Medical Questions > Mental Health > Sleep Disorders Forum

Ear Sensations - pressure in my inner ears before sleep (Page 1)

Hi there

Sometimes I seem to have a strange sensation during a period that I'm "battling" to fall to sleep (it's a period of sleep where I am still conscious that I'm in bed and falling to sleep, but can't really draw a line between reality and thoughs (dreams) ). It's a sort of a half sleep.

Anyway, to get to the point.
Sometimes all of a sudden I seem to be feeling some kind of pressure in my inner ears, or ears, or head in general if you will.
It's like something is drilling inside my head, or some kind of fluid is in there, I don't know how to describe it. But it lasts for a short time and seems to increase for a second and two, then I kind of fight it and snap out of it, then it goes back for a second or two, then I fight it again and span out of it.
It feels like pressure building up and having a buzzing sensation inside my head, and for some reason (even though it's not really painful) I seem to
be determined to fight it every time, and I try to stay awake.
As soon as I start drifting away into sleep the pressure and buzzing is back, as if it is connected to loosing grasp of the reality of the room and bed (falling to real sleep).
The reason I fight it is because I get the feeling if the pressure and buzz increases my head is about to explode.

Now comes the interesting part.

I often have problems with ear grease building up which sometimes clogs up my ears so I have to go periodically to the doctor (maybe ever 3-4 months) to get my ears cleaned.
In recent time (past month) I've had this experience described above quite often, and it always feels like my ear drums are "drumming" , as if someone puts a finger in my ear and vibrates.

A few days ago I had my ears cleaned, and I could hear much better.
(a large amount of grease was removed)

This morning the experience happened again, and was quite different.
There was no drumming. It was "smooth", the buzz and the pressure feeling were increasing but there was no vibration.
And this time I seemed to "lose the battle" with the sensation and it went sort of "all the way", until I could feel an intense buzz in my head
and the whole thing sort of exploded and I could hear myself gasp for air
and wake up in an instant.
After that I was fully wake.

And I though. Since the experience of ear drumming changed with the physical properties of my ear (now its clean), what if this whole experience
has a physical component. And there is actually something going on in my hearing system, some kind of pressure buildup or whatever.

A few noteworthy things to add is that during these attacks, I tend to
shake (my whole body) as if having a seizure, and I feel physically trapped and paralyzed, and as the buzzing and pressure sensation progresses (within seconds) I seem to lose control of my body proportionally, and feel like my brain is collapsing into a black hole.

I'm pretty sure this is all standard sleep paralysis, but the reason I started
this thread is to see why is there a connection between by actual physical hearing system condition and the seizure sensation.
Is there something going on in the middle ear during these seizures
that actually makes air fluctuate in the hearing system (thus the change in sensation when my ears were unclogged)

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First Helper Diterriter
Users who thank Diterriter for this post: thebreed 

replied March 13th, 2008
Pressure in ears during sleep

Did anyone answe your question. The same thing happens to me a lot. I'm interested in finding out why this is so.
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replied January 22nd, 2014
Same thing happens to me, I saw a sleep specialist about it and it is a symptom of narcolepsy. It has to do with uncontrollable erratic REM sleep. Doesn't mean you will fall asleep randomly but symptoms include drowsiness, sleep paralysis, nightmares, hallucinations at the beginning and end of sleep, and sudden muscle weakness when laughing, surprised, angry, etc. I have found that 50mg of trazadone helps to get rid of the paralysis, however other symptoms remain. I will be having a sleep study done later this month and I will post an update then.
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replied March 21st, 2008
Re: Pressure in ears during sleep
Hi Diterriter & JR2439,

