When your ears bother you, it can be uncomfortable and even painful at times. Ear discomfort can be associated with many different things. You may know that when your allergies are acting up, you will end up with stuffy ears. You may end up driving down a large hill, and your ears pop, creating a muffled feeling until they pop again.
On the other hand, maybe you don’t know what causes this phenomenon to happen to you. Here are seven common reasons you may have clogged ears and the safe ways to rectify them.
Many people worry that they have clogged ears due to an infection or another type of disorder. In most circumstances, the cause is not quite as invasive as these types of ailments. In reality, the clogged ears many people experience can be satiated with some relatively easy approaches right from home.
- Allergies – Many people are allergic to pet dander, mold, pollen, and other external stimuli. When allergens invade your nasal passages, they can result in allergic rhinitis, which causes inflammation and can, in turn, affect the eustachian tubes of the ears. This inflammation can result in pressure in the ear.
- Colds – Just like allergies, colds tend to cause inflammation in addition to congestion. The eustachian tubes are affected by this, which prevents the equalization of pressure in the middle ear.
- Build-up of Earwax – Even though earwax is natural and is made to protect your ear, it doesn’t always behave as it should. The normal earwax process results in it moving down the ear canal and flaking off when it reaches the outer ear. For those who develop wax faster, this process results in an overabundance of earwax.
- Sinusitis – Your sinuses are hollow cavities in your head and jawbone. When a viral or bacterial infection invades these cavities, it can cause swelling in your face and lead to pressure that will eventually appear in your ears.
- Ear Infections – There are two types of ear infections that can lead to pressure – swimmer’s ear and otitis media. When water bacteria enters the ear and affects the outer portion, it is referred to as swimmer’s ear. Those who suffer from swimmer’s ear often feel pressure and fluid build-up within the ear despite the infection only being on the outer part. Otitis media is an infection that affects the eustachian tubes and middle ear.
- Foreign Object – Foreign objects are more of a problem in smaller children, but foreign objects in the ears still happen. When something is put in the ear that does not belong, it can cause inflammation and swelling, which increases the pressure within the ear.
- Changes in Altitude – Anytime you experience a change in altitude, your ears may “pop.” This pop is created when a sudden altitude change occurs, and the eustachian tubes don’t have enough time to react.
Ear pressure can often be quickly remediated on your own. Before you can proceed, though, you have to be able to identify where the trouble is coming from and why you have it. First, you need to identify why you have the pressure and come from the middle or the outer ear. You may need to learn a little ear anatomy for this part.
If you are having pressure problems within your middle ear, you may need to try the Valsalva Maneuver. This breathing technique is primarily used for restoring heart rhythm. Still, it can also be used to release pressure in five easy steps.
- Close off your nose by holding it
- Keep your mouth closed tightly
- Exhale (still holding nose and closing mouth)
- Engage your abdomen muscles
- Hold for 15 or so seconds
For the outer ear, you can treat pressure in several ways. You may find medication helpful or the use of:
- Mineral oil
- Carbamide peroxide otic
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Steam or warm compress
At least one of these methods should provide relief, but it may not completely solve the problem. Depending on what the underlying cause is, there may need to be professional medical intervention.
Keep The Ear Protected
Irreparable harm can be done if the ear is not treated the proper way. Ignoring signs of more invasive problems can cause loss of hearing and other damage. Many physicians will not recommend cleaning the ears out every day and only suggesting using a soft rag with warm water to clean the outer part.
Even with the frustration that comes with ear pressure, you should avoid placing things in them to try and relieve the pressure. If you find you have problems with pressure in your ears, you should reach out to a medical professional for a more concrete diagnosis.