Cold and Flu
Head, Ears, and Nose
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What should I do about my clogged ears?

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Wiki User
2009-03-04 14:26:24

This is what I am trying: It is by Dr. Jim Mitterando who is a

family doctor at Cohasset Family Practice and a staff member at

South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. Q My ears have been

popping for two weeks and occasionally hurt. I have an upcoming

airplane trip. What can I do to get rid of this problem? Can I


A You are having problems with your eustachian tubes,

which carry air from the throat to the middle ear in order to

equalize pressure on both sides of the ear drum. During a cold,

illness or seasonal allergy, the eustachian tube becomes congested

and swollen so that it may temporarily close; this prevents air

flow behind the ear drum and causes ear pressure, pain or popping

just as you experience with altitude change when traveling on an

airplane or an elevator. If the eustachian tube remains blocked, a

vacuum can develop behind the ear drum sucking it inward and

allowing fluid to accumulate. If the fluid does not drain, bacteria

can multiply causing an ear infection. Sometimes fluid can persist

for months producing a temporary hearing loss. Most ear aches are

not ear infections but rather pressure problems. Infants are more

prone to ear aches because their eustachian tubes do not function

as well. Antibiotics do not improve tube dysfunction. If ear pain

persists, you should see your doctor. In the past, all ear

infections were treated with antibiotics. We now know that most ear

infections resolve without any treatment so that watchful waiting

is an acceptable approach. Treatment for eustachian tube

dysfunction includes pinching your nose and blowing - this forces

air up the tube and pops the ear drum back into place. Scuba divers

commonly employ this technique when they descend in the water.

Decongestant pills containing pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can

decrease swelling of the eustachian tube to allow greater airflow

through the tube and help relieve pressure problems.

Pseudoephedrine should be limited to daytime usage to avoid sleep

problems. Studies have shown that decongestants are not helpful in

children younger than 5 years old and may cause side effects such

as agitation and insomnia. Decongestants do not prevent ear

infections in young children. Steroid nasal sprays (Flonase,

Nasonex, Nasacort, Rhinocort) may decrease the inflammation and

swelling of the tubes and may help with persistent tube

dysfunction. The pressure changes associated with flying can damage

ears and sinuses when you have severe nasal congestion or tube

problems. It's a good idea to avoid flying when you have these

problems. If you have a bad cold or allergy and must fly, you may

want to take pseudoephedrine one hour before your flight and use

neosynephrine nasal spray when you board the plane. During liftoff,

swallowing, yawning and chewing gum can help equalize ear pressure.

When descending, you can also try pinching your nose and blowing to

pop the ears. More input Or try this method: Using a neti

pot siunus irrigator and nasal spray medication. It truly does work

to open the eustachian tubes and allow them to drain the mucus that

is causing popping and clogging. Natural Method Put a few

drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of steaming boiling water- place

your head over the bowl and cover your head and the bowl with a

towel. inhale the steam for about 5 minutes, you should start

dripping out the mucus within 2 or 3 minutes.

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