Why Do My Ears Feel Clogged
Do your ears feel stuffy and clogged? Are you suffering from sudden hearing loss or difficulty hearing? From impacted earwax to a sinus infection, clogged ears are major nuisances. Fortunately, theres likely an easy fix. So scroll down for some answers if youve been wondering, Why do my ears feel clogged?
Ear Candling Has No Scientific Proof
Eric Mann, M.D., Ph.D., clinical deputy director of the FDAs Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices, said the FDA believes there is no valid scientific evidence for any medical benefit from their use. Charles W. Beatty, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic said the research indicates ear candling is ineffective at removing earwax and can, in fact, push earwax deeper into the ear canal. Studies of the debris that remain inside the cones after a treatment are actually a combination of burned candle wax and fabric instead of impurities removed from your ear.
Studies of the debris that remain inside the cones after a treatment are actually a combination of burned candle wax and fabric instead of impurities removed from your ear.
Pressure In Ears And How To Get Rid Of It
Plugged ears, ear congestion, or feeling of ear pressure, are terms that generally indicate a subjective sensation of ear fullness affecting one or both ears. These symptoms, which occur frequently, are often associated with an alteration or a reduction in hearing ability, sometimes described as muffled hearing. It is important to specify that ear pressure and hearing loss are different phenomena, although they can coexist in numerous illnesses.
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Try These Two Breathing Maneuvers
You may not know the medical terms for these two actions, but if youve ever had clogged ears, theyre probably among the first things youve tried. The pressure these two maneuvers create can help open your Eustachian tubes.
- The Valsalva maneuver: Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils closed. Then, breathe out forcefully but dont let any air escape through your mouth or nose.
- The Toynbee maneuver: Close your mouth, pinch your nostrils closed and swallow.
Research shows that these two methods have about the same success rate at unplugging, or popping, your ears.
Symptoms Of Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear can be very painful.
A full or clogged feeling in the ear that may cause sound to be muffled is often the first telltale sign of swimmers ear. If untreated at that point, what follows is intense pain, swelling and sometimes discharge.
- Swelling and sometimes discharge
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Why Do Your Ears Feel Blocked When Youre Sick With Something Like A Cold Or Flu
Your ears, nose, and throat link up via tiny canals called eustachian tubes1. These tubes, located on each side of your head, start in the middle of your ear and end at the back of your nose and upper throat, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine .
These tubes open and close regularly to adjust the air pressure in your middle ear, remove natural fluids from your middle ear, and circulate new air inside your ear, according to the Mayo Clinic. When youre dealing with something like a respiratory infection, which includes things like the common cold,2 flu, or COVID-19, your eustachian tube openings can become partially blocked due to tissue inflammation and mucus secretions, Dr. Woodworth says.
This blockage can interfere with the normal functioning of the tubes, leading to a pressure imbalance, Anthony Del Signore, MD, director of rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery at Mount Sinai Union Square in New York City, tells SELF. When the eustachian tubes are partially blocked, its harder for those middle ear secretions to flow down the back of your throat , which can make your ear feel clogged.
Blockage Of The Eustachian Tube
The Eustachian tube connects the throat and the middle ear. Normally, mucus and fluid travel from the middle ear to the back of the throat where people automatically swallow it. When something interrupts this process, the mucus and fluid remain in the middle ear and cause a clogging sensation. Blockage typically occurs due to the common cold, flu, sinusitis, and allergic rhinitis. Coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and runny nose are typical symptoms of a blocked Eustachian tube.
Fluid that remains blocked in the inner ear can lead to an ear infection. This is especially common in young children who dont have a fully developed Eustachian tube yet. The most prominent symptoms of an ear infection are fever, fatigue, irritability, and pulling at the ears. Ear infections require antibiotics to treat.
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My Ears Are Clogged But It Doesnt Hurt
Then theres a good chance you may have excess earwax. In general, earwax is great. Earwax essentially protects our ears from dirt and bacteria and makes sure that these things cant get through the ear canal and harm our eardrums.
But if you have too much earwax, it could cause symptoms of an infection, tinnitus, vertigo or a cough. And as you probably know already, it can affect your hearing. In fact, if the earwax isnt removed, it could potentially cause a hearing loss at some point.