Just thought I would respond to your queries in case you haven't had an answer by now and seeing as last night I felt the same thing for the first time. Basically it sounds as though you have experienced the initial stages of an OBE (out of body experience), which is an extremely common natural thing (apparently 80% of the worlds popluation have experienced this!). Sleep paralysis is a common feeling, as your 'conscious mind' is seperated from your physical body and is often the main reason for feeling scared during nightmares, not being able to control your snapping out of it. Sorry if this worries you - it shouldn't as I think people who have had OBE's are quite privileged! The world and our view of reality is a hell of a lot more complex and incredible than most people know! My advice would be to read up on OBE's and just reember that if it happens again, YOU have ultimate control of your body and if you feel uncomfortable about it, then you can stop it. I've a feeling it's gonna happen for me again so, your not the only one! : )
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replied May 21st, 2013

I typed this in google but didnt think I would find what I was looking for and diteriters post explained it down to a T although I do not think it has anything to do with his ears being clogged up because my ears are fine and I get this quite a lot very intense, sometimes I fight it, sometimes I let go. I also had this happen when I was standing in my kitchen it came out of knowhere.
I was glad to see that im not alone and forums like this are great for giving you/me a piece of mind. If this is the start or OBE then this is not the only way I have experienced it. sleep paralasis is quite different (no build up of pressure) but even more scary because I am fully concious but am immobolised cant move or speak and struggle to breath.
I wonder why only certain people experience this.
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replied March 22nd, 2008
Re: Pressure in ears during sleep

Thank you for your response. Mind sharing with us why you think this is so? I looked at several websites on OBEs but didn't find "symptoms" similar to what we described. Any links you might sharing? What was your experience like? Like i said, it happens a lot to me. It happened a lot a couple of years ago and then it stopped, but now I seem to be experiencing the same thing again, so I'm intrigued by the whole thing. Thanks again.
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replied April 22nd, 2012
the ear drum pressure?
hi JR2439....your describing exactly what happens me, although (and I know this might sound weird) but I always woke up with a negative feeling as if something was trying to possess me ( had a circle of salt around my bed for years) Anyways it used to happen me all the time, and to be honest it freaked me out but then I got used to it & anytime it happened I'd try to ignore it as i was tired etc. but the pressure always got too much & it always felt like my ears were going to explode & its like pain but not (its all very strange) anyways did you ever get to the bottom of it?????
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replied April 22nd, 2012
Your experience sounds exactly the same as mine, it used to happen to me all the freakin time but then it stopped for a year or so but it came back tonight Sad i really dislike the experience, feels more negative to me like something is trying to possess me or something! it probably sounds mad but i spent years sleeping with a circle of salt around my bed and tonight has freaked me out again Sad
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replied May 1st, 2009

I have had similer experiences.

Its a bit different though for me. Ive only had the weird ear pressure thing a few times. But sometimes if i wake up in the middle of the night, and then try to fall asleep again, as i fall asleep i suddenly lose like my grip of reality and im completly paralyzed... but i can move slightly, like my arm slowly and i try so hard to wake up, try and push my eyes open.. i start to panic and get really anxious and then suddenly i can break out of it.

But then i start to drift off again and suddenly ill get it again..

Its really horrible and i really dont like it. I keep worrying that one day it will happen and ill never be able to get out of it
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replied May 21st, 2013

I know exactly what your talking about...

'But then i start to drift off again and suddenly ill get it again'

