Have you noticed a cold or flu can also make your ears feel stuffy? Your ears, nose, and throat are interconnected, so when you have a problem in one area, it can cause problems in the other areas. Congestion in the ear(s) is just one of numerous symptoms that can occur when there’s an issue with the nose, sinuses, or throat.
The Cause of Ear Pressure
The small passageway that links your middle ear to your throat is known as the Eustachian tube. This tube helps to balance the pressure in your middle ear by opening up whenever you sneeze, swallow, or yawn. This system stops air pressure and fluid from accumulating inside your ear canal, behind the eardrum.
When there’s an obstruction in the Eustachian tube, noises can sound muffled. It’s normal to feel pressure, pain, and fullness in your ears. Your Eustachian tubes can become partially blocked due to allergies, colds, flus, or sinus infections. Inflamed tissues and mucus discharge are primary reasons for dysfunction in the Eustachian tube.
Air travel or traveling up high altitudes can also change the way your Eustachian tubes are not functioning properly.
Tips to Relieve Ear Pressure
In order to use the best remedy, you must identify the cause.
Primary Causes of Sinus Congestion:
Managing Fluid Buildup
If there are drainage issues in your ears, fluid can build up. As a result, fluid can become trapped behind the eardrum. Here are some symptoms that you may notice:
If the problem is not resolved, the fluid build-up behind the ear can lead to a rupture.
Remedies to remove fluid from the ear canals:
Earwax, or cerumen, can build up when it becomes pushed deeper into the ear canal or obstructs the ear canal. This blockage can lead to hearing loss, dizziness, pain/fullness in the ears, pressure, and tinnitus. Q-tips should not be used to clean the ears. This will push the earwax further in the canals. Wearing hearing aids or earplugs can also cause cerumen buildup.
The best way to remove earwax is by running warm water in the ear canal (during a shower) for a couple of minutes. You may use an irrigation kit for this. When the water softens the wax, it will drain through the outer ear.
Ear congestion can be caused by allergies. Antihistamines and decongestants can relieve allergy-related ear pressure, along with other symptoms. Be aware that some medications can cause hearing loss, so discuss this with your hearing healthcare provider.
Traveling by Air or High Altitudes
When you are on a plane that’s about to take off or land, a sudden pressure change can occur in your environment and the middle ear. This imbalance stops your eardrum from vibrating the way it should. Ear pain, full feelings in the ear, and pressure can cause “airplane ears”.
Remedies to reduce pressure:
Infections in the Middle and Outer Ears
Otitis media, or more commonly middle ear infections, can cause symptoms of dizziness, hearing loss, and pain in the ears. The culprit is usually viruses from respiratory infections.
Swimmer’s ear, or outer ear infections (otitis externa), is usually caused by water that’s left in your ear after it is exposed to moisture. Water that becomes trapped after swimming or bathing is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive.
Usually, ear infections will resolve themselves. Ear drops and pain medications can help relieve symptoms.
There are various causes of ear pressure. It’s important to find the cause of it and treat it appropriately. There’s generally a simple home remedy. If symptoms worsen, seek professional help. If you are noticing hearing loss as a result of ear pressure, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.