What Causes The Feeling Of Plugged Ears
The eustachian tubes connect each middle ear to the upper part of your throat. They are also called auditory tubes. The popping sensation you feel happens when air moves from the upper part of your throat and nose through the eustachian tube into your middle ear.
Any medical condition that affects your eustachian tubes can prevent you from being able to pop your ears easily.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
At-home treatments should start to work in a day or two. If you don’t get relief or symptoms worsen, you may have a sinus or ear infection. These symptoms warrant a call to your healthcare provider or a trip to a walk-in clinic:
- Severe headache or facial pain
- Pain and congestion that worsens after improving
- Fever that lasts longer than 72 hours
Safe Ways To Relieve Clogged Ears
Your body usually balances the air pressure on both sides of your eardrum. When the pressure changes between the middle ear and the outside, you will feel like your ears are plugged. If there’s a lot of pressure change, it might even hurt.
In some cases, the air in your middle ear can have trouble adjusting to the pressure. This can happen when you are diving in water or flying in an airplane. It could even happen when you drive up or down a steep mountain.
Your middle ear usually adjusts to the pressure difference eventually. When it does, you will feel your ears pop. Sometimes you may need to help equalize the pressure by yawning or swallowing.
Certain medical conditions may impact your ability to pop your ears. When this happens, you may need to see a healthcare provider.
This article discusses why your ears sometimes feel plugged and how you can pop them. It also explains some of the conditions that may make it difficult to pop your ears.
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Foreign Object In Ear
Its possible for both children and adults to get something stuck in their ear. Children sometimes put objects such as beads, small toys, and food in their ears out of curiosity. Children and adults may also get an insect stuck in their ear.
Along with smelly earwax, you may notice the following symptoms:
Treatments For Clogged Ears
Dr. Gural-Toth says that resolving clogged ears depends on identifying the cause and getting proper treatment.
If your clogged ears persist despite home treatment, you should talk to your primary care provider about your symptoms, says Dr. Gural-Toth. Your primary care provider can determine what next steps you should take and refer you to an audiologist for a hearing test, if necessary.
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What To Do Instead Of Ear Candling
Do your ears feel clogged? See your family doctor to determine if you have a medical condition which needs to be treated. And remember: Never insert anything into your ear canal, including Q-Tips or cotton swabs.
If you arent hearing well, see a hearing healthcare professional. They can administer a hearing evaluation and, if you are diagnosed with hearing loss, help you determine the best treatment options for your lifestyle and budget.
More:Why do my ears feel clogged?
Five Reasons Your Ears Could Be Blocked And How To Unblock Them
Having a blocked ear can be a serious inconvenience, and at times, a health risk. Blocked ears can muffle and distort sounds, reducing your capacity to hear your surroundings. Having blocked ears is not only irritating, but usually comes with other symptoms such as ear pain, itchiness, or dizziness.
When a blockage occurs, especially if it seems out of the blue, you may wonder why your ear is blocked. There are many causes of a blocked ear surprisingly, its not always the case of ear wax buildup. Although there are many reasons an ear can be blocked, we highlight the five most common reasons your ears are blocked.
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Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged
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Do you remember going swimming as a kid and getting water stuck in your ear? You probably did the little dance where you tilt your head to the side, shake your head, and jump around a bit. Am I right? Problem solved!
But, what about when you feel like there’s water in your ear when there really isn’t? What if you didn’t just get done swimming or taking a shower, but it still feels like your ear is clogged?
There are a few explanations for a clogged ear that can’t be solved by doing the post-swim dance.
Hearing loss is serious. If you think that you may need a hearing test, we can help you find a hearing specialist in your area.
Use The Valsalva Maneuver
This simple trick helps open your Eustachian tube. To perform this maneuver, take a deep breath and pinch your nose. With your mouth closed, attempt to exhale gently through your nose. This should create enough pressure to pop or unclog the ear. Dont blow too hard to avoid damaging your eardrum. Once your Eustachian tube opens, chew gum or suck on hard candy to keep it opened.
