Even though a clogged ear doesn’t usually cause pain, feeling a blockage or the frequent urge to pop your ears can be quite a nuisance. So, what actually causes the feeling of a clogged ear, and is it related to an ear infection?
Our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team has some answers, so read on.
Why Is My Ear Clogged?
There are several different explanations, but one of the biggest culprits of clogged ears is Eustachian tube blockage. What is the Eustachian tube, you ask?
Well, the Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the throat. Fluid and mucus flows from the ear to the back of the throat through this tube, where it’s swallowed. Sometimes, however, fluid and mucus can become trapped in the middle ear, which causes a clogging sensation, and, at times, can work to cause an ear infection.
Other Causes of Ear Clogging
- Higher altitude—The Eustachian tube is responsible for equalizing pressure in the middle ear. But at higher altitudes, it can’t always equalize pressure properly. As a result, the change in air pressure is felt in the ears.
- Earwax—Wax is normally soft, but it can harden and cause a blockage in the ear.
- Acoustic neuroma—Acoustic neuroma is a benign growth that develops on the cranial nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. These tumors are usually slow-growing and small, but they can become larger and put pressure on nerves in the inner ear, which can cause a clogged ear.
What Is an Ear Infection?
An ear infection (sometimes called acute otitis media) is an infection of the middle ear, which is the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear.
Unlike a typical clogged ear, ear infections can be painful and can result in other health complications when not treated quickly. We’ve listed the common symptoms of an ear infection among adults below.
Common Ear Infection Symptoms Among Adults
- Ear pain
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
- Trouble hearing
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
If you are tired of your ear being clogged or believe you have an ear infection, our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team can help! Visit us today.