Ear Congestion: What You Should Know

Are you experiencing a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear? You may be experiencing ear congestion.

Ear congestion occurs if your eustachian tube is not functioning properly, or is obstructed by something. Your eustachian tube is a narrow canal that runs from your middle ear to your nasopharynx. Your nasopharynx consists of your upper throat and the back of your nasal cavity.

When your eustachian tube is unable to fully open, whether the result of an obstruction or a blockage, it is unable to equalize the pressure in your middle ear. This can result in symptoms including dizziness, tinnitus, discomfort, and a feeling of fullness.

Conditions that can affect your sinus can cause ear congestion, including: the common cold, sinus infections or allergies. Changes in altitude and air travel can also impact your eustachian tube, resulting in ear congestion symptoms.

Below, we’ll look at what could be causing your ear congestion and what you can do to help relieve the symptoms.

Causes of Ear Congestion

Common causes of ear congestion include: 

  • Common Cold: An unfortunate side effect of a cold is nasal congestion. This can also block the eustachian tube, resulting in ear congestion.
  • Ear Infection: An ear infection can result in pus in your middle ear, causing a muffled hearing in the affected ear.
  • Fluid in your Middle Ear: If you get water in your ear while bathing or swimming, it can result in ear congestion.
  • Forcefully blowing your nose: As strange as it sounds, if you blow your nose too hard you may actually push secretions into your ear tube. Blow your nose gently to avoid this.
  • Allergies: Like the common cold, allergies can impact your eustachian tube resulting in ear congestion.
  • Airplane Ear: If your eustachian tube is already slightly blocked the changes in air pressure that we experience when flying can cause the eardrum to stretch. The primary symptom of this is pain in the ear. Changes in altitude experienced when driving up a mountain can also cause this. To help equalize pressure, try to yawn!
  • Medical Conditions: Though less common, some medical conditions can cause ear congestion. If you’ve been experiencing a feeling of fullness in your ear for over a week, we recommend booking in an appointment with your local health care practitioner.

How to Relieve Ear Congestion

In most cases, ear congestion is the result of a blocked eustachian tube. To help relieve the congestion, you can: 

  • Chew and Swallow More – Swallow water while pinching your nose. This can help to create a vacuum in your nose that causes the eustachian tube to open up. You may also want to try chewing gum.
  • Decongestant Spray – If swallowing or chewing haven’t helped, try a decongestant spray.
  • Allergy Medicines – If allergies are causing your ear congestion, taking allergy medication can help provide relief.

In most cases, symptoms of ear congestion will clear within 48 hours. If you are still experiencing ear congestion beyond this point, or if you suspect that you may have a foreign body in your ear, we recommend getting in touch with your primary healthcare physician.

We are Here to Help You!

In some cases, ear congestion can be the result of earwax. If you would like to book in a cleaning of your ears, the hearing healthcare professionals at Anderson Audiology would be happy to help. Book in an appointment today by calling us on 702-997-2964. Alternatively, click here to request an appointment online.

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