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Ear Pain
#11
I hope you get this sorted out Hydrangea. It really does sound quite irritating. I would also recommend a sinus rinse if you find your nasal passages are at all clogged. The Neil Med Sinus rinse bottle is what I use when my sinuses are feeling stuffed up (like they normally do around springtime now with all the pollen in the air) and the refill packets are quite reasonably priced if purchased at Costco or Walmart.

I experienced something similar to what you described a couple of times when I did a mask fitting session trying out different masks during the day and my nose was a bit stuffed up. The higher air pressure with the mask fitting setting did cause some kind of popping in my ears that was uncomfortable. When my nasal passages are clear though I never got that same popping.
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#12
(03-19-2017, 10:54 PM)Hydrangea Wrote: Thanks for all of this info.  It has certainly given me things to consider.

I don't experience the weird popping if I just tell myself not to swallow as I'm trying to fall asleep. It's a psychological game, but it works.

The ear pain continues. I hadn't thought about the possible humidity factor. I can turn that down and see if anything happens.

Ramp is an idea. I've had that off. But I suppose I could turn it on, just to take an edge off of the falling-asleep pressure.

Hydrangea, are you still experiencing the ear pains? 

I've cut off my humidifier and dropped the pressure by 1.0 cmh2o from optimal. So on ondays and offdays the AHI swings between 0.7ish to 1.8ish... but the blocked ears have almost resolved itself.
lots-o-coffee
The doctor says coffee does not affect my tinnitus and it's got lots of antioxidants.... 
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#13
Admitted I'm a newbie here in both forum and as a BiPAP patient. I'm suffering the same with my ears at times during startup at night. I'm labelling myself as "pressure intolerant" when it comes to xPAP machines. Two years ago, I started on a straight CPAP that the doc wanted set to 20. The actual setup was for 18 though as I couldn't exhale. I didn't get used to the pressure, not being able to exhale (my opinion-that's important!), and the ear discomfort and popping were bad then. As noted, I'm on a BiPAP now, (after a 2 year delay, bariatric surgery for weight loss, a new sleep study) with Flex set on 3. Pressures now are a 15-10 due to inhale/exhale settings. Ear irritation is less for me with lower pressures. On the humidifier, I can't reduce mine for my comfort level, and I have tried all the humidity settings, but for whatever the reason, and certainly it MIGHT be because I'm dealing with both OSA and COPD, but I favor higher humidity settings. Sorry but I've gotta be unique.

OK now that I'm done babbling, I do swallow to pop the ears on BiPAP startup. It helps-ish. AKA sometimes yes sometimes not as much. Oh I forgot, I did have an incident in the 4th grade where my right eardrum was ruptured courtesy of a slap to the ear from a classmate. Constant tinnitus since then.
Sleep-well

Best wishes on getting the pain in the ear resolved.
Sarcasm is a hobby of mine. I am not sarcastic on serious issues, implied or otherwise.
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#14
(03-28-2017, 08:29 AM)Newbee2016 Wrote: Hydrangea, are you still experiencing the ear pains? 

I've cut off my humidifier and dropped the pressure by 1.0 cmh2o from optimal. So on ondays and offdays the AHI swings between 0.7ish to 1.8ish... but the blocked ears have almost resolved itself.

In the last couple of days, I've noticed I'm not having the ear pain.  My ears are still making popping sounds (but it's not the pressurized pop that I think some are mentioning, rather I think it's more of a TMJ type of thing that I've always been prone to but is happening more).  But I'm very glad to not have the pain.  I don't think it's 100% gone, but pretty close; so yay!

On the 19th, I lowered my min pressure by 1 cm, in hopes of it helping the ear pain.  So, that seems to have worked.  Weirdly, my 90% pressure has also gone down by 1 cm.   Thinking-about

I also changed my exhale Flex setting from 2 to 1.  I don't actually have any clue what that means, besides changing it to something different.  And that seems to be working well for me.  So... no clue, but ok.

That's interesting about the humidifier.  I should look at turning that down.
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#15
Good to hear Hydrangea!  Just be careful about making too many changes at once or you won't know what helped or what possibly caused an effect you didn't want.
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#16
(03-28-2017, 03:47 PM)Hydrangea Wrote:
(03-28-2017, 08:29 AM)Newbee2016 Wrote: Hydrangea, are you still experiencing the ear pains? 

I've cut off my humidifier and dropped the pressure by 1.0 cmh2o from optimal. So on ondays and offdays the AHI swings between 0.7ish to 1.8ish... but the blocked ears have almost resolved itself.

