A clogged ear can be frustrating and interfere with your life and could even cause some concern if you are not entirely sure why it has occurred. There are actually a few reasons why you might experience a clogged ear, most of which are harmless but it is important to know when it could be an issue which requires seeing a specialist. So, what are the main reasons for a clogged ear?
One of the most common reasons that people get a clogged ear is a build-up of earwax. Some earwax is good and important for protecting and cleaning your ear, but it can harden and result in a blockage. Many people will use cotton swabs to try and remove the blockage, but this can actually push it further down and create bigger issues which is why you should always have them looked at by a professional.
It is also common to experience a clogged ear after swimming or even from showing. You can solve the issue by tilting your head to one side, but if it is severe it could lead to inflammation or an infection which can cause irritation and pain. Treatment will depend on whether it is a fungal or bacterial infection, so it is always important to see a doctor.
A change in altitude can also lead to an ear blockage, which is why it is common when people go scuba diving, fly or drive up a mountain. The Eustachian tube equalises pressure in the middle ear but this is not always possible at high altitudes which means that the change in pressure is felt in the ears. People often find that swallowing or sucking on a sweet is helpful in this situation.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETF)
The eustachian tube is a small canal which goes from either ear to the back of the nose and upper throat – the tube remains closed most of the time but opens when someone yawns, chews or swallows. A clog can occur when the pressure in each middle ear is uneven or different to the pressure of the air, which usually is a result of a physical blockage, swelling-induced blockage or possibly a ruptured eardrum. In situations like this, it is important to seek a hearing care specialist through a company like Phonak to solve the issue.
These are the most common reasons that you will encounter a blockage in your ear. While often the issue will resolve itself, it is important to know when to see a medical professional to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible.