan


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ColinP
 
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Postby ColinP on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:10 am

I can understand how using CPAP might increase the chances of an existing infection moving to the ear - there is after all pressure on your nose and sinuses, which could conceivably help the infection spread, but I don't understand how pressures such as those delivered by a CPAP machine (which in real terms are actually very low) can cause physical damage to the ears.

I play both the bagpipes and the saxophone, and an easy set of bagpipes will require about 60cm of H2O in order to sound, harder reeds going up to around 100 cm. I have no figures for the sax, but I can tell you from experience that a decent #4 reed is about as hard to blow as a set of bagpipes. Trombones and trumpets also require quite a bit of pressure , and all of these are three to five times higher than the pressures that xPAP machines can deliver, even at the top of their range, and I have never heard of a musician damaging their ears by playing their instrument. Of course, hearing loss from playing loud instruments is a different issue...

Incidentally, the only other person who I know personally who is also on CPAP is another piper in the band I play for. I was wondering if the extra muscles one develops over time from blowing that hard for long periods might have contributed to our apnea, but the ENT reckons it doesn't, in fact he feels it might even make the apnea less severe than it would have been. I'm not fully convinced one way or the other though.

Colin


k8e
 
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Postby k8e on Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:51 pm

Maybe there is a difference in the anatomical resistance to the air pressure between a person who is sleeping and relaxed vs someone awake and forcefully blowing on an instrument. Certainly the airways are more resistant to collapse when upright and awake than when horizontal and in REM.

I have just started using CPAP and the two times I have used it at home, I felt constant pressure in my ears and a mild to moderate earache and ringing in them that lasted quite a while after taking off the mask.

My pressure was only at 8 and 9. Pressure in my ears occurs immediately following the first time I swallow with the CPAP on. After that, there is no way to equalize the pressure without removing the mask and opening the Eustachian tubes again.

It is the same phenomenon as what some describe as "ears plugged up" when ascending on a plane, except in reverse. On a plane, the ears are not getting "plugged up", but as the cabin becomes pressurized, the air pressure outside the eardrum becomes higher than the pressure inside the ear. The outside pressure bulges the eardrum inward, making it more rigid and less responsive to sound vibration, which gives the sense that it is "plugged up".

There is a tiny tube that runs from inside your ear to the inside of your throat called the Eustachian tube. Swallowing or yawning can opens up this tube momentarily, allowing the outside air to rush in, equalizing the pressure inside and outside the eardrum.

Similar thing is happening with the CPAP, but in reverse. Pressure inside and outside the eardrum are equal as long as that Eustachian tube stays shut. But the moment the Eustachian tube opens up, that higher pressure air rushes into the ear inside the eardrum, which does not have equally high pressure on the outside of it, so the eardrum becomes rigid, in this case, bulging out instead of in.

On a plane, the air pressure outside the body is the same as it is in the airway, so eventually air will make its way into or out of the middle ear via the Eustachian tube, equalizing the pressure on both sides of the eardrum.

But on CPAP, the air pressure in the airway is constantly higher than the air pressure outside the body (assuming we're not leaking or mouth breathing), so opening the Eustachian tubes is only a one way street for pushing air into the ears.

This problem seems uncommon enough that perhaps most people have sturdier "valves" on their Eustachian tubes than I do.

I too am very concerned for my hearing and worried that I will be unable to use CPAP.


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robespindola
 

hearing loss with cpap

Postby robespindola on Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:03 am

Although i can't find any research or hard evidence of hearing loss while using a cpap machine, I too am experiencing tinninitis/hearing loss since using a cpap machine and i am wondering if the pressure produced for breathing has someway caused or added to my hearing loss. Audiology tests have deemed me moderate to severe hearing impaired. I have been using a c-flex cpap machine for a year and one half and of recent my hearing has changed dramatically. I now need hearing aids in both ears and i am using a hearing impaired telephone device to aid in my hearing. Continual high pitch buzzing and or hissing causes me to miss most of the conversations i have and the background noise is a total blurr now for me. A high pitch noise like a baby scream drives me up a wall. :(


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