In the last couple of days, I've noticed I'm not having the ear pain.  My ears are still making popping sounds (but it's not the pressurized pop that I think some are mentioning, rather I think it's more of a TMJ type of thing that I've always been prone to but is happening more).  But I'm very glad to not have the pain.  I don't think it's 100% gone, but pretty close; so yay!

On the 19th, I lowered my min pressure by 1 cm, in hopes of it helping the ear pain.  So, that seems to have worked.  Weirdly, my 90% pressure has also gone down by 1 cm.   Thinking-about

I also changed my exhale Flex setting from 2 to 1.  I don't actually have any clue what that means, besides changing it to something different.  And that seems to be working well for me.  So... no clue, but ok.

That's interesting about the humidifier.  I should look at turning that down.
I have the DreamStation Auto BiPAP and I'm going to assume the Flex feature ought to be the same on any DreamStation. My understanding of the Flex feature is that it's an exhale relief setting where 1 is a little, 2 mid-range, and 3 is more relief. I use setting 3 even though my BiPAP Auto drops from 15 on IPAP to 10 on EPAP automatically.

Reference the user manual on Flex:

"This allows you to adjust the level of air pressure relief that you feel when you 
exhale during therapy. Your home care provider can enable or disable this 
feature. When your provider enables Flex, a level will already be set for you on the device. You can increase or decrease the setting from 1 to 3. The setting of "1” provides a small amount of pressure relief, with higher numbers providing additional relief.
Note: If a lock icon is displayed on this screen, it indicates that your 
provider has locked this setting and you cannot change it."
This is via the DreamStation PDF manual.
Sarcasm is a hobby of mine. I am not sarcastic on serious issues, implied or otherwise.
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#17
(03-28-2017, 03:47 PM)Hydrangea Wrote: Sad


On the 19th, I lowered my min pressure by 1 cm, in hopes of it helping the ear pain.  So, that seems to have worked.  Weirdly, my 90% pressure has also gone down by 1 cm.   Thinking-about

Great to hear the pain is gone. On the 90% pressure, it could be due to the change in flex to 1. I stopped using flex and my 90% dropped too.
lots-o-coffee
The doctor says coffee does not affect my tinnitus and it's got lots of antioxidants.... 
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#18
When I started I had some severe ear pains. I also had tooth pains. I started using biotene mouthwash and it helped. As I got used to CPAP it actually has gone away.
If everyone thinks alike, then someone isn't thinking.
Everyone knows something, together we could know everything.
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#19
There are actually 2 flex types available on the Dreamstation when in Auto mode. They are AFlex and CFlex. Here's a pretty good explanation of the differences from an article on the internet.

For all of you who don't know the difference between A-Flex and C-Flex on Respironics CPAP machines, you're in good company. Each is a comfort option on the most popular Respironics CPAP machines that makes it easier to tolerate CPAP treatment. A-Flex is a little more comfortable than C-Flex, in that it provides pressure relief on both inhalation and exhalation. C-Flex only provides pressure relief on exhalation.


However, there is often a trade-off between comfort and the most optimal treatment, and that certainly is the case with the distinction between A-Flex and C-Flex. When a CPAP machine's algorithm allows for pressure relief, that of course means the pressure is being reduced. But the very reason we use Positive Airway Pressure in the first place is to have that pressure. So when the pressure is reduced, we are at greater risk for having apneas and hypopneas. On the other hand, if we can't tolerate the pressure without the comfort settings switched on, we will not use the treatment at all, and our machines will become doorstops. A-Flex, one prominent sleep physician told me, is considered the "training wheels" of CPAP therapy because it is the ultimate in comfort settings, and can get people used to CPAP therapy until they are ready to go to the next step, which would be C-Flex. Ideally, though, we'd wean ourselves off both comfort settings, and optimize our treatment in the process.

I originally started out on AFlex but found when I changed to CFlex my AHI readings went down and comfort was not an issue. Here is a link to another thread where a user found much better results switching to CFlex. http://www.apneaboard.com/forums/Thread-...come-Input
Both offer the option of setting it from 1-3 based on the amount of relief you need. If you have become accustom to using your APAP, might be worth giving the CFlex a try.
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#20
(03-28-2017, 03:56 PM)Marillion Wrote: Good to hear Hydrangea!  Just be careful about making too many changes at once or you won't know what helped or what possibly caused an effect you didn't want.

Thank you for that reminder!  I changed my Flex first, and noticed no change after [only] 2 days, and my ear pain was driving me nuts... so I didn't want to delay doing the pressure change. 

So you're right... I don't really know what is helping... but I'm happy with both.  :-)
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