Anyone who has gone scuba diving, flown on a plane or driven through the mountains is familiar with that uncomfortable plugged-up sensation that signals your ears need to pop. But do you know why this occurs?
Within the ears are small passageways called the Eustachian tubes. These tubes connect the middle ear to the upper throat near the nose. They help regulate air pressure as well as allow fluids to drain to prevent barotrauma and infection. Some conditions can disrupt the function of the Eustachian tubes, causing uncomfortable pressure in the ear and other symptoms.
Below are some common causes of pressure in the ears and how to find relief.
The hollow cavities in the skull that produce mucus are called your sinuses. These pockets can become congested due to a viral infection or allergies, causing a range of symptoms including pressure in the ears. You can relieve sinus congestion and ear pressure by…
- Taking a hot shower or using a humidifier
- Applying a warm compress to the nose and forehead
- Rinsing the nasal passages with saline
- Using decongestant nasal sprays or topical nasal corticosteroids
- Treating the underlying condition
- Undergoing surgery for chronic sinus problems
Middle Ear Infection
A middle ear infection is also known as otitis media, and involves fluid becoming trapped behind the eardrum, resulting in ear pressure, pain, fluid drainage, fever and temporary hearing loss. Treat a middle ear infection by…
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
- Using medicated eardrops
- Getting a prescription for antibiotics
Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal known as otitis externa. This type of infection occurs when water becomes trapped in the ear canal, triggering excess moisture and an overgrowth of bacteria. Swimmer’s ear can be treated by…
- Cleaning the ear canal
- Using medicated ear drops
- Taking antibiotics
Change in Altitude
Rapid altitude changes can cause Eustachian tube blockage, meaning the middle ear cannot equalize pressure with your environment, creating a vacuum and stretching the eardrum. This causes ear pressure, pain, buildup of fluid, temporary hearing loss and dizziness. If you experience altitude or pressure-related ear pain next time you take off from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, try…
- Pinching the nose and gently blowing
- Chewing gum
- Sucking on hard candy
- Using a decongestant
For more information about relieving ear pressure or to schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, throat doctor, call ENT of Georgia today!