Clogged ears are a common occurrence, and can happen to persons of any age. This condition can be extremely painful and leave the ear sensitive. Clogged ear is a condition that most often, seen in children, especially when they suffer with a cold. This occurs when fluid accumulates in the ear. Clogged ear also occurs due to a buildup of ear wax. The most common symptoms of a clogged ear are pain and the inability to sleep accompanied with a headache. Fortunately, this situation is treatable with home care and medications and can be prevented with few lifestyle changes. There are many reasons that may cause the above symptoms associated with a clogged ear. Understanding these causes, in detail, and being aware of the available treatment methods will come handy to anyone.
Causes of a Clogged Ear
There are a number of reasons for a clogged ear. These depend on the symptoms and the action that preceded these symptoms. Below are some factors that contribute to a clogged ear.
- Buildup of Ear Wax -Ear wax keeps the ears healthy by preventing bacteria from entering the ear canal. The wax also helps transport dust and other debris out of the ear. Ear wax, contrary to popular belief, does not require cleaning. Cleaning with a bud or any other instrument pushes ear wax deeper into the ear canal and results in a plug that causes pressure and pain.
- Chronic Ear Infection - Fluid and swelling in the ear drum resulting from chronic infections can also clog the ears and become extremely painful. The blockage usually occurs in the Eustachian tube, the passage that joins the back of the nose to the middle ear. A common cold, allergens and environmental toxins can cause a block in the Eustachian tube, resulting in ear infection.
- Swimmer's Ear -Otitis externa can also cause clogged ears. This, most often, occurs due to fluid buildup in the ear resulting from swimming underwater. Swimming in contaminated waters and improper drainage of water from the ear can cause bacteria buildup and result in inflammation of the ear canal that can be painful.
- Acoustic Neuroma -This is a rare, non-cancerous tumor that grows around the acoustic nerve in the ear. Unsteadiness, feeling of fullness and ringing in the ear are common symptoms of acoustic neuroma. This occurs due to a malfunction of a gene in chromosome 22.
How to Get Rid of a Clogged Ear
There are many ways of getting rid of a clogged ear depending on the cause. For example, clogging of the ear by ear wax can be treated with hydrogen peroxide or boiled and cooled coconut oil. Over-the-counter ear wax softeners may also be used for this purpose. Chronic ear infections causing blocks in the Eustachian tube can be remedied with anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines and decongestants. Furthermore, antibiotics may be necessary, if ear pain and clogging is accompanied by fever and ear fluid secretions. Swimmer's ear can be treated in a variety of ways including pouring a few drops of water back into the ear and waiting for 3 seconds and turning the other way so that water can pour out or putting pressure on the ear and enabling the suction effect to pull the water out etc. Ear clogging due to acoustic neuroma requires medical attention and probably surgery.
There are several other factors that cause clogged ear. These include changes in air pressure, upper respiratory illnesses, and hay fever and other allergies, muscle strain and insect bites. Regardless of the cause, it is vital that clogged ears be examined by a doctor. It is especially advisable to avoid home remedies with small children and in situations where an inflamed ear can be easily suspected. A doctor will be able to prescribe antibiotics, painkillers and eardrops or other cause of action, depending on the root cause of the clogged ear.