Wondering “why does my ear feel like its plugged up?” Learn more.
Plugged ears can be caused by a few different things. The reasons can vary including fluid in the ear, changes in atmospheric pressure, excessive ear wax, or even small objects blocking the eardrum. Each cause has a different treatment, so it's important to get a professional opinion.
Why does my ear feel plugged up?
If you are searching for an answer to why does my ear feel plugged up, then keep reading as we address some of the most common causes of this ear-nose-throat malady.
Ear wax buildup
Sometimes, plugged ears can be caused by too much ear wax. Normally, the ears have their own built-in cleaning system. However, some people may produce too much ear wax or don't efficiently clear it. If you don't know how to remove excess ear wax by yourself, your healthcare professional can remove it with special tools to avoid rupturing your eardrum or pushing the wax even further into your ear. If you have a digital otoscope you can look inside your ear canal and determine how clogged your ear is, and also try to clean out the wax yourself.
It is not uncommon for young children to put things in their ears. If the child isn't old enough to tell you what they're feeling, some clues include ear rubbing and grimacing. This doesn't usually cause fever or cold symptoms unless the object is in the ear long enough to cause an infection. You can use a digital otoscope to examine the ear canal and possibly use an ear wax spoon to remove the item, but take special care to avoid pushing the object deeper. Never stick anything sharp inside of the ear in an attempt to remove any object.
Oftentimes, the best thing to do is to take a trip to the pediatrician's office.
Fluid in ear
Ear aches and infection are common side effects of basic ear, nose, and throat illnesses. If you get an ear infection one common symptom is fluid in the middle ear. Other causes for fluid in your middle ear could be allergies, sinus infections, viral infections, and even acid reflux. As your earache and infection subsides the fluid doesn’t always leave the middle ear. The inflammation from the ear infection often causes the lining of the eustachian tube to swell shut - this can cause your ear to feel clogged. If you know how to drain fluid from your middle ear at home you can avoid a trip to the doctor, sometimes you will need a simple prescription. Other times, surgical intervention is needed.
The eustachian tube and ear drums help to equalize pressure between the middle ear and the outer ear. This is why your ears can feel plugged when you are driving up a steep mountain, taking off in an airplane, or while scuba diving. If precautions are not taken, extreme pressure changes can lead to an ear injury, such as a ruptured eardrum. The best way to prevent this and to help protect the ears from altitude changes is to swallow, chew, or yawn often. This opens up your eustachian tube to allow outside air to enter the ear.
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