it feels like it begins to pull you back but u cant help it so you drift and then feels it like you fall deeper and deeper then you forget untill a gap appears and its your chance to try and wake up again or its as if your conciense becomes concient for a split second and if you miss that then you go again do you know what i mean.
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replied June 17th, 2009
I would have to definately agree with anamnesis. I've been having OBEs for a some time now, so I'm quite familiar with them, but recently I too have been experiencing increasing pressure and other slightly uncomfortable sensations in my ears during the first stages of an OBE, I wouldn't think much of it exept I seem to have increased fluid(grease build up) in my ears aswell and I've been feeling similar sensations(pressure) more freqently when I'm awake. I don't really know what to make of it, just thought I'd share.
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replied August 12th, 2009
pressure on the head and ears
Hi all;
Please read my Post it maybe will help you all,
i have had these symptoms 3 years ago after i had my youngest child, mine started with the head and nose pressure, feeling dizzy most the time that goes for nearly 1 year. i have had lots of ear inffection for a several time in that year, then the dizziness got worse, the pressure on my head was awfull it was like a heavy balloon will explode at any time, fullness in my ears, cheeks and tongue, nums and tighting in my gum and teeth, my night and days were really awfull feeling down everyday, doctors told me you are well nothing wrong,now for one year i have been going every week to see my GP, he said its a depression and maybe sinus infection. he started giving me an anti depressant tablate, and sent me to CT sinus Scan, there were no infection or blockage, my ENT doctor eximined my ears he said your ears are fine but i was getting mad how could this be the case while i feel like someone is pulling my ears and nose and the fullness, tightness pressure on my head and ears everyday getting worse?????!!!!!!
the surprise was from my dintest when she noticed that my front two teeth are chipped!! she asked me?!
I said, YES i do since i was very young and still do that, well, my sister used to tell me that and huby noticed it (its shamefull) lol but what can i do? i have never know that long time stress and depression could drive us to many trubbles while we think its ok mates.. all the world living in depression.
the dintest gave me a guard night that i have to wear it on my upper teeth so will Stop me grinding.
i was not sure its really the case i took it as a joke, i through it on the drawer and said omg why shall i wear this plastic .... on my teeth while am just 34 years , what would i do then when iam 60?!
the pressure on my head got worse day by day and doctors answers nothing serious. its all about depression, i have looking on the internet for grinding the teeth causes, i was really shocked when i realised that all the symptoms i have read are the same as mine because in the last three months the pressure worsen and my head 2 side start to be painfull, then i start to feel the pain on my cheeks the area on front of my ears, the pain got worse when i open my mouth very wide and the jaw on front my ear feels painful and clicking i really have a nick ache that i never took it seariously, and the pain, tighting on my teeth and gum were from the grinding.
my main problim is the stress leads to grind the teeth then two crowns that affecting my bite these things caused me a problem in my jaw muscles.
now if you have any of these symptoms don't hisetate to visit your dintest and watch your self if you grind your teeth while sleeping or even when you a wake you might grind them specialy if you are nervous or even thinking,
try to relax your jaw as much as you can.
sometimes you wouldn't feel the pain on your teeth, becarefull sometimes the symptoms are very similer to sinus disorder that is why its very hard for doctors to discover if you have JMT disorder if you don't notice that your self.
i wanted to share my expereince with you guys maybe some of you having something semiler as mine, if any of you have any question please feel free to ask.
i am now after relaxing my jaw feeling better, my main concern was my head pressure and my ear pressure + fullness, just exmine your self, you can feel it if you watched it, if your problem related to your jaw muscles you would not discover it without watching it, this is my expereince, i am now getting well day by day, i know i need time by relaxing my jaw, having hot water with massage on my jew and muscles, eating soft food. talking carefuly, and sleeping as much as i can.
hope all of you get well very soon...

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replied February 4th, 2010
Hi, i'm SO glad I found this site as nowhere else on the net seems to explain what i've been feeling for a LONG time. It started a few years ago, one night in bed I started to feel immense pressure like someone was lying on top of me, I was lay on my back at the time, then suddenly the only way to describe it is a seriously high pithched buzzing or vibrating screaming noise filled both my ears, it was so intense it felt like my ear drums were going to explode, it happened like this for a while. Then a few months ago it all happened again, except this time i remember having the feeling that something lifted me to a standing position, only my feet were not actually touching anything, it was as if i was floating (this happened while I was sleeping alone at work, I work 24 hours shifts as a social care worker, so sleep shifts are all to regular for me), after this I've just had the ear screaching sensation, until last night when i tried so hard to fight it i woke myself up actually trying to really scream, everytime this has happened i'm completely paralysed, with no control over my own body and completely unable to stop it, i just have to wait it out and it's terrifying!! has anyone had these exact symptoms or am i going mad??

