I still don't know how it happened. The only thing that I can recount is a slight popping noise a week or so ago right before the slow ache started. It kept on like that for a few days and then suddenly took a severe turn for the worse yesterday.
And while there's vast improvement from yesterday to today, I simply can't tolerate having headphones on and, frankly, any loud noises really do a number to that ear right now. Plus, my concentration level is shot. It's amazing how a slight change in elevation...say from a sitting position to standing up can impact the pressure on one's ear. So no contest for me.
While I hate that I'll miss it, on the plus side it'll give me some time to do some shack maintenance and perhaps fill out some QSL cards that I've been meaning to tend to for several weeks.
Hope everyone has a good contest.