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Ears become clogged due to the etiology both within and outside the ear. Ear clogging can impair hearing and balance, as well as cause pain and discomfort.
Clogging of ears is seen in all age groups, and one of the most common causes of a clogged ear is the buildup of ear wax. Besides ear wax, various other factors clog the ears.
Here are the 6 causes of a clogged ear:
- Blockade of eustachian tube:
- Ears feel clogged when the eustachian tube (a small tube that runs from the middle to the back of the nose) is blocked.
- The eustachian tube drains fluids from the ear into the nose and balances the pressure in the middle ear. When it blocks the fluid, the mucus does not drain, accumulates in the middle ear, and causes the ear clog. This results in the buildup of pressure in the middle ear, and the ear feels fuller.
- Infections cause the eustachian tube to block, such as:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Common cold
- Middle ear infection
- Sinus infections
- Blowing the nose
- Airplane ear
- Swimmer’s ear:
- The early stages of an outer ear infection, often called the swimmer’s ear, are frequently characterized by muffled hearing or a sensation of congested ears. There may be discharge in some circumstances. This may progress to fungal otitis media.
- Acoustic neuroma:
- Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that grows on the cranial nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. These tumors are often slow-growing and tiny.
- They can, however, impose pressure on nerves in the inner ear when they grow. This can result in ear blockage, hearing loss, and ringing in the ear.
- Noise damage (noise-induced hearing loss):
- One of the most prevalent kinds of sensorineural hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
- The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) found that up to 40 million Americans suffer from hearing loss in one or both ears due to long-term exposure to excessive noises or a one-time exposure to extraordinarily loud noise, such as an explosion or a blast.
- After exposure to a blast, one may have temporary hearing loss for 48 hours.
- To avoid irreversible hearing loss, a person may follow the listed steps when they are at a noisy place.
- Use earplugs or other hearing protection equipment.
- Reduce the volume on the television, vehicle radio, or any other personal electronic item while listening with earphones.
- If one cannot shield their ears from the noise or turn the noise down, they should get as far away from it as possible.
- High altitudes:
- While scuba diving, driving up a mountain or flying in an airplane, some people have transient ear congestion. This obstruction is caused by a sudden shift in air pressure outside the body.
- The eustachian tube oversees balancing pressure in the middle ear. However, at higher altitudes, it may not always be able to effectively balance pressure.
- As a result, changes in air pressure are experienced in the ears.
- Sometimes the only negative effect of changing altitude is a plugged ear.
- One may have headaches, nausea, or shortness of breath if one gets high altitude sickness.
- Head injury:
- Traumatic head injuries can create a sensation of aural fullness, or the sensation that the ears will not pop.