Thanks in advance for any replies

Shelley x
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replied April 22nd, 2012
yes Shelly for years! and this is the first time ive found people experiencing the same thing, trying even to describe it to friends and i sound mad... ans yes they are frightening and I always wake up ith a very negative feeling, (see post above)
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replied February 23rd, 2010
Dear everyone,
you guys are certainly not the only ones! It happened to me too several times although not often. One night I was between awake and asleep. Then I suddenly heard drumming noise in my ears. I was completely paralysed. I tried very hard to move (and kept praying), then I finally woke up, feeling quite scared. The funny thing is, I had that experience right after i read a book about Out of Body experience. Since that, i've never read that book again. Honestly, i don't like the experience. After that, i could hear drumming noise inside my ears even when i was awake. I went to the doctor and he gave me a nasal spray. I used it for five days, and (thank God) it's now gone. Maybe this info could be useful to all of you. Thanks.
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replied March 17th, 2010
You are are having sleep paralysis. It is the beggining stages of an obe or astral projection. I also get an intense electrical vibration starting in my ears and then surging throughout my entire body. Do not try and fight this. Only attempt to clear your mind and accept it. They effects will increase until your spirit or soul or whatever becomes detached from your body. It is a profound experience and you have absolultly nothing to worry about. I get this ALL the time.
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replied April 6th, 2010
Hi Astraldreamer,
Is it scary to do astral projection? what can u see?
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replied May 17th, 2010
Not Sleep Paralysis ...Waking Dream Ear Sensation
Hey Guys,

Before I get to my confusing and frightful experience last night, I think I'll start off with my dream background because I've noticed a lot of topics on the forums revolving around this. As a frequent victim of Sleep Paralysis, thought I'd first share the knowledge I've gained over the years on what it is and how to prevent it. Second, I'll try and nullify sleep paralysis as the cause of my experience last night

So to give you an abridged version, sleep paralysis is the sensation you get when your mind is awake and your body is still asleep and it's facilitated when your sleep cycles are in disarray. A common personal experience of mine is when I find myself awake with eyes half way open and extremely heavy eyelids; enough to peak around and see my surroundings. My entire body feels compressed into the bed, I'm unable to turn my head, lift my arm, push out any vocal attempt, or figure out a way out of the situation physically. There is often a subject that comes in and out of my room (Mom coming in to bring clean laundry or put something away in my room - back in the days when I used to live with my parental units that is) and I'm always working on ways to communicate with the subject to come over and move my body or push me into awakening. It literally feels like something is sitting on you and restraining u externally and internally and u just have to sit there awake, endure it and wait (what feels like hours) until it's lifted. There is a scientific explanation for it and I thought I'd share it with you all: -paralysis

From my own personal experiments, Ive been able to free myself from these occurrences for 3 years now and here is what I did. I outlined all the common motifs that occur during these events. (1) they happened during my day naps. (2) the compression only happened when I was laying on my back.

So you guessed it. I cut out napping during the day and I stopped letting myself rest to sleep on my back.

Some background: I live with a roommate who would never come into my room.
So I had a nightmare last night which is kind of irrelevant to the events that took place after but for the sake of giving you the entire picture I'll elaborate.
I've had a permanent retainer in my mouth for over 13 years and I dreamt that my retainer all of a sudden came off one tooth and I figured I should try and pull it off. As I was doing so gently, my other tooth dislodged with the retainer and I started bleeding profusely. I went to my parents for help because I was frightened of losing my teeth and not having enough time to reverse the action. I was begging them to help me and take me to the doctor. They continued their conversations with eachother like I wasnt even in the room. They were looking right past me and seemed like they were purposefully ignoring me. I yelled "I hate you" as I awoke from the dream. Now my parents are awesome and I have no traumatic history with them so don't anaylze.


