Why do my ears feel clogged?

Many people have had the common sensation of their ear feeling clogged at some point in their life. It can be a nuisance, especially if it gives you the annoying symptom of hearing your voice louder in your head which is called autophony.

There can be numerous causes for this sensation and often a hearing test and exam from a clinician will be the best way to diagnose the problem. However, you may be able to speculate the underlying cause for your problem.

Here are the most common reasons a person’s ear feels clogged:

1. Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD)

The Eustachian tube is a tube that runs from your nose to your ear. When you have allergies or a sinus infection it can become inflamed and swollen. A swollen Eustachian tube will not open and close as easily, leading to negative pressure building up behind your eardrum. This leads to the sensation that your ear is clogged. If the negative pressure continues for some time, fluid can build up behind the eardrum. This can either be infectious or non-infectious. Usually if infected, it is accompanied with pain.

The best way to fix ETD is to treat the underlying allergies or sinusitis.

2. Ear wax

It is a very common problem for people to build up ear wax and not even know it. Having a little ear wax is good as it prevents infection and moisturizes the canal, but too much ends up leading to a clogged ear. Ear wax is cleaned simply with a suction tool in the office; this is painless and sometimes performed on a biannual basis for patients with more ear wax. Do not try to clean the wax at home with a Q-tip or other device as you can risk perforation of your eardrum or damage to the canal.

3. Hearing loss

Sometimes people wake up and their ear suddenly feels clogged and their hearing dampened. They think it’s ear wax or fluid behind their eardrum when actually their hearing organ (cochlea) has suddenly stopped working. It is important to see a clinician because this requires immediate evaluation and treatment.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have been struggling with this symptom, please come in for a thorough evaluation at Sinus and Snoring Specialists. Contact us today for a consultation at 512.601.0303 to schedule an appointment.

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Posted in: Allergies, Ear and Hearing Care, Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

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