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When To Call A Doctor
While it may be tempting to try to clear out your ears with cotton swabs, trying to dig out something from your ear can push objects further in and cause damage to your ear canal.
Contact your doctor as soon as possible if your ear remains clogged despite using various techniques or if you experience pain and hearing loss. In rare cases, clogged ears can worsen and develop complications.
Blockage In The Canal In The Ear
Blockage in the eustachian tube is one of the possible causes. The eustachian tube is a tube that connects the middle ear to the throat.
Fluid and mucus will flow from the ear to the back of the throat through this channel.
However, fluid and mucus can sometimes become trapped in the middle ear, making the ear feel blocked instead of flowing down the throat.
This blockage usually occurs when you have a common cold, influenza, sinusitis, or infection. Allergic reactions, such as allergic rhinitis, can cause blockages in the eustachian tube.
Symptoms of a blockage caused by an infection or allergy include:
It is vital to unblock this eustachian tube because trapped fluid can cause ear infections if left alone.
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Ways To Clear A Clogged Ear
You can treat a clogged ear at home. However, keep in mind that your ear is extremely delicate and you may risk damaging your ears. Seek the advice of a doctor before trying these remedies.
How Is Smelly Earwax Treated
Its important to not stick objects in your ear in an attempt to get rid of the wax. This includes cotton swabs and paper clips. Trying to dig out the problem can cause objects to lodge further into the ear. It can also seriously damage your eardrum or ear canal.
Home remedies will partly depend on the cause of your smelly earwax.
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Common Causes And Treatments For Clogged Ears
Depending on the cause, it can be simple to unclog your ears at home by yawning, chewing, or swallowing. Decongestants or antihistamines can also help your ears “pop” or become unplugged.
In some cases, you may have to see your healthcare provider to unclog your ears, especially if the cause is a foreign object or excessive ear wax.
This article describes how to unclog ears, possible reasons your ears may feel clogged or plugged, and common treatment options.
Verywell / Emily Roberts
What Can I Do If My Ear Is Clogged And I Can’t Hear
If youre suddenly experiencing hearing loss from a clogged ear, there are several potential causes, side effects and at-home steps to take to help clear your clogged ear and return your hearing to normal. While some causes of clogged ears are simple to remedy at home, others may require an audiologist to diagnose the cause and suggest treatment to improve your hearing.
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How Do I Know If Ive Ruptured An Eardrum
A ruptured eardrum is when theres a tear in your eardrum, which is the thin piece of tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear.
A variety of things can cause your eardrum to rupture, including ear infections, foreign objects, and stress from pressure differences between the middle ear and the outside environment.
You should always be sure to contact your doctor if youre experiencing any of the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum. Some symptoms to look out for include:
- ear pain that comes on and then quickly goes away
Changes In Air Pressure
Plugged-up ears are so common when traveling by airplane that theres actually a special name for it: airplane ear. But it can happen for other environmental reasons, too.
Sudden pressure changes like driving upward into the mountains and scuba diving can also create this sensation, Dr. Goldman says. As the pressure changes around you, the air pressure inside of your inner ears tries to adjust along with it.
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What Are The Causes Of Clogged Ears
Eustachian tube blockage. The eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the throat, can become blocked when fluid or mucus is trapped. Oftentimes, this occurs when experiencing seasonal allergies, a cold or sinus or ear infection. Swimmers ear is another condition that blocks eustachian tubes and is caused when bacteria or fungus grows in the ear canal. If the clogged ear is paired with ear pain, redness, fluid drainage or fever, be sure to contact your doctor since it is likely an ear infection that may need medical attention.
Hardened earwax or earwax impaction. Earwax is essential in protecting your ear canal by preventing dust or debris to enter your ear canal. One of the common ways that earwax creates a clogged ear is when a cotton swab is used to clean the ear. Instead of cleaning it, the earwax can be pushed further down, causing a clogged ear. At times, earwax can also become hardened and prevent the ear from hearing correctly. If you are also having dizziness or ringing in the ears, this is likely attributed to earwax impaction. Earwax impaction can lead to short-term hearing loss, but if not treated, it can also lead to otitis external.