The current position I'm laying in is slightly curled onto my right side. Eyes still closed, I slowly come to realization that it was only a dream I started to giggle a bit and breath in sighs of relief. I even tongue across my teeth to make sure everything was there.
As I start grinning to myself that Im ok and the dream was so stupid, I feel something pushing my legs up into a fetal position as if someone is trying to make room and sit on the edge of the bed. I am beyond startled and beyond explanations and my heart is starting to race as I try to comprehend who the hell is in my room and what are they doing to me. I'm trying to lay still and not test the waters by pushing my legs back. I didn't want to push my legs back out in the event that I would feel some sort of solid object against my legs validating my horrid incomprehension. As I'm trying to figure out what to do, suddenly my entire torso is getting compressed into the bed. I kid you not, my agnostic self starts praying. I start telling myself "I'm dreaming again, what I'm experiencing isn't real", I start mentally calling to my deceased grandparents to come watch over me and then the weirdest event of all happens.

You know when you're in an airplane and there is a rapid decline and your ears are under pressure so u blow with your nose to push out all the air. Sometimes if the decline is so steep, the pressure is really grave and when you blow with your nose, there is an actual weeping sound that eminates from your ears like you're squeezing out the deep pressure.

So here is the reason I'm mentioning this. As I was laying there completely vulnerable, but capable of physically retaliating against the subject of pressure, I chose not to for utter fear of the unknown and endless whatifs. All I can find myself doing is trying to trick my mind into happy thoughts, good memories and just plain praying for it to stop. After what seems like 5 minutes or so of this, my left ear starts shreaking and releasing pressure like I described above. It felt as if my body was expelling whatever it was that was pushing me down. It lasted about 15 seconds and then everything stopped. The weight on my body was gone, my legs felt free and it was dead silent.

I laid there traumatized and unable to bring myself to move for about 2 hours. I kept trying to push myself away from analysis and spilling random good memories into my brain until I finally fell back asleep.

So the main thing conflicting with deducing it's sleep paralysis is this.
(1) I was awakened from an actual nightmare and was in the process of calming myself down
(2) I felt completely awake, completely able to move my body and completely free to wrestle with whatever it is that was pinning me down. I chose not to
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replied May 20th, 2010
I wake up not being able to move. I try to scream for help nothing comes out. Last night it happened again, only I felt something blowing in my ear and on my back. It lifted and I could move again.??
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replied May 24th, 2010
Falling Asleep ear sensation
HELLO MY NAME IS TROY COOPER not to come on some sci fi movie type stuff but this really freaks me out because I to am having the same problem i actually googled but i was going through to see if i would find an article or somehting but instead i found a ton of people that are going thru this.I wonder do we have anything in common because i kind of believe this experience we are having is something that none of us understand
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replied July 17th, 2010
i had the exact same thing for like 7 years now..
when the buzzing starts its really easy to snapout of it.
but overtime i got so curious in what would happen if i let it go all the way.
this is what happened (did this a couple of times)
i was lying in bed and the buzzing started, i drifted away, had my eyes open, and as it got more intence the room changed, it got so intence and suddenly i was in a dream, i went from awake to a dream without sleeping first, i dont think this is good for my body so i only did this a couple of times, now when i have it i try to snap out of it but it comes back just seconds later..
so what im trying to say is that its the feeling of entering a dream while awake, does anybody know the proper name for this? because i want more information about it, and i want it to stop because it happens very often to me, thanks in advance
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replied August 23rd, 2010
i have no idea how to stop it. When it happens all i want to do is to be able to move my body as when i do so the ear thing stops. I find that if i'm able to move something like my toes other muscles will follow suit and the paralysis suddenly stops. I wouldn't mind it if i were merely paralyzed as i could quite easily ignore it and try and get back to sleep but the ear pressure is so uncomfortable that i am incredibly preoccupied with making it stop. it is a horrible feeling and really difficult to snap out of. Things that i have found that help are drinking camomile tea before bed and placing lavender inside your pillow, these things help you drift off more peacefully and reduce the chances of this horrible affliction.
Any other suggestions to prevent it would be appreciated.
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replied October 14th, 2010
OBE, Lucid Dream, Sleep Paralysis
Ive had this experience for ages aswell, the paralysis, slowly moving arms trying to wake up and my eyes are open and every time i open and shut eyes or move arm i get very intense vibration originating from ears going through my body, before last night i always assumed i was actually opening my eyes in my sleep but last night i realised i am having lucid dreams about being asleep on my bed and it is exactly the same as reality.

