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Four Reasons Your Ears Feel Clogged

Four Reasons Your Ears Feel Clogged - Hearing, Balance and Speech Center

Do you feel as though your ears are clogged? If you feel as though your ears are clogged, blocked or “full”, there could be a number of causes. While a clogged ear may not be painful, it can be annoying. In addition, you may be experiencing difficulty hearing, or sounds may be muffled. In some cases, there may be a clear reason for your clogged ear. If you’ve recently been swimming, you may have water in your ear. Or perhaps you’ve travelled recently. Changes in air pressure can also cause a feeling of fullness in your ears. You may have even intentionally clogged your ear, such as when wearing earplugs.

4 Reasons Your Ears Feel Clogged

If you cannot pinpoint a direct cause, here are 4 reasons your ears may feel clogged:

  1. Impacted Earwax

    It is entirely normal to have earwax in your ear. It is your body’s way of protecting your delicate auditory system. Earwax traps pollutants and dirt before entering into your ear canal. It will normally work its way out of your ear naturally.

    In some cases, you may have a build up of earwax. Too much earwax can cause a problem. Known as impacted earwax, it can affect your ears in a number of ways.

    Common symptoms of impacted earwax include:

    • Your ear feels clogged
    • Partial hearing loss
    • Earache
    • Discharge, itching or an odor
    • Coughing
    • Tinnitus

    Please note - we advise against trying to remove earwax yourself. If you suspect that you are experiencing impacted earwax, please consult the hearing specialists at Hearing Balance & Speech Center.

  2. Blocked Eustachian Tube

    Your Eustachian tubes, also known as the pharyngotympanic tubes auditory tubes or pharyngotympanic tubes, are small tubes that run between your nasopharynx in your upper throat and your middle ear space. Your Eustachian tubes help to equalize the pressure in your ears. Additionally, they function as a drainage tube for fluid and mucus. These fluids will flow to the back of your throat through the tubes, at which point you’ll swallow them.

    Generally, your Eustachian tubes are closed. They open when you are swallowing, yawning, or chewing.

    In some cases, the fluid that should be draining can get trapped in your middle ear. This results in the feeling of a clogged ear. This is often caused by an infection, such as a cold, sinus infection or the flu. Additional symptoms you may experience include:

    • Sneezing
    • Coughing
    • Sore Throat
    • Runny Nose

    In most cases, the blockage will resolve itself. In some cases, however, the trapped fluid can cause an ear infection. If your symptoms are severe or have lasted longer than 2 weeks, please contact your local healthcare professional.

  3. Fluid In Your Ear

    Fluid in your ears can be a painful condition that can develop for a number of reasons:

    • Swimming
    • Bathing
    • Moist environments
    • Ear infection

    If you feel that you’ve got fluid in your ear, you can try to remove it yourself. Tilt your head slightly to the side. Gently pull on your earlobe to help drain the fluid.

    In some cases, the fluid may be the result of an ear infection. This will cause fluid to build up behind your eardrum (and you won’t be able to drain it). If you are in a lot of pain or the symptoms persist, contact your healthcare professional.

  4. Noise Induced Hearing Loss

    Up to 40 million Americans are impacted by Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. NIHL can be the result of prolonged exposure to dangerous noise, or sudden exposure to excessive noise.

    If you’ve ever come back from a night out and felt that your hearing was muffled, it’s likely the environment you were in was too loud. These symptoms should generally subside in 48 hours.

    Noise induced hearing loss is the second most common form of sensorineural hearing loss. In many cases, it is entirely preventable. Understanding noise can help you protect your hearing.

We’re Here to Help You!

At Hearing, Balance and Speech Center, we have been serving the Hamden community and surrounding areas with hearing loss solutions for over 30 years. We truly understand that hearing is priceless and the effect it has on our overall health and social interaction. If you suspect your hearing may have changed, our article on identifying hearing loss could help. Click here to read today.

Research / Sources

  1. https://global.widex.com/en/blog/my-ears-feel-clogged-what-is-it-all-about
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/expert-answers/plugged-ears/faq-20058092
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/why-does-my-ear-feel-clogged