i worked out i was dreaming last night after noticing in i had a TV remote in my hand, then when i woke up it was empty of course. last night after waking up and realising this and then falling asleep again i was fully aware i was dreaming and paralysed slightly but did not fight it and then I started to look at my TV in my room (next to my bed) and actually used it to control my dreams ! by opening and shutting my eyes looking at it i created images on it and actually went into the screen, very weird experience
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replied February 28th, 2011
Affraid to go to Bed... (weird ear sensation cannot go to sleep)
Ok so I've been afraid to go to sleep for the past 2 months because of this weird ear thing. I thought perhaps it was a symptom of peri-menopause so I Googled it and here I am... the ONLY page in cyberspace even remotely close to what I too am experiencing. I really appreciate all the posts... whew, I'm really not nuts, lol.
Like someone posted earlier, the sound is similar to sticking a finger slightly in your ear and vibrating it. As I'm drifting off to sleep, the echoic (for lack of a better word), rubbing sound feels like it comes out of nowhere straight to my right, inner-ear and gradually get's louder and louder as if my eardrum is going to burst and suddenly jolts me awake.
WTH?! Seriously, this is getting ridiculous! I don't believe it is an OBE for me because I become suddenly aware and have total control; I experience no paralysis whatsoever.
It happens every single night just before I drift off to sleep and I have noticed last night, that I do get a sudden chill just before it happens. It used to really freak me out, however lately, I have been the one in control... I surround myself w/the white light, rejecting the vibration in my ear and I can finally go to sleep. Even if I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or whatever... the sound will come again as I try to drift back to sleep so we must start all over again with the white light exercise. Will this subside or will I just have to deal with it?
I haven't seen a doctor about it yet for lack of knowing how to explain it but please keep these posts going. It helps to know that we're not alone in this. Thank you! Smile
~Shari - 42 yrs. old
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replied March 5th, 2011
Hearing loss when sleeping - Can canals ears close?
Hi, I was trying to search the internet to find out if anybody has the same problem I did, This after asking my family doctor, who had never heard of it. I felt like I was strange for having the problem so am really scared to bring it up - but apparently I don't have to feel that here. LOL.

Seriously. What I experience is basically that my ears close when I am asleep. I DON'T mean you can see this happen on the outside, it definitely inside. and it was only first noticeable when I was waking up slowing, My hearing was very muffled and it slowly returned - as if I was pulling ear-plugs out. This has been going on for years, but is becoming more apparent over time.

Lately - since I pay as close attention as I can and with practice - I can sense muscle or tissue movement in the skull within the ear area (I think of it as a Squishy feeling) - when this happens and it seems to involve the jaw as well. IE, When I move my jaw as this happens the effect happens faster.

My theory is that there is some sort of pinching effect of the ear canal. But cant find anything that would do that. Anybody else have their hearing effected like this as they drift off to sleep and wake up?
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replied March 11th, 2011
Ear infection or brain t*** :(
Hi everybody. I have the same things from many years. At the beginning I thought this unpleasant feeling will going to pass, but in the last years I feel it very conscientious. On short, I fall asleep the pressure starts within my ears I cannot move anything. I am trying very hard. My breathing is slower and slower, while my ears pressure is higher and higher. Finally I am over my body, up in the air. I am moving through the apartment, I meet my parents; they speak between them; I am trying to catch their attention. They don t see me or hear me or anything. .. Other time I saw and felt like my husband entered into my room. He spoked with me as usual. He told me something, requested me something. Then I really woke up and did what he requested me. When he came back home he said he didn t wake me up he didn t request me to do anything, he wouldn t have done that because he left home at an early hour 6:30 am. I was shocked. .. These being said, lately it happened something very frightened to me and I decided to do some research. I suffered an objective vertigo Sad. Very soon I am going to have an MRI at the brain. Something is not good. From my research either it can be a severe ear infection or I pray to God not to be or something is on my brain, that should not be there. I hope I am doing this in time. Good luck to everybody.
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